Hello new semester! Don’t you just love the buzz around campus this time of year? You know, its that time in the semester where midterms haven’t taken over life yet, the weather is still amazing and you have a whole new batch of stationary to play with. Okay, that last one only applies to me and a handful of very cool people.
It’s also that time of year where I usually make tons of new goals and try extra hard to get this whole studying thing right.
So in my 3rd year, I was really struggling with school, and I went to the Academic Success Centre to explore new learning strategies. I really didn’t know what I was doing wrong and for me, just talking about it with someone whose job is to listen to me whine about how much I procrastinate and then help me fix it was incredibly gratifying.
I booked an appointment first and then I went in to a couple of drop-in sessions after I had actually tried some of the stuff that they had suggested. I highly recommend trying this out at least once in your undergrad career because even if the advice doesn’t specifically help you right away, it’ll definitely get you started thinking about learning strategy.
It certainly got me thinking and these are some of the changes I made in how I studied:
- BCH210 Intro to Biochemistry: I drew out all amino acids and stuck them right beside my bed so I would see them constantly and without even realizing it, I memorized all 20 by my first midterm!
- ANT253 Language and Society: I made cue cards for all the definitions and overlapping concepts. Making these cards turned out to be studying in itself, actually. The tests were solely multiple choice so cue cards helped me compare and contrast!
- PSY336 Positive Psychology: Group study – this really added an extra dimension to my learning. All students think differently and I realized that there were better ways to learn a concept than I had thought. The Faculty of Arts and Science is actually introducing a new program that actually looks really cool, I can’t wait to try it out – Recognized Study Groups!!
- PSL300 Human Physiology: I started thinking about the bigger picture of the course. I tried to relate each lecture to that one big idea and that really helped keep me on track because when I knew what the overall take-away of the course is, it was easier to see why the small details mattered! (and why I was spending all my Saturdays reviewing 100 slides)
I used this for specific courses and I adapted these strategies for other courses depending on what the course demands were. This just goes to show that there is no “one size fits all” with learning. For example, Jasper wrote this post about how he studies by making most of his notes BEFORE class. (That’s a strategy I have yet to use because I’m super lazy but I’ll keep you posted.)
With all that being said; I’m not a perfect student, I’ve never been a perfect student and I still am working on getting the most out of these strategies. I’ve finished my credits and I can’t say that remember all the course material that I obsessed over semester after semester, but I can definitely say that I’ve now learned HOW to learn.
That was my attempt at imparting wisdom and sounding profound. Now I would like to hear how you tackle studying – leave me a comment, let’s share ideas!