Although, as much as we would like to say that we know everything, or at least enough that we do not need help, there is a point that should not be neglected: getting help from others who have done it already is the best resource we can use.
Humans are social creatures. We learn from other humans, which, in turn, we can flip and teach the next generation of humans. It is absolutely all right to receive helpful tips from another person on how to perfect a certain action or system of actions. Therefore, this website should not be any different from that state of mind.
Reddit, although the root of many punchlines for a whole plethora of internet jokes and memes, also has a side to it that remains serious. From this corner of the internet, I pulled several incredibly helpful study tips from self-proclaimed straight ‘A’ students, in hopes that whoever reading this can take these tips and integrate them into their own lives!
NOTE: All comments were edited slightly, in case of errors or informal internet jargon.
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“The Way We Learn And Understand Things is Twisted and Messy”
“If you are writing your notes out as neatly as is humanly possible, and insist on it all being strictly linear, then you may as well be writing in another language.
The way we learn and understand things is twisted and messy, and often times a quick sketch will be more useful and more intuitive than 20 words that describe the sketch.
I circle things, leave notes, draw lines connecting sections, number and reference things, and put my questions and uncertainties right next to the relevant section.”
“A Nice In Between”
“A nice in between is typing a study guide, so you can CTL+F to find specific facts when you need to and you have save files for if something happens to your backpack.
Then you print out the study guides, and circle / highlight / draw on them.
This is especially useful for high volume classes, like cellular biology, where there are a ton of vocabulary, concepts, and images to learn in a relatively compressed period of time.”
“Everyone was told to doodle to experiment with memory retention”
“Doodling has been found to encase information input. When I was a manager, all of my staff were required to doodle and it has surprised other teams how much information was retained.
I got brought into my bosses office once, as there were complaints that I doodled during the weekly meeting. Funny how they also forgot I would always be the only one to remember stuff from the meetings, including important measurements for the design work we were doing.
Told her why I doodled. She asked a basic thing from the meeting that morning, just to find I remembered all the details. She rang the secretary to confirm, only for her to find out even she asked for things she missed or needed to confirm. No one else had a clue…
Next weeks meeting, everyone was told to doodle to experiment with memory retention, and, sure enough, they remembered the meeting. It was standard requirements to doodle for meetings after that.”
“Doing the Easy Parts Can Lessen the Blow on the Big Tests”
“If there are a bunch of small projects, do not underestimate how well they can add up. I took a classical literature course that required us to read so many chapters. Every week we would write a short paper on that week’s topic. We also had some pop quizzes that served as a sort of attendance method, or check if you were paying attention.
At first, I read every page they said to. But then, as the class wore on, I figured out how to read just enough to write some good papers. I also usually write just enough notes to get by so I can just sit, listen, and soak up the material. I also rarely, if ever, skip class, so I did well on the pop quizzes. As finals week neared, I started freaking out that I ought to read all those chapters I skipped.
At the front of this impossible task, I brought out the rubric and my grades, and did the traditional ritual of ‘what grade do I need on this final to pass’. Come to find out, because I did well on all of those small weekly assignments and pop quizzes, I could get a D on this final and still ace the class. At that point I dropped all studying for that final and went out with my friends. To this day, it is one of the most liberating moments I have had. I still got a B on the test.
Sometimes doing the easy parts can lessen the blow on the big tests.”
“It’s Like Packing a Suitcase”
“Take care of yourself.
In the end, I probably only studied – like, full on head-down, full-focus studying – for maybe 3 or 4 hours a day during pre-exam revision periods. It will not be the same for everyone, but the fact is, you can get great grades without running yourself ragged. Doing things the right way is better than doing things the wrong way for a really long time (and ‘the wrong way’ includes convincing yourself you are studying when you are actually writing things out in colored pens as slowly as you can so it feels like you should get an A because you did 12 hours studying today.
Do not fall into that trap).
I also like mnemonics and flash cards. For those last few things that you just have to memorize, learn about the best ways to get them to stick. Do not just shove them in there any which way.
It’s like packing a suitcase… it will not all fit if you bundle it in without any care at all.”
“Read, Then Listen to the Lecture”
“Teacher and Professor here, the biggest mistake students make is assuming that when we lecture they should listen first because it will be like speeding up the reading.
If you worry the reading is not sticking try reading summaries first so you get a road map, THEN read, THEN listen to the lecture. Lecture is meant to be only a partial summary and mostly synthesis and application, so if you do not know the basics, the important stuff (analysis, application, etc) will not stick because you will not realize it is there. “
“Memory Recall is a Process of Pattern Completion”
“For most subjects (e.g. biology or history) you can understand the topic perfectly, but then lack the words to write about it. I used to write summaries about lectures, then cover the summary with about 1/2 inch paper strips in vertical direction. You will see half of what you wrote, your brain fills in the rest. Read the whole summary page, peak if you have to, then shuffle and keep adding paper strips until you practically know your whole summary page by heart.
From a neuroscience perspective, it makes sense. Memory recall is, in most cases, a process of pattern completion… as soon as you have recalled a memory a couple times it gets stronger and is easier to be recalled. If you simply learn the page by heart, (my speculation would be that) you save the content into your verbal memory, where it is now going to be very useful in a test situation.
Write summary of lecture/topic on a page, randomly put paper strips on it. Your brain fills in the gaps. Keep adding until you know the topic by heart.”
I would like to add in here that this would also be useful for speeches, so that you are not winging it, but still do not have to read anything off a script.
Repetition and Studying With Others
“Disclaimer: that key is to study with others who WANT to do well, and will actually take ACTION to do that. We all want to do well. Will they study for two hours with you, though?
Also, if you treat your material between you and your newfound study buddy as a conversation (i.e. do you think Hamlet’s soliloquy ‘To Be or Not To Be, that is the question’ is representing teenage angst?), it will be remembered more!
Key tip on memorization: writing things down gives you some odds of 30% more cognitive recognition than listening or typing. If you write stuff down, you remember more.
Lastly: you gotta sometimes reject fun stuff to do the nitty-gritty. Being a college student, I sometimes am sad to say no to making fun of the Bachelor and going to read 30 pages of a play I do not understand. But then I can participate in class more and remember more (repetition!).”
If you have any further study tips that were not covered in this, feel free to comment it down below to help anyone looking for more tips!