I. ORIGINAL LEARNING – You must have some basic understanding of the content before it can be reviewed.
II. EARLY REVIEW – Students who prepare in advance for tests, rather than cram, typically earn higher test scores.
A. Before class or planned study sessions, do the following:
- Review notes from previous lectures and read textbook chapter summaries
- Conduct a quick mental summary of what you’ve previously learned
Attempt to associate content you’re memorizing with familiar concepts. This is one of the most effective memorization strategies.
B. Do the following immediately after you’ve learned a new concept:
- Review your notes and add new insights. Refrain from recopying what you’ve already written since it’s ineffective.
- Develop outlines to organize newly learned concepts. Insert comments, star important information, or place Post-it notes in outlines.
- Assimilate new concepts with ones you’re already familiar with.
Students often forget what they’ve learned immediately following lectures. To prevent this, review notes as soon as possible following a lecture. This will also help reinforce what you’ve just learned.
III. Space – Space out study sessions. Weeks prior to a test, spend an hour or more a day reviewing notes and assigned readings. It’s easier to remember a concept you’ve repetitively reviewed.
IV. Intermediate Review – When preparing for a comprehensive final, begin studying months in advance. If test day is 3 months away, use the following schedule as a template:
- Familiarize yourself daily with concepts you have not mastered
- Take 5-10 minutes per day to review concepts you have a good grasp of
- 2 months before the test, begin studying an hour a day
- If necessary, a week before the test, spend 2-3 hours a day studying
V. Final review – Refrain from cramming since it’s ineffective and stressful. Few students are able to learn new concepts simply by cramming the night before a test.
VI. Breakup Study Time – Instead of studying for an hour straight, break it up into three twenty minute study sessions. The benefits of this strategy include:
- Avoiding burnout
- Enhanced concentration and motivation
- Reinforce previously learned concepts