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Exams!

It's exam week!  Every year I give my freshmen how-tos on how to study for finals.  It includes not only what to study, but how to study.  Very often we tell young people, "Go study!" But a lot of students have never been taught how to do it.  They sit down and stare at their notes for a while, call it studying, and figure they've done a good job.  No, no, no.

Here's what I tell my own students.

HOW TO STUDY FOR FINAL EXAMS

1.         Study each subject for 20 minutes each day for three days before the exam.  If you have trouble with the subject, do 30 minutes each day.  Then you'll have studied for between 60 and 90 minutes!

SAMPLE STUDY SCHEDULE:

SUNDAY: First hour (20 minutes), BREAK (10 minutes), Second hour (20 minutes)
MONDAY: First hour (20 minutes), Second hour (20 minutes), BREAK (15 minutes), Third hour (20 minutes), Fourth hour (20 minutes)
TUESDAY: Crunch day!  First hour (20 minutes), Second hour (20 minutes), BREAK (15 minutes), Third hour (20 minutes), Fourth hour (20 minutes), BREAK (20 minutes), Fifth hour (20 minutes), Sixth hour (20 minutes) (Notice you're still only studying for two hours total. That's barely the length of a movie!)
WEDNESDAY: Take First and Second hour exams. LUNCH BREAK Study: Third hour (20 minutes), Fourth hour (20 minutes), BREAK (20 minutes), Fifth hour (20 minutes), Sixth hour (20 minutes)
THURSDAY: Take Third and Fourth hour exams, LUNCH BREAK, Study: Fifth hour (20 minutes), Sixth hour (20 minutes)
FRIDAY:        Take Fifth and Sixth hour exams.  YOU'RE DONE!

2.         Stuff to do to study (some of this is for English only, some is for all subjects):
            A.        Re-read all your notes for the class
            B.        Recopy your notes (writing them down again will help you remember them)
            C.        Re-read your story annotations
            D.        Look up and read summaries of the reading on-line
            E.         Look up grammar exercises and games on-line
            F.         Create a set of flashcards with 3x54 cards or on Quizlet (just making the cards will help you remember the information)
            G.        Complete any review exercises your teacher gives you
            H.        Look up and re-watch class videos on-line
            I.          Have a friend or family member quiz you on information in your notes
            J.          Skim over the reading in your textbook
            K.        Write (don't type) answers to questions from your textbook

3.         Text your friends and say, "I'm studying for finals. I can talk again in an hour." Then turn off your phone or ask one of your parents to hold it for you so you aren't tempted.

4.         Never study with the TV on. The TV is designed to grab your attention!

5.         If music helps you focus, use it.

6.         If you get frustrated or overly restless, take a break!

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
delkytlar
Jan. 13th, 2016 02:54 pm (UTC)
All sound advice. I wish my "kids" (can't really call them that now that they are both over 18 and in college) could be that focused and regimented in their study habits.

Personally, I love the juxtaposition of making flashcards (so old-school) with rewatching class videos (so new-school).
6_penny
Jan. 16th, 2016 02:43 pm (UTC)
Many kids also need to be shown how to approach the exam itself -to not get hung up on one question when the answer doesn't immediately spring to mind, but to go on because other questions can often trigger the memory.
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