When studying, be sure to actively engage with the content. Be sure to read and understand the title, take a look at the table of contents, and peruse the introduction to get an overview of the document. Then, read through the document, while making notes to help with your comprehension of the material. Note: reading the same information over and over is actually one of the least effective ways to comprehend the material. For help with learning the material and memorizing necessary information, such as for an Anatomy and Physiology course, picture a definition or concept in your head, use images to associate with the material, or use flash cards.
Reading out loud or saying a word (or words) out loud is also helpful in making connections and aiding with comprehension. Creating acronyms is also a useful strategy. For example, when memorizing bones in the hand, you might use the acronym CMP for remembering carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges.
Lastly, using concept mapping may be helpful as well to help connect images and text.
Be sure to take regular breaks to not only get a rest, but also to allow the material to absorb. Do not cram!
Note Taking Strategies
When reading a document, or watching or listening to something with a critical eye or ear, note taking is important. Why? When you are reading, watching, or listening, taking notes helps you concentrate on the task at hand; you will also read deeper and comprehend more clearly.
Be sure to develop your own note taking system based on your study skills and learning style.
Some note taking strategies include:
- Use a piece of paper to jot down your thoughts or create images as reminders.
- Draw a concept map.
- In the margins of the document that you are reading, write down your thoughts, connections, and questions as you read.
- Highlight, underline, and circle key sections. Consider the following:
- What do you already know about this topic?
- What questions do you have?
- Are there any words you do not know (look them up!)?
The goal of note-taking is to remember key points and leave yourself breadcrumbs to locate those important sections later. Most importantly, note-taking makes you an active learner and helps you to absorb the information you are reading/watching/listening.
Time Management Help
How to Manage Your Time
- Effective Time Scheduling: Download the Time Management Planning sheet and fill it in! You may need to plan on the hour, the half hour, by fifteen minute blocks, or smaller amounts if you have an extremely busy schedule. Remember to block off time for eating, sleeping, leisure time/family time, class-time, exercising, etc., in addition to studying/working. Consider using a daily/weekly planner to keep track of what you need to accomplish.
- Practice goal setting: what do you want to accomplish and when does it need to be accomplished? Example: Be specific. Instead of writing “study” on your planning sheet, write down which specific course and the overall objective.
- Time deadlines: Specify when you plan to work and how long you anticipate it will take you to achieve each goal.
- Make a “to-do list” every day. Update it as needed.
- Priorities: complete tasks in order of importance.
- Learn to say “no.” Guard your planned time and do not take on too much, i.e., too many courses at a time, extracurricular activities, overtime at work, etc. Know your limits and practice balance.