Study smarter and more efficiently for finals

Taylor Ploeger Op, Ed Editor

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     With finals swiftly approaching, there is always time to look into new and effective studying techniques.

Sooner rather than later

     Most people will learn and retain most of their knowledge of a subject the first time it is taught to them. If the material is reviewed within a day of learning it the student can expect to retain about 80 percent of the knowledge they studied. So, instead of waiting until the night before the test, a better idea would be to review class notes the day after the lesson was taught.

     Psycologists found this method of studying to have a snowballing effect. If the material is reviewed after a week, the student should be able to remember all of the subject matter with only a quick perusing of the information.

     The main lesson here is to not cram. Get to studying sooner rather than later and you’ll have an increased chance of remembering vital information.

Study when you’re sleepy

     This may sound a bit wonky but it can actually be helpful for some people. Studying before bed, when one is tired, can increase retention of information. The idea behind it is that the memories of the information will be “lock in” better during the slow-wave sleep part of the cycle. The term for this type of studying is call sleep-learning.

     It’s hard to say how much this works since it’s hard to say how exactly memories are stored during our sleep. But there’s no harm in trying a new study method. If this method does work the way some say it does then by studying before bed one can give the brain the ability to restore itself while important study information is etched in the memory center.

Utilize Active Recall

     Essentially, active recall is a fancy term for memorization. Using flashcards or reciting from the textbook are good ways to force information to stay in the brain for a short amount of time. This method is good if the first method of this article was skipped.

    While long-term knowledge may not be gleaned from this way of studying, it can be useful for gathering that last bit of information right before the test.

     Closing a textbook and reciting everything up to where you closed it, or getting a friend to assist with flashcards are only two ways this can be done. There are countless apps and websites dedicated to this type of studying since it’s fairly popular among students.

Avoid electronic learning

     “While some researchers argue that adopting new habits like scrolling, clicking, and pointing when using an interactive digital interface enhances the academic experience, more than 90% of students polled said they prefer a hard copy or print over a digital device when it comes to studying and school work,” states thebestcolleges.org in the article “17 Scientifically Proven Ways to Study Better This Year.”

     Reading a physical book and writing with a pen and paper are, by far, the best way to remember any information given in a class. Different writing methods can be used to study effectively. Using different colors, writing repeating sentences and writing out examples and full explanations are useful when one is trying to keep information in the brain for a long period of time.

Other methods to increase subject knowledge

     Listening to music, chewing gum and getting a friend to help you are all other great ways to help you study.
Always make sure to get plenty of sleep and don’t get to stressed out about it. Staying relaxed and well rested will keep you from freaking out about not getting the information. And at the end of the day it’s just a test. If you’ve gone to class and done the assignments there is no reason you should fail.

     So, keep your chin up, the semester is almost at an end.

Taylor is a Junior Mass Communications major. She is Opinion and Editorial Editor for The Voice.