How do you 'study smarter'?

<p>What does that mean anyway? I've never been top student, and that is hurting me a lot in college. I'm spending lots of time and effort, but it only keeps me at a position of passing, and not at the level I wish I was in. What I'm doing wrong is being too nervous for tests, and being too tired sometimes. Other than that, I don't know what else I'm doing wrong. But that shouldn't affect my grades too much, since I do spend a lot of time on the homework, and ask for lots of help from the tutors,,,, but unfortunately, my grades are being badly affected. Help?</p>

<p>I can understand where you're coming from; I think studying in college vs high school has forced a lot of people to reevaluate their study habits and strategies. I remember in high school I could get away with cramming, but in college the quantity of readings and the depth of understanding required really means you need to find what works most efficiently for YOU.</p>

<p>I think studying smarter is basically getting more done in less time, doing something well the first time. One of my friends can read chapter after chapter without ever highlighting/underlining and still retain more information than if I read and made pages of notes. For me it's about constant review, and lots of thinking time, where you put concepts together, reason things out - that helps me remember.</p>

<p>As for Nervousness - make sure you know the material well, so well that you've REMEMBERED it, not merely memorized it. STARTING EARLY is key!</p>

<p>Tiredness - Would this have to do with cramming or staying up late? It's much better to GET SLEEP and wake up well rested than taking espresso shots and pulling an all-nighter (and caffeine increases urine production anyway, which is not good during exams! haha).</p>

<p>I really think it comes down to TIME MANAGEMENT: making use of the 15 minutes before class, having flash cards handy while waiting for something, finishing readings and not letting it pile up, knowing when to say no to friends cause you're swamped (they'll understand), not putting things off, etc.</p>

<p>I would suggest trying:
- flash cards
- highlighting and making small notes
- study groups
- making outlines
- thinking of possible questions that could be on the tests
- talking/reasoning things aloud
- explaining to a friend, which helps your own understanding</p>

<p>College is so much about EFFORT. But it has to be efficient. (It's not so much "practice makes perfect" but "PERFECT PRACTICE" making perfect as a teacher once told me. Bad practice = disappointing results.) I know lots of brilliant people who procrastinate and end up doing very poorly, though they definitely could've aced it. Try to find what WORKS for you, and then take it from there - I think you'll see a difference! Good luck :)</p>

<p>Starting early and keeping a steady pace of study throughout the semester is best. Cramming and racing to finish HW and study for tests never works out well - though you seem to already know that.</p>

<p>If the main problem is nervousness during tests, you may have a condition called "test anxiety" that is fairly common, and many people aren't diagnosed until college (though they've had trouble their whole lives)</p>

<p>Do any of the following apply:
* Feel nervous during tests, even though you know the material very well
* Nervousness before tests makes it difficult to sleep or study
* Your mind goes blank on problems that you know you could easily solve in HW
* During tests you check the clock or watch to see how much time is left so frequently that it is a distraction</p>

<p>If any of the above apply, or seem familiar, then you may want to consult a counselor at your school or other professonal and ask about what can be done to help. There are many different accomodations that schools are very willing to make which typically reduce the nervousness of students with test anxiety.</p>

<p>stay at holiday inn.</p>

<p>There's an old saying that two heads are better than one. What you need to do is study with a friend or group of friends.</p>

<p>I just took a bio final and found this to be very helpful, as it always has been in the past. I met with a buddy for about two hours (after we had both studied on our own) and we went over an outline of the material together. Both of us picked some stuff up from each other that we couldn't find on our own. Also, quizzing each other helped to get it in our minds. He also had another textbook from another class and we were able to use that to further explain stuff that we were stuck on. Great session, and both of us got an A on the test (and in the class), mostly thanks to this team effort.</p>

<p>As far back as sixth grade I've used the buddy system. The best part is that it helps more than one person!</p>

<p>And with text anxiety, I think I've posted it on here before, but I'll say it again. A high school FRESHMAN told me at the end of my senior year how to overcome it. (She's really smart, smarter than me despite a difference in age). Remember this: when you go to take your test, don't even think of it as a test day. Go in there knowing that you know the material, pretend it's a regular class day like the others, and don't even think of a test or anything. (That girl is forever my hero for this advice--and she's probably Ivy-bound too, she's that smart.)</p>


<p>I also think it is important that you learn quickly that college is about giving the professor what they want. Seriously, you can put in all the effort in the world, and do all the techniques listed above, but you are almost guaranteed to do appreciably better in a class if you know what professors want and expect from you. This is especially important in humanities and social sciences, where essays and projects make up virtually your entire grade most of the time. These things are so subjective, that I have found I often must adjust my style for every different professor I have. So go to professors during office hours, ask questions in class, talk to upperclassmen and other students who have had the professor. Basically learn the style of writing or projects that is desired, as well as what you should put in there (Does the prof like specific particular details? Are they more big picture oriented? Etc...). To aid in this, it is beneficial to make as many drafts of major papers, projects, etc... as possible, and get as much feedback from the professor as possible. The more you struggle, fail, and revise, the better you get at learning what a professor wants, and playing to their wishes. </p>

<p>In natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering, this is not as important, but it is still present. Specifically, you have to learn what types of problems are usually on exams. What does the professor draw their material from? What do they consider important to learn? When you figure that out, you have to PRACTICE! Math, science, and engineering are very much about problem solving, and different types of problems can be difficult for different people. The same concept tested in two different ways can be very much unrecognizable. So you have to practice, hone your skills, whether it be on homework problems, old exams, suggestions by the professor, etc...</p>

<p>make sure you space out your studying over the course of a week or so, so taht the night before the test is a review. hand write notes instead of typing them, b/c when you write them out, you actually process them again.</p>

<p>Make outlines and make them progressively shorter, so by the end of your 3rd outline one word triggers an entire paragraph worth of information in your head.</p>

<p>As far as nervousness goes, I am a very nervous test taker, though I do well on tests. Try some self affirmations like "I know this material, I am prepared, etc." I know it sounds cheezy, but it really helped me ALOT.</p>

<p>I tape record lectures and play them while I'm sleeping, I've also tried taking notes and taping myself reading them aloud and playing that while I'm sleeping, over and over (create a playlist on your ipod); this may sound hair-brained, but I'm telling you it works for me!</p>

<p>take adderall</p>

<p>Hmm....matta2888, that's weird but cool (in a weird cool sort of way). Whatever works for you though I guess!</p>

<p>The best book to study smarter is "What Smart Students Know"-Adam Robison</p>

<p>do not take adderall..shame on you for even suggesting that</p>

<p>"I tape record lectures and play them while I'm sleeping"</p>

<p>Just to let you know, this doesn't do anything.</p>

<p>do NOT take adderall, it often becomes addictive and has serious medical consequences</p>

<p>to me, smart studying means nto getting distracted when im studying. For instance, it usually took me about 2-3 hours to study for an AP Bio test with AIM and my computer on, etc. But when I go to a study room in the library or turn off everything, it'd take me 45 minutes just b/c I focused so well.</p>

<p>I use to read every single reading i was supposed to ... then one day my own tutor (prof) told me not to read everything and to only read what you need to read. you REALLY DONT need to read EVERYTHING! </p>

<p>This has helped me greatly, in many ways i am doing less work but getting better grades. Obviously this works better in some classes than others (i know some teachers like to 'suprise' you in exams with random questions relating to random readings). However i have found most dont do this. </p>

<p>Some people are brialliant at remembering everything, i am not. If you are like me then you have to limit what you take in as otherwise your brain just gets overloaded. </p>

<p>I also have test anxiety, i have no hints there unfortunately.</p>

<p>There is a book I recommend all college students own before starting college. It's called What Smart Students Know by Adam Robinson, written by one of the founders of the test prep service Princeton Review. I have never seen a better explanation of the steps you need to follow to really <em>learn</em> the material, and if you've learned it well you will have no trouble with grades. The book explains how to study different kinds of material, take effective notes, prepare for tests, etc.</p>

<p>As the OP is discovering, the expectations in college are different than in HS. And often its top HS kids who trip up; in HS they were bright enough to skim the material and then rely on their acumen to get the right answers on multiple choice or write convincing essays. In college everyone around you is as bright as you, so the kids who have put in the time, put it in effectively, stand out.</p>

<p>There is one other thing I'd add. It's be involved with the material. Don't just read the text and go "uh-huh, uh-huh, makes sense, yes"; question and test yourself to make sure you really understand. In math/science classes this is more obvious because every chapter has problems you can use to test if you can apply what you've just learned. There are also supplemental books worth buying; go to amazon and type in "calculus problem solver" or replace calculus with whatever subject you are studying. These books are a godsend! It's like having a TA sitting at your elbow asking you a question and writing out the correct answer. Simply cover the answer and try it yourself; repeat until you can solve that type of problem quickly and correctly.</p>

<p>In the social sciences there are some problem solver books, but often you're more on your own. But this can be fun; let your imagination be the limit! In a psych class, after you learn about a concept try to figure out how you could set up an experiment right at college to test it on your fellow students. Could you steer kids to choose vegetables in the cafeteria with reinforcement? In econ, imagine what would happen if the demand curve shifted up, left, rotated right?. What if it changed shape and looked like a W? In history try to compare/contrast the events you covered with those of another period; how was the decade surrounding the French Revolution different from that around the American Revolution, and why? Can you think of one thing that literally would have changed history? Another game to play is "be the prof". After class while the material is fresh in your mind, imagine you ran into a friend who played hooky. Try to give the lecture better than the prof but in only 5-10 minutes. This helps cement the material in your mind. If you've been taking notes correctly they only have key points in them; right after this game is a good time to review them and fill in more detail.</p>