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Getting the Most Out of Studying

Teaching something to someone else is the best way to learn it yourself.  According to education expert William Glasser, you are likely to learn only 10% of what you read, 70% of what you discuss with others, but a whopping 95% of what you teach to someone.  This is just one great argument for working in a study group with other students. Research has shown that we learn the most during the first and last ten minutes of a study session, so it makes sense to break your studying time down into 20-minute sessions with short breaks in between (take a 5-minute walk, get a snack, etc.) If you have something to memorize, work on that first, and then go over it again at the end of your study sessions.  Review material frequently - when you review, you move information from short-term to long-term memory.  Information is easier to remember if it's grouped - use lists and diagrams to group related facts or ideas. Go over important information right before you go to sleep – your brain will process this information while you sleep! (Excerpted from the booklet “How to Get Good Grades in College” by Linda O’Brien)

You may be surprised to learn that a general guideline for how much time you should be putting in studying and doing homework per week is two hours for every hour of class time (does not apply to labs). Make your study plans both realistic and specific.  Instead of saying, “I’ll study math,” plan to re-write your notes from that day’s class and do the odd-numbered problems at the end of chapter seven. Try listening to music without lyrics – it may improve your concentration.  When trying to memorize information, use as many senses as possible.  For example, if you write it down and say it out loud at the same time, you are simultaneously using your visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses.  Acronyms can also help with memorization.  The example used in “How to Get Good Grades in College” is HOMES to help remember the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior).  Or you may prefer using the first letters of the words you want to remember to make up a silly sentence.  Another example from “HTGGGIC”: My grandmother’s lamas ruined my valuable new carpet” can be used to help you remember the parts of a cell.