During your time at school and here at university, you have probably developed a number of studying strategies that you are comfortable with and have already applied with success to pass exams. Below we have compiled a few alternative studying strategies: Maybe there’s something new for you? Or have you already found your ideal studying strategies?
A few studying strategies
Talking to other people about the materials is a particularly intensive and effective way to process the information. The effects are increased if you develop specific, practical examples based on the information you need to learn. It makes good sense to work together with fellow students attending the same class. This process usually helps you gain a more profound understanding of contexts and interactions in the materials covered. Practicing putting what you have learned into your own words can be very helpful when preparing for written or oral exams, as the information will be stored in your long-term memory and be more easily accessible when you need to recall it for the exam.
Processing information in writing or even in pictorial or graphic form is a good memory aid and a simple way to order and structure complex topics. All learners, not just the visually oriented, can benefit from this method.
Writing a brief summary of what you’ve learned is a good place to start. Summaries help you structure the information, and are also a good way to review in the final days leading up to exams. When writing a summary, keep the following in mind:
- Remember to write down what you have learned in your own words. Just copying a text will not have the same effect, and you won’t be able to remember the information as well.
- Question what you have learned to get a better grasp of the context and interactions in the materials covered.
Make sure to include logical conjunctions in your summary, so that you will be able to follow the central theme when you review the material later.
Timelines are a good way to visualize processes and chains of events and help you to keep track of the order of events in a particular time period. Not only historical developments but also information like the processes and workflows used in a company can be depicted simply and clearly with the help of a timeline diagram.
Mind maps can be very helpful when you need an overview of a larger topic. They are particularly good for giving you a feel for the scope of individual sub-topics and how they relate to each other. Mind maps also give you space for your own notes, and the wide variety of formatting and layout options available make it easy to process the information. They are also ideal for reviewing, as materials can be presented in a short, concise, and logically structured way.