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Studying Smarter and Better

Every student has the same amount of time in the day, but the key to improving your life and having time for the activities you want to do is to find ways to be more productive. First, putting all your due dates for your term assignments on a calendar, paper or digital, is an effective method of measuring out your time that you have to prepare. This way helps to manage the load in nice chunks.
Finding out whether you are a visual, auditory, or tactical learner is also a great idea and is helpful in engaging with the material more easily and quickly. A quick, simple test can identify how information most easily goes into your brain. If you are a visual learner, you can “see” the information, so writing notes in charts and creating other visual representations makes the information organized in your brain. Using color codes in your notes is beneficial to map out information on the pages, such as using different colored highlighting pens or colored pencils to identify questions you have or the main points of the lecture. If you are an auditory learner, listening to your taped lectures helps (if your professor allows you to do this). A second option is going over the material, reading it aloud or teaching someone else your material. This particular method also exposes the areas that you do not understand. There are educational software programs, such as Kurzweil, and even Adobe Reader can read your notes out loud to you. For kinesthetic learners (who need to interact with the information), rewriting the lecture and asking questions is a good way to stay engaged. As you read the textbook, reading the chapter objectives pinpoint the main ideas the authors want you to know. If you read and make notes on the material before class, you will already have one interaction with the subjects and can ask questions in the class to clear up any lack of understanding. There is nothing worse than being in class, not reading ahead and being too confused to ask questions.
Once a student has managed to improve his or her note-taking, the improved test-taking should naturally follow. Other problems which may slow you down may be the stress that relates to the class and text anxiety. There are a number of ways to deal with these issues constructively. One way is to re-evaluate your mindset, for example, are you being tested or assessed for your knowledge, skills or proficiency in a body of knowledge? The answer is that you are being assessed so that you can improve. You can spend too much time fretting about the test and not enough time doing something about it. Remember that taking this test will only last for a little while, and then, you are finished. For all tests, be sure to read the instructions carefully. It is a known fact that some teachers and professors have given unique directions on their tests in the past, so be watchful and follow them to the letter. In essay tests, for example, look for verbs like “define”, “discuss”, “argue”, “illustrate”, etc. to answer the question correctly. These are just a few tips to help maximize your efforts. More to follow…
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