How to study well for exams without forgetting?
If you are a student who struggles in exams, you might also ask the same question. Many students get stressed in trying to cope up with academic demands. But the difficulty stems not from the lack of capability but the lack of effective study strategy.
That’s right. Students often find themselves in difficult situations because they don’t follow a good strategy in studying.
As a teacher, I always share the effective study techniques that I personally used in my college journey with my students.
The reality is that there are strategies that could really help you succeed in your academic goal. In this post, I will share some of the basic strategies that I personally tried.
Here are my steps on how you can study well for exams without forgetting:
1. Become a teacher
This sounds funny, isn’t it? But it is not what you think. What I really mean by this is that you have to share what you study.
One of the most effective study strategies is teaching what you are studying. In this technique, you need to discuss the concepts you want to remember to someone.
The first step is to read your note or book until you have a better understanding of the concept you’re reading. Then, find someone, preferably your classmate or friend who is willing to listen to you.
Then, discuss the concept the way you understand it. What this process does is that it helps you assess your memory and understanding. If you are able to explain the concept from start to finish, you have a pretty good chance that you don’t only understand but also remember it.
This technique is not commonly used by most students. What the students are usually doing is that they go to the library and quietly sit in the corner and read. There’s nothing wrong about it. In fact, reading is an important component of the study process.
But if you really want to step up, you have to try this technique. Reading should not be your only strategy. You have to share what you read.
2. Test yourself
The second strategy that I want you to try is self-testing. You can do this by answering the questions at the end of every chapter of your book. Your teacher might not use the same set of questions for your exam but it is a great way for you to get acquainted with important information.
Another thing you can do is ask one of your classmates to ask you things related to your class discussions. This will also help you test yourself whether or not you only have understood and remembered the concepts.
3. Make a summary
Looking at the blocks of texts in your book can be daunting. This is the reason most students don’t like reading or studying. But there is a quick way you can do to make studying easy and enjoyable undertaking.
The best strategy is to make a summary in every chapter of your book. Only include the most important information contained in the chapter. This technique will not only ease your study journey but also makes you more motivated to read and study.
In my case, however, I just want to read the whole chapter first before making the summary of it. This makes me sure that I won’t miss any valuable information in the book. The summary will only serve as a pointer.
4. Associate information with visuals
Your brain loves association. It is more effective when sees visuals such as pictures, graphs, and drawings. Believe it or not, you can make visual presentations of the information you want to remember.
This is one of the techniques that mental athletes use for years. They associate a series of information with everything they see around them. This allows them to remember the information fast and easy.
This is not easy at first. But as you practice, you will be able to benefit from this strategy. Surely, you will be able to study for exams without forgetting.
5. Study ahead of time
With all the techniques, this one is my favorite. For me, there is nothing more effective than studying at least two weeks before the exam. Here’s why.
The brain stores newly learned information in a way more complicated than how a computer saves information.
Every learning is associated with a new neural connection. That connection will hold the newly learned information. The stronger the connection, the higher the chance of retaining the information.
But the strength of the neural connection relies on stimulation. The more frequent the stimulation, the stronger the connection will become.
This means that, in the context of students, regular and consistent studying or reading make the information easier to remember and harder to forget. So my tip is to study at least two weeks before the exam. Such time duration is enough for a strong neural connection.
Understanding how your brain works allow you to act accordingly. Because the brain stores information that is constantly stimulated, you just need to consistently read your notes. Cramming is simply useless. You better avoid it.
Things to remember
Learning how to study well for exams without forgetting involves understanding what type of learner you are. Some learners are auditory while others are visual. However, there are people who are both visual and auditory learners.
These two types of learners study differently. Auditory learners tend to learn more by listening. If you are one of them, you probably want to record your lesson and listen to it. You will learn easily in this way.
On the other hand, if you are a visual learner, you might want to turn your lesson into visual presentations. Create diagrams, charts, or drawings. In this way, you’ll learn more quickly.
In summary, the key to effective learning is understanding your potential and applying basic strategies. Once you understand why cramming is futile, you will be able to stay on the right track.
But academic success to me is pretty much dependent on student’s motivation. It does not happen accidentally. You may have the best resources but without having the motivation to succeed, everything is useless.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.