Active Study Strategies
Can you believe that some students write "no homework" when their teacher tells them to study? Neither can I! Studying is an important part of learning from now through high school and college. If you only do the work you are assigned in class and don't take the time to study, you will not do well in school, especially when you get to challenging topics.
Our brains are not like cameras. Most of us don't just see the words on a page and remember them all in detail. We have to go over information again and again and again in order to remember it well. It's also not enough to just read and re-read your notes. While that helps a little, it's really easy for your mind to wander or for you to think, "Yeah I got it," when it really only looks familiar.
Here are some active study strategies you can use to help you actually remember what you've learned:
First, write down the key words or questions that you need to answer on one side of the index card*. On the back, write down the definition or the answer to the question. The key here is that you don't want to be able to see the question and the answer at the same time. That way, you can look at your word or question and find out if you can pull the answer out of your memory. Then turn the card over to check yourself. As you go, make two piles: one pile of the ones you got correct and another pile that you got incorrect. Review the ones in your "wrong" pile and then quiz yourself on those again until you get them right. When you're done, go through all your cards again until you can get them all right.
*If you don't have index cards, you can always just cut paper into rectangles to use. Just remember to write in pencil so your answers don't show through on the back.
Evidence: Just show your flash cards.
is a cool online resource for making online flash cards. You can use them just like regular flash cards or you can play cool games with your words and definitions or questions and answers.
Evidence: Write a note that says, "I practiced _______________(name of topic) on Quizlet for ____________minutes." Sign it; then have your parent or another adult sign that he or she saw you practicing with QuizLet.
If you already have a study guide or notes, give them to your friend or a parent. Have that person quiz you on the information. Make sure they know exactly what you want them to quiz you on.
Evidence: Write a note that says, "_______________(name of person) quizzed me using _____________(name of notes, book, or study guide used)." Sign it; then have your parent or another adult sign that he or she either quizzed you or saw you being quizzed by a friend.
What is the order of operations in math? PEMDAS! OK, it's really: Parentheses then Exponents followed by Multiplication and Division, then Addition and Subtraction, but that's a lot to remember. PEMDAS is a short mnemonic (memory) device to help us remember something much longer. You can make up your own mnemonics and you can find some out there that are really helpful. PEMDAS is an acronym, but that's just one type of mnemonic. Check out this mnemonics reference
from Bucks County Community College.
Do you have to remember the characteristics of living things? You might want to illustrate each one. Sometimes it is easier to remember pictures than words. You can do this in your head without drawing it too when you don't have time to draw it out (but not if you have to show evidence). This can help you understand what you are reading if you do it while you read.