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5 Tips to Help You Stay Awake in Class
The bane of many student’s existence is falling asleep in class. Whether you’re dozing off because you had a wicked party the night before, or you’re simply blessed to have a prof who has discovered the cure for insomnia, when you take naps in class you’re losing valuable productivity and time considering you already dragged yourself out of your warm bed at home. Here’s 5 tips to make sure your cheek doesn’t end up on the desk next time. 1. Get a good night’s sleep before The most obvious tip comes first because if you’re not getting a lot of sleep at night the other tips here aren’t really going to help you. Although it’s possible to be productive and attentive without optimum amounts of rest, being groggy in a dry lecture will almost assure that your cheek will be on the desk in no time flat. 2. Take notes Generally in lecture, falling asleep is more due to boredom than actual tiredness. Conquer this by keeping yourself active through writing notes. I know the novelty of college is most classes have detailed lecture notes online, but by taking down interesting things the professor says during the lecture, you’ll stay awake, remember more of the information, and be better prepared for tests and exams. 3. Take a real interest in the class At every opportunity in a lecture you should be doing your best to take active interest in the material, no matter how boring it is. Whenever possible, ask yourself how the material you’re learning about applies to your past experiences, your daily life, and the world around you. This also leads into the next point… 4. Ask mental questions Keep yourself occupied by asking questions in your head about possible applications of what you’re learning. Make it relevant to your daily life as much as you can. This really hit me during Social Psychology. When I was learning about how people behaved around others it was easy to think of practical applications and come up with thoughtprovoking questions that made the class fly by even though the professor was boring. It may seem harder for more logical courses like math or science, but think outside the box! 5. Daydream! The average person has an attention span of only 18 minutes. This means that the average lecture period (an hour long, although some go as much as three!) is about three times longer than most people can sit and focus for! Capitalize on this bit of knowledge by taking a 2-3 minute break every 20 minutes or so. It doesn’t matter what you do — send some text messages, doodle, stare blankly into the middle distance — just so long as you’re not focusing on the class. When you tune in again you’ll find yourself reinvigorated and ready to listen! Repeat as necessary throughout the lecture. I’m always looking for new ways to stay awake in my genetics lectures, so hit me up in the comments with your tricks for beating the bed bugs.
How to Stay Awake During Class
My first quarter of college I didn’t know how to stay awake in class. I took an early morning psychology course with three girls I’d met in the dorms. Just before class, we rolled out of bed, stumbled to the lecture hall class with our eyes barely open, and settled into a row of squishy seats in the lecture hall. Then 3 out of 4 of us would fall asleep— whoever stayed awake would take notes. Obviously, I did not get an A in that class–I was catching Z’s instead. So, how can YOU stay awake in class? As a college student, I can almost guarantee that you need more sleep, so you should start there. You probably don’t want to go to bed earlier, but you should. Give yourself an extra hour every night, and see if that helps. You might need more. Even a nap can help! If you live in the dorms, making the above changes still probably won’t get you to sleep enough. So just in case, here are some things that worked well for me when I wanted to stay awake through a lecture: Take notes by hand When you take notes on a laptop, you tend to be much less focused, because typing is much more automatic. You also finish faster and sometimes drift off (or start IMing people). Taking notes by hand is slower, so it makes you focus on keeping up with the lecture. Eat healthy snacks Eating a snack—especially carbs and proteins—can help energize you. I liked taking a bag of healthy cereal like Cheerios to my very early or very late classes. I would eat the cereal one piece at a time—the carbs plus the act of making myself take one at a time really helped me stay awake. If you need a burst of energy, try eating fruit like sliced apples or grapes instead of a candy bar. Junk food, obviously, is not a good option. Drink water Dehydration can really wipe you out, so bring a water bottle to class with you. Neither soda nor alcohol (which is very dehydrating) is a good substitute for water to keep your body hydrated. Get interested in the lecture A lot of your interest in a lecture is affected by your attitude. If you go in thinking it’s going to be boring, you’ll probably be bored. Even if you’re taking a required class, try to get interested in the lecture each day; it will help you stay alert. Try to learn at least three things you didn’t know, and tell someone about them after class. It might sound kind of lame, but it will help you stay awake and learn. Good luck! And also, remember to check out my tips about how to stay awake & alert while studying (without coffee!).
How to Stay Awake & Alert While Studying (without Coffee!)
October 29th, 2007 Jamie With midterms and final exams rearing their very ugly heads, you’re probably finding that study time is increasingly important. Too bad you have a job, clubs, a roommate, friends, family, dorm-room sleep hours (read: 3am bedtime), a cafeteria diet, and a bunch of classes wearing you down. Once you start reading that text book, suddenly a nice nap seems like a much better idea. Read on to find out how to keep yourself awake, even if you’re studying in the wee hours of the morning: 1. Drink a Lot of Water Remember this from my tips on how to stay awake in class? Well, water is even better for staying up when you’re studying. Dehydration can make you sleepy, so keeping your body hydrated will stave off those symptoms. If you are really sleepy, drink a lot of water to make sure you stay up—if you have to get up to go to the bathroom, it will definitely keep you awake! (Weird, but it works!) . 2. Take Breaks Your brain needs to rest if you want to study hard for a long time AND do well on your test. Schedule out your time so you can take a break—I would study for 45 minutes, break for 15, and so forth. Set the alarm on your cell phone so you don’t forget (or if you’re afraid you’ll fall asleep). Watch a TV show, talk to a friend, read a book, or listen to some music—but nothing school related at all! . 3. Exercise Exercise can be a great way to wake yourself up—take a short walk, dance to some music on your iPod, or head over to the gym for a little while. Taking a shower after a workout can wake you up even more. . 4. Don’t Study Somewhere Comfortable Don’t curl up on the common room couch or lean against some pillows in bed and expect to make it through 50 pages of text—getting comfortable is a sure fire way to sleep through your study time. Go somewhere with good, strong lighting, a non-squishy chair, and a table or desk. Sit up while you study, and change positions now and then. . 5. Eat a Snack Get your blood sugar up by eating a healthy snack (junk food will just give you a burst of energy but then you’ll crash). Apples are a good food to help you keep your blood sugar stable so you can stay awake (a lot of people say they will wake you up better than caffeine!) Remember, I also shared some ideas to help you stay awake in class, so if you’re really sleepy, you might want to try those, too! Good luck!
How to Develop Good Study Habits for College
College is an entirely different situation than high school. Classes consist of far fewer grades, but they are worth it when you are done. Some classes have only a midterm and final. This being said, it is important to stay caught up. Do not tell yourself, "I'll read the assignment later," because often times you merely end up cramming right before the test; research indicates that cramming is not the most effective way to study, so try to avoid it if possible. Steps 1. Review the lesson plan prior to class. Skim through the textbooks. Try to buy your textbooks a few weeks before the semester begins for a glimpse of your classes. 2. Take quick notes in class. (see tip) 3. If you read the material before class you will have an idea of what doesn't make sense, and concentrate of your professor's explanation. Why are you buying the textbook for it to collect dust? They have textbooks and lab manuals for a purpose. You will be graded mostly on the book because this is mainly the bulk of the class. 4. Don't make notes on what's already in the book, it wastes your time and attention. Highlight the parts emphasized, and listen to the way your professor relates it to what you've already learned. 5. If it's repeated more than twice it's going to be on the test. 6. Study for at least a total of an hour everyday before the next class. For each lecture hour you should expect at least 1-3 hours needed for study- more if it's a challenging class. Studying could involve reading the book, checking out your notes, assignments, using the DVD with the book, browsing the web for information on your class, etc. 7. Don't let social activities take priority before studying. If you have to be social, it is great to have a study group. 8. Plan your breaks in the short and long term. If you must make the Saturday night party, know you'll have to spend the afternoon at the library. If you're spending the day hitting the books, plan an hour off at suppertime, and a treat for dessert. 9. Study groups help some remember material, and clarify difficult points and is a great way to have a social life in college at the same time as studying. 10. If your friends are in different courses plan on getting together for stress busting periods, especially during exam week. Midnight power walks make great memories. 11. If you are not the person to concentrate, try to lighten your load of classes. 12 credits is a good amount of credits to schedule for each semester. That will ensure up to 12-24 hours of studying, assuming that each class has at least 1 hour of studying per credit. 12. Always memorize bolded vocabulary words in the textbook. These might not be covered by the professor because he'll assume that you're already reading the text. So beware, even things not lectured on may appear on the test. Tips
The problem about studying isn't the actual studying itself, rather it's the getting started part. Most people find that once they have gotten started, it's much easier to continue. If you know yourself well enough that you know that you probably won't study for an exam until the few hours before it, then you could try fixing this by tricking yourself. Write it in your calendar and convince yourself the exam is on a certain day, when it's really a week later. If you get into that mode, it's much easier to start studying and continue studying. A very wise professor once said, "How and when to study? Study like there is always going to be an exam the next day. That way when there is, you've been studying for it for weeks." If highlighters and Post-It notes help you organize and stay focused don't hesitate to put them in the budget. It's a small investment, and you'll be committed to USING your investment,
To take quick notes abbreviate everything, for example: (message = msg, take = tk, learn = lrn); just make up your own abbreviations, you'll come up with what works best for you in no time. You remember things better in short amounts of time - do not study for 4 hours; you will only forget half the things you read. Study for an hour, then take a 5 - 10 minute break to walk around, and study for another hour. Be committed to making the break work for you too- don't get distracted for an hour, make sure you get back within the time you've set for yourself. Listening to calming classical music and chewing gum while you study are helpful items that can help you remember things better. If you don't like classical music, trance is another style of music that stimulates the brain, light jazz is also good because it makes you productive, and new age to relax your mind. Music that is played at a rate about 60-80 beats for minute creates Alpha waves, which is the mind at a state of relaxation and that may help concentration. Look for classical and new age works that have keywords such as Adagio, Andante, Dolce, Pastorale, etc. Coffee or energy drinks could help, but substance abuse is a huge black hole. Use them occasionally, but depend on your own good work for quality results. If you don't study for an exam even though you should have, don't beat yourself up. It actually makes you avoid studying. Instead, tell yourself that you *will* do better next time. Make yourself determined. When questioning on whether or not to study, remember the time that you didn't and felt terrible after the exam. use this to motivate yourself. Always give yourself a break time and always plan things out one by one. Viewing three tests as one obstacle can become overwhelming. Everyone hits a point that they don't understand, or has a paper they're frustrated enough to quit over. Don't let that one obstacle ruin you- get help from your professor, your study group, whatever, and solve the problem. Quit only after the problem is solved, if you still want to. Do the subject you don't like first, and move towards the easier tasks. You'll last longer and get more done. It is best to study for class with the most credits. 4 and 5 credit classes have the highest tuitions and have the most bulk for assignments, and may require a lot of memorization and anaylsis. Listening to music can also enhance your study ability by a lot it doesn't matter what you listen to. People say listening to music keeps the thoughts in your head the next time you study because you remember the music and what you have studied wile listening to the music. If you suspect if you have ADHD and whatnot, try to get some help.
Stay away from distractions while you are studying like computers, TV, non-soothing music (music with lyrics can distract you), etc. Do not study if you're tired. But don't go with "I'm tired" all the time. Sleep, or go out and exercise, and start again. If you're going to a party, budget the party AND the sick hangover time as down time in your schedule. Don't try to work through- you'll waste your energy and get frustrated. Do not cram; there is no point in trying to, because you will only remember very little and it won't help your future career because you'll have rotten recall. During all nighters you'll lose as much information from sleepiness as you'll learn from the extra time spent. Stay up late, but make sure you're budgeting at least 6 hours for sleep, even on your night before the big exam. Your brain processes what you've learned in your sleep. Don't abuse substances too much. Don't use tobacco. Often times, caffeine as well will lead to jitters making it impossible to get any decent studying in.
How to Create Good Study Habits for Exams
Taking exams can be a time for stress and anxiety if you have not studied during the year; you will find yourself cramming for each test and studying late into the night. With a little time management during the school year, you not only minimize stress at exam time, but maximize productivity and results! Steps
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Buy an extra notebook for each subject at the beginning of the year so that as you finish a chapter in class, you immediately write notes and summaries in that book. The classwork will still be fresh in your mind so at exam time you merely have to take the notebook home from school. Write down the key points you learned from each lesson onto a cue card. This helps your mind to retain the day's important facts. On the weekends look over the cue cards. Get your parents or friends to quiz you on them. Record your notes on a digital voice recorder or another device (you can also use your phone), listen to them in your spare time, listen to them as you would an audio book, concentrate on the words and try to memorize them as you hear them. Researches also found that listening to sounds during sleep enhance memory.  Learn how to make mind maps, cluster maps, powerpoints and other memory aids. Mind maps are graphical illustrations of a subject and a great memory tool to use, especially during exams. These tools are great for flashcarding and memory-retrieving. As soon as you finish a topic take out a book from the library and read more information about the subject. Take notes to refer back to them before and at test time. Don't do rough drafts for essays. Just do the good copy straight away, but thoroughly as well. In an exam situation you won't have time to write out a whole draft copy, so practice writing out good copies straight away. Make a timetable for exam days by marking the dates on a calendar, so you can be prepared by the time the test comes around. Make a list of your classes and the topics covered in class. As you study a topic, mark it in a way that is meaningful to you, to remind you which topics have already been studied. Set aside a study time each day when you are not too tired, or too hungry. If you are going to study for a long time, remember to take a break in between. Set up a study group. Study groups share notes, thoughts and ideas or how to solve or understand a particular problem. Be sure to honor the class rules on what work may or may not be done in groups. Plan out 'trial' exams for yourself. All you have to do is redo one of your past tests or quizzes within a time limit. Get into the exam mode by clearing your work desk of everything except your paper and pen. Get enough sleep at night. It's harder to concentrate when you got less than six hours of sleep the night before. When choosing individual subjects to study, start with the least enjoyable or the most difficult subject. Master it, and you'll end up loving it. At the very least, you won't have to worry about putting it off until it's too late because you don't like it Follow a daily timetable,on the first day it will be a challenge;second day it will become a practice and the third day it will become a habit.
Don't panic on exam day. On the night before the exam, and in the morning of read through your notes a few times, then put them away. Don't panic if you have not studied well. Just think over the question and you might remember something the teacher taught you. After all, you are studying things that men/ women have discovered before without previous knowledge. Make your own reviewer. Write your keywords in every topic and use different colors of ink for easy recognition. When you make this, get all the resources you can have and make sure it would be done personalised so you can enjoy it!
Eat a healthy breakfast that day, so you feel energized, but don't eat so much that you feel full. Something to consider is a study that says males do better on tests if they are slightly hungry, and females do better on tests if they are slightly full. Again, don't overdo it. You gain less by studying for exams at the last minute. One way to think about it is to start studying for the next exam as soon as you get the material, don't wait until a week before the test to start. Try and have all your study notes complete at least 2 weeks before the exam. This allows you plenty of time to work through past papers for revision and go over and re-read anything you're a bit hazy on. In the lead up to exams, try and get your hands on some exam papers for previous years. Doing these before the real exam will give you an idea as to what you'll be up against and will highlight anything you still need to revise. If you suffer from exam stress then take a calming antidote, perhaps an herbal tea. Just don't overdose because it'll make you drowsy. Don't stress out, it makes your mind work slower. Have a balance in life, exams are simply a quick and lazy way to assess people. Don't panic, just study. Develop a positive attitude towards exams. If you are well prepared you'll walk into the exam room thinking "WOW! I can't wait to prove myself to these examiners, I'm gonna Ace this test, just to show them." Negative attitude: "Oooh, I'm so nervous. I hate exams; what's the point? I really don't feel up to this". Ever heard this? "Good luck with your exam!" This is false hope, you shouldn't need a pint of luck to help you succeed,and if you DO need good luck, then you obviously haven't prepared enough. While some can be, most exams aren't really this big. Exams are really just large quizzes with a time limit. No big deal. During the exam, avoid blanks. Try as hard as you can to make an intelligent guess. Take the closest answer but remember not to take too much of your time in answering one item. Go back and review your answers after you finish the exam, if you still have time.
If you have not prepared yourself for the test, during the term, and before the test, do not expect a high mark! Don't cheat. It is very dishonest and rude. Too much study can be as bad as not enough study because the mind shuts down when too much information is crammed into it. Mind blanks are possibly the most frightening things to occur in an exam. They can happen in any subject, but you can overcome them. The only way to overcome mind blanks is to relax the brain from its hysterical state. In the exam room, close your eyes, breathe in for 5 seconds and let it release through the mouth automatically. Repeat this until you can feel the facts crawling back into your memory. Don't try to learn a new chapter a day before the exam; instead, revise what you already know. Practice lots of pastpapers as possible, so that you are familar with examboard tricks. After you take the exam, scan all your answers and check for spelling or other minor mistakes. Check before you regret!
How to Study
When you sit down to study, how do you transfer that massive amount of information from the books and notes in front of you to a reliable spot inside your head? The best way to facilitate that kind of "file transfer" is to develop good study habits, as outlined below. At first, it'll take a good deal of conscious effort to change your studying ways, but after a while, it'll become second nature, and studying will be easier to do. Steps 1. Manage your time. Make a weekly schedule and devote a certain amount of time per day to studying. This will improve your grades also. That amount will vary depending on whether you're in high school or college, and also varies by field of study. 2. Study in 20-50 minute chunks. It takes time for your brain to form new long-term memories, and you can't just keep studying flat out. Take 5-10 minute breaks (no more!) and do something physically active to get your blood flowing and make you more alert. Do a few jumping jacks, run around your house, play with the dog, whatever it takes. Do just enough to get yourself pumped, but not worn out. Make enough time in your schedule to get enough sleep. Think of it this way: If you sleep only 4-5 hours, you'll probably need to double your study time in order to be as effective as if you'd gotten 7-9 hours of sleep. Study more and sleep less? That doesn't sound like a very good deal. Get a good night's sleep every night and you'll be making the best of your study time. If you end up a little sleep deprived despite your best efforts, take a short nap (20 minutes) before studying. Then do some physical activity (like you would do during a break) right before you start. 3. Find a good study spot. You should feel comfortable, but not so comfortable that you risk falling asleep--a bed isn't a very good study spot when you're tired! The place where you study should be relatively quiet (traffic outside your window and quiet library conversations are fine, but interrupting siblings and music blasting in the next room are not). As far as music is concerned, that's up to you. Some people prefer silence, others prefer music in the background. If you belong to the latter group, stick to instrumental music (music that has no words like classical, soundtrack, trance, or some celtic) and that you're already familiar with (not something that's bound to distract you)--otherwise, your brain will "multi-task" and not be able to retain information as well. Having the television on while you study is generally a bad idea. 4. Clear your mind.If you’ve got a lot on your mind take a moment to write yourself some notes about what you're thinking about before you start studying. This will help to clear your mind you focus all your thoughts on your work. 5. Snack smart while you study. Have your snacks prepared when you begin a study session--don't wait till you get hungry and go rummaging for food. Avoid any snacks or drinks that will give you a rush of energy, because with every rush comes a crash in which all the information you studied is lost to an intense desire to sleep. Focus on "slow release" carbohydrates, which not only give you a steady stream of energy, but they also boost serotonin, a brain chemical that makes you feel good: 6. Rewrite your notes at home. When you're in class, emphasize recording over understanding or neatness when you take notes. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to understand or organize your notes at all; just don't waste time doing something in class that you can figure out or neaten up at home. Consider your in-class notes a "rough draft" of sorts. Rewrite your notes as soon after the class as possible, while the material is fresh in your mind and so you can fill in any gaps from memory. The process of rewriting your notes is a more active approach to studying--it engages your mind in a way that just reading the notes doesn't.
You may find it easier to keep two notebooks--one for your "rough draft" notes, and another for your rewritten notes. Some people type their notes, but others find that handwriting enhances their ability to remember the notes. The more paraphrasing you do, the better. Same goes for drawing. If you're studying anatomy, for example, "redraw" the system you're studying from memory. 7. Learn the most important facts first. Don't just read the material from beginning to end, stopping to memorize each new fact as you come to it. New information is acquired much more easily when you can relate it to material that you already know. When you are beginning to study a new chapter, it will make the information it contains much more meaningful and easier to learn if you first take a few minutes to read the introduction, the headings, the first sentence of every paragraph, and the chapter summary to get a good idea of what the chapter is about before going on to read the chapter as a whole. (Word for word, these portions also contain more information that is likely to be asked about on a test!) If you can, use a highlighter, or underline the most important points in the body of the text, so that you can spot them more easily when you review the material. It also helps to make notes in pencil in the margin in your own words to summarize or comment on important points. (These practices may make your textbook worth less when you sell it back to the bookstore, but it may make it worth a great deal more to you at test time!) You can also read just these portions in order to quickly review the material you have learned while it is still fresh in your memory, and help the main points to sink in. This is also a great way to review the most important ideas just before a test, when your time is especially limited. It's also a good way to periodically review in this manner to keep the main points of what you have already learned fresh in your mind if you need to remember a large amount of material for a longer period -- for a final examination, for a comprehensive exam in your major, for a graduate oral, or for entry into a profession. If you have enough privacy, it also helps to recite your summaries aloud in order to involve more senses in the activity of learning, like listening to music over several channels at once. Incorporate your summaries into your notes, if there is a connection. If you're having trouble summarizing the material so that it "sticks" in your head, try teaching it to someone else. Pretend you're teaching it to someone who doesn't know anything about the topic, or create a wikiHow page about it! For example, Memorize the Canadian Territories & Provinces was made as a study guide for an 8th grade student. 8. Make flash cards. Traditionally, this is done with index cards, but you can also download computer programs that cut down on space and the cost of index cards. You can also just use a regular piece of paper folded (vertically) in half. Put the questions on the side you can see when the paper is folded; unfold it to see the answers inside. Keep quizzing yourself until you get all the answers right reliably. Remember: "Repetition is the mother of skill." You can also turn your notes into flash cards using the Cornell note-taking system, which involves writing grouping your notes around keywords that you can quiz yourself on later by covering the notes and trying to remember what you wrote based on seeing only the keyword.
9. If your textbook has a vocabulary section, a glossary, or a list of terms, make sure that you understand these completely. You don't have to memorize them, but whenever there is an important concept in a particular field, there is usually a special term to refer to it. Learn these terms, and be able to use them easily, and you will have gone a long way towards mastering the subject itself. (Besides, teachers frequently draw from these lists as a quick and easy way to make up test questions!) 10. Make associations. The most effective way to retain information is to "tie" it to existing information that's already lodged in your mind. Take advantage of your learning style. Think about what you already learn and remember easily--song lyrics? choreography? pictures? Work that into your study habits. If you're having trouble memorizing a concept, write a catchy jingle about it (or write lyrics to the tune of your favorite song); choreograph a representative dance; draw a comic. The sillier and more outrageous, the better--we tend to remember silly things more than we remember boring things! Use mnemonics (memory aids). Rearrange the information is a sequence that's meaningful to you. For example, if one wants to remember the notes of the treble clef lines in music, remember the mnemonic Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge = E, G, B, D, F. It's much easier to remember a sentence than a series of random letters. You can also build a memory palace or Roman room to memorize lists like the thirteen original colonies in America, in chronological order. If the list is short, link the items together using an image in your mind. Organize the information with a mind map. The end result of mapping should be a web-like structure of words and ideas that are somehow related in the writer's mind. Use visualization skills. Construct a movie in your mind that illustrates the concept you're trying to remember, and play it several times over. Imagine every little detail. Use your senses--how does it smell? look? feel? sound? taste? Make a study sheet. Try and condense the information you will need into one sheet, or two if absolutely necessary. Bring it around with you and look at it whenever you have downtime during the days leading up to the test. If you type it up onto the computer, you can get a lot more control over your layout by changing font sizes, margin spaces, etc. 11. Make it a group effort. Get some friends together--friends who are actually interested in studying, that is--and have everyone bring over their flash cards. Pass them around and quiz each other. If anyone is unclear on a concept, take turns explaining them to each other. Better yet, turn your study session into a game like Trivial Pursuit. Tips
Try to stop being distractedresist the urge to go on msn or facebook. This way, you can manage your time efficiently and get work done faster which leaves more time for sleep. Ask before you sign up whether or not a particular instructor gives six credits of work in a three credit class, or whether or not he or she is a good teacher. If the answers to these questions are not to your liking, and it's still a class that you have to take, be sure that you are not taking too many other difficult classes at the same time. Keep Hydrated. A 2% decrease in hydration can cause up to 20% loss of focus. (Just make sure that your "hydration" is non-alcoholic!) You should be alert and your mind should be calm before you begin your studies. Study the most challenging subjects first. Tackle them when you're most alert. Studying with a partner who is as serious about the subject as you can be a good motivator to work harder. Organize the study session into parts, review notes, outline the chapter, and discuss concepts. (Try to teach it to each other so that you are sure you both get it.)
You can use hypnosis or self hypnosis to make sure you get enough sleep, overcome mental blocks, and experience the positive emotions associated with the achievement of your goals now, in the present when they are most needed for motivation. Begin to study 30-90 minutes after a meal. If possible, study no more than 20-50 minutes at a stretch. Late night studies are usually a waste of time. Try not to just memorize whatever you have learned. Understand it and say/write the answer in your own words, and try to teach the material to friends or to an imaginary audience. (For example, how would you explain it to your mother, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your little sister?) Pay attention in class. Sit where you are able to see and hear what is going on. 1. Don't hesitate to ask questions or seek extra help during office hours if something is not clear to you. Many instructors have said, "The only dumb question is the one that isn't asked!" 2. Try not to be absent when an important subject is going to be discussed. 3. If you are absent, try to borrow the notes of somebody who is a good note-taker. Try typing. (If your word processor has an automatic outlining feature, this is often a great help in rapidly organizing and making your notes more meaningful!) Word process all your notes into multiple summaries. Print out and highlight the important pieces. Word process these pieces, print out and summarize again. This will take the stress off writing with your hands, and it may speed up the process, as well as allowing you to study longer. Another strategy is to make a Powerpoint Presentation on the subject. If you can, it helps to "treat yourself" by giving yourself a special reward when you finish a meaningful unit of work. Just don't make the intervals between rewards too long, or the rewards too weak. 2. If you stop and take time to think about the possibilities, you should automatically be able to sense what will work for you and what won't.
Watch out for inclinations to procrastinate. For example, are you reading this article instead of studying? All your efforts will not lead to success, if you procrastinate, and you'll end up blaming your tools. Your attitude greatly helps the outcome of your studying. If you're so excited you can't breathe, you are not going to want to sit down and read about the Mesopotamian Era. Try to regulate your moods when it's time to hit the books (e.g. don't sign on to instant messaging to talk with your friends about that cute new guy ten minutes before you have to study the table of elements). If you cannot study because you are just too tense, or something is worrying you, it may be necessary to gain control of your emotions before you are able to successfully study on a regular basis. If you are not able to do this on your own, you may need to consult a school counselor. Make sure you're not too comfy; you can fall asleep doing so! Sit in a sturdy chair with all your notes on a desk. Pillows are not needed to study. Don't relax too much and think that the test is going to be so easy; if you do, you might end up leaving something out because you think it's not worth studying!
How to Maintain a 4.0 GPA
Want to get good grades in middle school and high school? It isn't as hard as you think it is. Just follow along. Steps
3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Bring your grade up to a A+ or higher if you have not already done that. Don't worry, you don't have to memorize your textbooks; just turn in your homework on time, pay attention in class, and try to know and understand material that will be on tests. You're going to need to get organized. Get a binder and notebook for each subject. Get rid of old papers or assignments unless you think you'll refer back to them. You also will need to get a notebook to write your daily homework in. Take solid notes, and don't forget to revise them. Use the notes you take in class as rough drafts, and rewrite them when you get home. If you have any doubts or questions, don't be afraid to ask your teacher. Finish all your homework. Homework is an easy way to keep your grade up. It generally covers material you've already learned, so if you pay attention, it should be pretty easy. Don't forget to study. Next to homework, it's the most important thing you can do out of class. Make sure you devote enough time to each subject that you can have a good grasp on what you're learning. Extra credit isn't as bad as you might think.It's just a bit more work for a boost in your grade. After all, it's not like your grade can go down after doing it, right? Don't ditch. You can't get 100% if you don't show up and don't do the work. If you absolutely have to miss class, bring in a note so you get excused from the absence. Once you have an A, keep studying and doing your assignments. Repetition is key.
Don't wait until the last moment to finish an assignment! The quality of the assignment will go down if you are rushing it. Likewise, don't procrastinate while telling yourself that you'll "do it later". Start now, and take as much time as you need. Study, using flash cards or outlines. Study a week before a test, not at the last minute. Finish homework early so you aren't stressed out. Return any library books before due date. Try to avoid getting in trouble. Don't skip and be tardy to class as little as possible. Stay healthy. Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Also, drink lots of water. If you are having trouble with the class material, ask the professor or teaching assistant for clarification of difficult concepts. This seems like a no brainer, but many students feel embarrassed and never get the help they need. This simple tip will save you precious study time, and show the professor how determined you are in doing well in her/his course.
Things You'll Need
Pencil Note Book A Binder for each subject Teacher Laptop/Computer
How to Maintain a High GPA in College
College can be tough. But you want to have impressive grades so you can get a good job or go to graduate school. Here is how to maintain a 4.0 in college. Steps
4. 5. 6.
You have to want it. This is the most important step. If a 4.0 is your number one priority, you will get it. This means you will be ready to make sacrifices like going out with friends, keeping up with your favorite tv shows, and sometimes sleep. Always show up for class. If attendance is part of the grade always show up. You should attend class regularly regardless if attendance is required. Remember that studying is similar to working out--it's done best in shorter periods regularly. This means study consistently (it may be daily) and don't crash study. Learning to study for long periods of time is an important skill as well. It may be hard or impossible at first, but it can be mastered. Make college your priority. Only go out when you don't have work to do, which will most likely be never. Get organized-make sure that you know when tests are and exactly what you have to study. Having a full-time job may keep you on track and make sure NO time is wasted. However, if you are at a point where you are not sleeping regularly, a job may be a good thing to cut out. I recommend finding a job where you can study like university library or secretary position. Take a full course load but level it out. Take a hard class or two with two easy classes. Don't take chemistry, calculus, zoology and trig all in the same semester. Be careful of the tricky 1 or 2 credit courses. They can be very time consuming, even more so than a 3 or 4 credit class. Sometimes, you will have to take a full course (generally after higher level major classes have started and gen eds have ended), and a study schedule becomes critical. And lastly remember why you are in college. You are there to learn so don't moan about going to class -- see it as an opportunity to improve yourself. Take pride in your commitment to your studies. However, do not neglect the fact that you will become depressed and have no friends if all you ever do is study. Staying sane is half the battle, and having friends should remain a priority.
Join a study group. Pay attention in class. Keep an eye on your grades. Make sure your professors stick with the grading terms they gave on the syllabus. Contact the appropriate authorities if they don't follow the terms they set. However, if it is not the end of the year do not alienate your professor. Utilize the school library. Study rooms will isolate you from the world's distractions and allow you to better focus on your assignments. One hour of work completed in the library is the equivalent of three hours in the dorm room. Do not neglect physical appearance, working out, hobbies, or friends. Who cares if you have a 4.0 if you have nothing else. Learn to work with perfectionism. See a counselor if you find yourself becoming depressed. Pick a major that plays to your strengths. For example, I am a chemistry major because chemistry makes the most sense to me. I work a lot less hard and am more successful than some of my cohorts who chose the major for different reasons.
Don't overwork. If you are stressed it will make it more difficult to study. DO NOT pull an all nighter. Know that you will be able to critically think better and be more productive the day of if you sleep.
How to Do Well in College
College life can become a great struggle because students have to balance school, a social life, and sometimes a job as well. The following steps could help the grades of college students. Steps
Go to class. Even when you don't feel like it. Just go. You might get participation points, and the professor will also get to know you better. It will keep you in the flow of the class, and prepare you for anything that might come along. Many classes have in class assignments, pop quizzes, and case studies that only could be taken in class, if you are not there, you might lose points. Stay organized. College is all about multitasking. Planners can really help you to balance homework, due dates and tests. You should try to get your work done early, then you will have less stress. Some colleges have an online learning tool to help you keep track of assignments and the like. Be business-like about your education. If you had a job you would have to go to your job at 9 AM and stay there until 5PM. The rest of the day would be your own time. If you did the same thing in college, you would do great. Go to class, go to the library, study seriously, at 5pm put away the books and go home. Once in a while you might have to work late, just like at a real job, but in general if you were spending 40 hours a week attending to school you would be a Dean's List student. Act like a professional, adult person. Find your own best method of studying. For example, study at a desk . When taking tests, take your time into consideration so that you can complete the test to the best of your ability. Balance work, school and social life. Many students start to mess up in college because they want to hang out with their friends every minute. There will always be time for partying in college. Pull yourself away from partying so that you can take care of business. Use your time effectively and efficiently. Do not procrastinate on assignments. Try to make progress every day on what is assigned. For example, if you have a report due in 6 weeks, do not wait until 3 days before it's due to begin working on it. Instead, work on it every day for 30 to 60 minutes. Once you get into it, it will actually be enjoyable seeing the progress unfold versus being stressed out and worried about an important assignment that has been put off and whose due date continuously gets closer and closer Be sure to take care of your health. Ancient Greeks said "Νους υγιής εν σωματι υγιεί" which means "a healthy mind in a healthy body". Join a sports team or exercise, don't overdo the junk food, and try to get as much sleep as possible. Not only will you feel better, you'll be able to think and learn better too. Maintain 100% effort through semester. Some students start better than they finish. They do that in order to give themselves room to slack near the end of the semester, which can be a costly mistake. Push yourself to do your best on every assignment given out and make sure to check your syllabus to see which assignments are due when. Stay on top of your game and don't lose focus. Always try to keep a positive attitude and have confidence.
Take notes about important lectures. Seek out and take advantage of student support services such as tutoring, counseling, scholarships and services for students with disabilities. Don't wait to ask for help. You are paying for these services. Use them! Consider studying in places that are agreeable and productive for you. For example, consider studying every day in fast food restaurants after eating lunch. Take notes and quickly review them from time to time. Try to pick out from your notes what you obviously do not know or what you are unfamiliar with. What took an hour to take notes on may only take 5 to 10 minutes to review. When coming up on an exam, objectively evaluate what your weaknesses are and try to quickly get better in those areas that may be on the exam.
If you miss a class because you were ill or for some other reason, ask the teacher what material you missed and study it.
Even if you only miss one day of your classes, you fall behind. So, try to show up to every class.
How to Get a 4.0 at College and Keep It
Achieving a 4.0 is no easy feat and it will take hard work and dedication, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort, come graduation time you will have many more options in graduate school and employment. Instructions Things You'll Need:
Hard work Dedication Good Study Habits
Step 1 Keep your school work your number one priority!! -Even if you have a part time job or are involved in extracurricular activities make sure to never leave your studies on the back burner. *If you think you can still get a 4.0 while partying every weekend then try, but when you end up with a 2.0 don't come crying to me. Step 2 Pick your schedule and teachers wisely -There are many resources out there where you can look up your professors like Ratemyprofessors.com . Before you take any class in college make sure you know what you're up for *It's ok to take more then 18 credits if you think you can handle it, but I highly suggest starting out your first semester easy with a low number of credit hours and then working your way up. Step 3 Relax...... Always remember that success in college is determined by a lot more than just grades. Get involved, network and lead.
How to Get a 4.0
Instructions Things You'll Need:
Effort Persistence Textbook Teacher
Step 1 A 4.0 may seem unattainable, getting over this perception is the first step to success. Realize that it can be done, it has been done, and you can do it. Step 2 Realize success is not only attained by receiving an A+. You may strive for a perfect grade, and fall short. It is important to understand that the goal should be to do YOUR best, and try YOUR hardest. Step 3 Take a different perspective- It may be necessary to take a more intrinsic view. Thinking of grades as rewards and incentives may not be ideal. It can be beneficial to strive for knowledge. Think of the act of "learning" and acquiring new skills and knowledge as a reward within itself. In doing this you may find that the good grades will come as result. Step 4 Work hard- Hard work is a necessity in order to be successful at anything, school is no different. Set specific times during the week for studying. As a result studying will become a habit and will no longer seem like as much of a chore. Step 5 Get help- Try not to think of good grades as something that must be attained on your own. There are many resources that can be used to accomplish your goals. Study groups are a good idea, they allow for teaching as well as learning- as the saying goes- the best way to master something is to teach it to someone else. Get a tutor- there is no shame in asking for help, and there are people who love to have the opportunity to help someone. Talk to your teacher- ask them for help or clarifications, it is their job to help you and most of the time they will be your best resource. Step 6 ENJOY- enjoy your knowledge, spread it and absorb it.
How to Get A 4.0 In College
Balancing work, college, and keeping a house running can make keeping your grades high extremely difficult, but believe me, it's possible, I've done it! While it takes is a lot of self discipline, and a little bit of sacrifice, it will be worth it come graduation. Instructions Step 1 Think about how much time you lose sitting around watching TV or surfing the web. Think of how much your grades would improve if you devoted that time to your studies! Take some time off from the tube, and devote a little more of it to what you need to be doing. Step 2 Stop procrastinating. Stay up with the assigned reading for your classes. Begin research and planning for your papers a significant amount of time before the due date so that you don't find yourself rushing around at the last minute and making simple mistakes that will lower your grade (and ultimately your GPA). Step 3 Go to class, and pay attention while you're there. Hearing the information and a thorough explanation of it from your professor will not only help you remember it, but also give you some idea of what your professor will be looking for on the exam. Skipping class all semester then showing up only the week before the exam is going to significantly hurt your grade, and plus if your professor sees you always in class and participating they are more likely to give you a little extra credit where need be. Step 4 Make flash cards before the exam and have someone else go through them with you. This is very helpful in remembering the information. Step 5 Take thorough notes. Even if you're in class every day its not likely you will remember everything that was said. With good notes you can look back and answer most of the questions you have yourself. In addition, taking good notes which will occupy your hands will keep you from daydreaming and force your mind to listen to and process what the professor is telling you. Step 6 Get enough sleep. Everyone's needs are different but you know how much you need in order to feel and function your best. If you're nodding off in class then you're obviously not paying attention, and getting little more benefit out of being there then you would have had you not gone at all. Step 7 Take advantage of all extra credit opportunities. Never pass extra credit by just because you don't "think" you need it at the time. This will give you some cushion to fall back on in case you have a future test or essay grade that doesn't come back so hot.
Step 8 Take advantage of study groups if studying with other people helps you learn. Only you know what ways help you memorize the material the fastest, so once you've figured them out stick with them!
Best Way to Study for a Final
With the end of the semester year coming up, you’re going to have those lovely final exams. Yes, those exams that are going to be worth more than 20% of your grade. This is the true test on if you know what you’re doing or not. Fail this exam and you most likely may fail the class or receive a very poor grade. Now, what is the best way to study for a final? There are many tips and strategies that you can use. Let’s take a look at a few ways that can make it easier for you to study. Get with a study group: Gather some of your friends in your class and ask them if they would like to study with you. The earlier you start, the better it is going to be. Never ever wait until the last minute when it comes to studying for your final exam. Take a hour a day: Write notes, make flashcards and make yourself study at least one hour a day. It may sound like a lot but it adds up so fast and what you study may most likely absorb in your brain and it will make it a lot easier when it comes down to taking a test. Get your sleep: Sleep is one of the best things you can do before a test. Make sure that you get at least 8 hours and try to keep things light the night before. Don’t party, drink or whatever you may do on a typical college night. Eat some breakfast: Eating in the morning will jump start your brain and make you feel refreshed. If you come into class with no food in your stomach and no sleep, you’re going to find yourself struggling with the exam. Go over old tests: Look at old tests and find out how your professor is going to give one. Professors tend to keep the same format when it comes to testing. Go over older answers and questions because these same questions could be on your final. Don’t cram too much: This goes with a point above, you don’t want to do too much and this is why it’s important to start early. A doctor doesn’t become a doctor in one hour. Instead, it gradually takes time. The same goes with a test. Take your time, study slow and results shall come. Create unique ways to remember: When it comes down to remembering harder parts of a chapter, use unique ways to remember. Associate things with answers to make it easier on your mind. When I was in Elementary school, I was able to use the term “my very educated mother just served us nine pizzas”. Each letter at the beginning referenced the planets. Obviously, when it comes to a final, studying takes you a long way. It’s never to early to study and it’s never bad if you want to hang out and study. Being smart is a good thing and that’s the main reason you’re in school. Try some of the tips above and see how they work out for you.
ANSWERING AN ESSAY TEST
Essay tests can have on them the following types of questions: short or long answers, fill in the blank, and sentence completion. Use the following suggestions to help you with essay-type tests: 1. Make a brief survey of the entire test. Read every question and the directions. Plan to answer the least difficult questions first, saving the most difficult for last.\ 2. Set a time schedule and periodically check your progress (to maintain proper speed). With six questions to answer in 60 minutes you should allow a maximum of 10 minutes per questions. If your 10 minutes passes and you have not finished the question, continue to the next one and come back to the other one later. Do not sacrifice any question for another. 3. Read the question carefully. Underline key words: e.g., list, compare, WWII, political and social, art or music, etc. As you read, jot down the points that occur to you beside that question. 4. Organize a brief outline of the main ideas you want to present. Place a check mark alongside each major idea and number them in order of presentation in your answer. Do not spend too much time on the outline. 5. When you answer, always rephrase the question. Example: Explain Pavlov's theory of conditioning. Answer: Pavlov's theory of conditioning is based on... The remainder of the answer is devoted to support by giving dates, examples, stating relationships, causes, effects and research 6. Present material that reflects the grader's personal or professional biases. Further, stick to the material covered in the reading or lecture, and answer the question within the frame of reference. 7. If you do not understand what the instructor is looking for, write down how you interpreted the question and answer it. 8. If time does not permit a complete answer, use an outline form. 9. Write something for every question. When you "go blank," start writing all the ideas you remember from your studying - one of them is bound to be close! 10. In sentence-completion items, remember never to leave a space blank. When in doubt - GUESS. Make use of grammar to help decide the correct answer. Make the completed statement logically consistent. 11. If you have some time remaining, read over your answer. You can frequently add other ideas which may come to mind. You can at least correct misspelled words or insert words to complete an idea. 12. Sometimes, before you even read the questions, you might write some facts and formulas you have memorized on the back of the test.
ANSWERING AN ESSAY TEST WITH SEVERAL QUESTIONS
1. Do a memory data dump. 2. Read all the test questions and underline the important words. 3. As you read each question, write down key words relating to the answer that immediately comes into your mind. 4. Develop a test progress schedule. 5. Answer the easiest questions first. 6. Expand the key word outline begun in Step 3. 7. Organize the outline. 8. Write the answer. 9. Go to next easiest question and proceed to Step 6. 10. Review all test questions.
KEY WORDS ON ESSAY TESTS
COMPARE - Look for similarities and differences between the things mentioned. CONTRAST - Stress the dissimilarities. DEFINE - Give a brief and accurate definition of the item. DESCRIBE - Tell the primary characteristics of a situation or retell the important elements of a story. DISCUSS - Be analytical. Give reasons, pro and con. EVALUATE - Give both the positive and negative sides of the issue or topic. EXPLAIN - Give the reasons or causes for being as it is. ILLUSTRATE - Use examples. If appropriate, draw a diagram. JUSTIFY - Give your reasons for the conclusions you have reached. LIST - Give an itemized list; number the items. PROVE - Give factual evidence, including logical or mathematical proof as appropriate. REVIEW - Give a summary and comment on important aspects of the question. SUMMARIZE - Give a summary without comment or criticism. TRACE - Describe the progress or causes of some historical happening.
The 10 Steps to Better Test Taking
Once you begin a test, follow the 10 steps to better test taking below: Step 1 - Use a memory data dump. Upon receiving your test, turn it over and write down the information that you put on your mental cheat sheet. Your mental cheat sheet has now turned into a mental list and writing down this information is not cheating. Do not put your name on it, do not skim it, just turn it over and write down those facts, figures and formulas from your mental cheat sheet or other information you might not remember during the test. This is called your first memory data dump. The data dump provides memory cues for test questions. Example: It might take you a while to remember how to do a coin- word problem. However, if you had immediately turn your test over and written down different ways of solving coin-word problems it would be easier to solve the coin-word problem. Step 2 - Preview the test. Put your name on the test and start previewing. Previewing the test requires you to look through the entire test to find different types of problems and their point values. Put a mark by the questions that you can do without thinking. These are the questions that you will solve first. Step 3 - Do a second memory data dump. The secondary data dump is for writing down material that was jarred from your memory while previewing the test. Write this information on the back of the test. Step 4 - Develop a test progress schedule. When you begin setting up a test schedule, determine the point value for each question. You might have some test questions that are worth more points than others. In some tests, word problems are worth five points and other questions might be worth two or three points. You must decide the best way to get the most points in the least amount of time. This might mean working the questions worth two to three points first and leaving the more difficult word problems for last. Decide how many problems should be completed half- way though the test. You should have more than half the problems completed by that time. Step 5 - Answer the easiest problems first Solve, in order, the problems you marked while previewing the test. Then, review the answers to see if they make sense. Start working through the test as fast as you can while being accurate. Answers should be reasonable. Example: The answer to a . problem of ' to find the area of a rectangle e cannot be negative, and the try answer to a land-rate-distance problem cannot be 1,000 miles per hour. Clearly write down each step to get partial credit, even if you end up missing the problem. In most math tests, the easier problems are near the beginning of the first page; you need to answer them efficiently and quickly. This will give you both more time for the harder problems and time to review. Step 6 - Skip difficult problems. If you find a problem that you do not know how to work, read it twice and automatically skip it. Reading it twice will help you understand the problem and put it into your working memory. While you are solving other problems, your mind is still working on that problem. Difficult problems could be the type of problem you have never seen before or a problem in which you get stuck on the second or third step. In either case, skip the problem and go on to the next one. Step 7 - Review the skipped problems. When working the skipped problems, think how you have solved other, similar problems as a cue to solving the skipped ones. Also, try to remember how the instructor solved that type of problem on the board.
While reviewing skipped problems, or at any other time, you may have the "Ah, ha!" response. The "Ah, ha!" response is your remembering how to do a skipped problem. Do not wait to finish your current problem. Go to the problem on which you had the "Ah ha" and finish that problem. If you wait to finish your current problem, your "Ah, ha!" response could turn into an "Oh, no!" response. Step 8 - Guess at the remaining problems Do as much work as you can on each problem, even if it is just writing down the first step. If you cannot write down the first step, rewrite the problem. Sometimes rewriting the problem can jar your memory enough to do the first step or the entire problem. If you leave the problem blank, you will get a zero. Do not waste too much time on guessing or trying to work the problems you cannot do. Step 9 - Review the test. Look for careless errors or other errors you may have made. Students usually lose two to five test points on errors that could have been caught in review. Do not talk yourself out of an answer just because it may not look right. This often happens when an answer does not come out even. It is possible for the answer to be a fraction or decimal. Remember: Answers in math do not have "dress codes." Research reveals that the odds of changing a right answer to a wrong answer are greater than the odds of changing a wrong answer to a right one. Step 10 - Use all the allowed test time. Review each problem by substituting the answer back into the equation or doing the opposite function required to answer the question. If you cannot check the problem by the two ways mentioned, rework the problem on a separate sheet of paper and compare the answers. Do not leave the test room unless you have reviewed each problem two times or until the bell rings. Remember: There is no prize for handing your test in first, and students who turn their papers in last do make "A's." Stapling your scratch paper to the math test when handing it in has several advantages:
If you miscopied the answer from the scratch paper, you will probably get credit for the answers. If you get the answer incorrect due to a careless error, your work on the scratch paper could give you a few points. If you do get the problem wrong, it will be easier to locate errors when the instructor reviews the test. This will prevent from making the same mistakes on the next math test.
Remember: Handing in your scratch paper may get you extra points or improve your next test score.
Taking an Objective Test
Objective tests include those with multiple-choice, true/false or matching questions. Use the following suggestions to help you take an objective test: 1. Before you start taking the test, preview the entire test - Survey to find how many questions there are and of what type. Set a time limit so that you will have at least five minutes at the end to recheck your test. 2. Read the directions, carefully, making sure you understand exactly what is expected. 3. Find out if you are penalized for guessing. If not, always guess and do not leave any unanswered questions. 4. Carefully read each question; underline key words. 5. Anticipate the answer and look for it. Read all the alternatives before answering. 6. Do not read into questions what is not there. 7. When your anticipated answer is not one of the options, discard it and systematically concentrate on the given ones. 8. When two or more options look correct, compare them with each other. Study them to find what makes them different. Choose the more encompassing option unless the question requires a specific answer. 9. Pass over the difficult or debatable questions on your first reading and come back to them after completing those about which you were sure. 10. Use information from other questions. 11. In all questions, especially the true-false type, look for specific determiners. Words such as "rarely," "usually," "sometimes," and "seldom" allow for exceptions; "never," "always," "no," and "all" indicate no exceptions. 12. Mark statements true only if they are true without exception. If any part of the statement is false, the whole statement is marked as such. 13. Stay in one column of a matching test. Usually it will be the column with the definition. Work backward to find the word or symbol that matches it. Be sure to find out if the answers can be used more than once. 14. If you know you made an error, change your first answer. If it is just a guess, keep your first impression.
How to Reduce Test Anxiety
To reduce math test anxiety, you need to understand both the relaxation response and how negative self-talk undermines your abilities. Relaxation Techniques The relaxation response is any technique or procedure that helps you to become relaxed and will take the place of an anxiety response. Someone simply telling you to relax or even telling yourself to relax, however, without proper training, does little to reduce your test anxiety. There are both short-term and long-term relaxation response techniques which help control emotional (somatic) math test anxiety. These techniques will also help reduce worry (cognitive) anxiety. Effective short-term techniques include The Tensing and Differential Relaxation Method and The Palming Method. Short Term Relaxation Techniques The Tensing and Differential Relaxation Method The Tensing and Differential Relaxation Method helps you relax by tensing and relaxing your muscles all at once. Follow these procedures while you are sitting at your desk before taking a test: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Put your feet flat on the floor. With your hands, grab underneath the chair. Push down with your feet and pull up on your chair at the same time for about five seconds. Relax for five to 10 seconds. Repeat the procedure two to three times. Relax all your muscles except the ones that are actually used to take the test.
The Palming Method The palming method is a visualization procedure used to reduce test anxiety. While you are at your desk before or during a test, follow these procedures: 1. Close and cover your eyes using the center of the palms of your hands. 2. Prevent your hands from touching your eyes by resting the lower parts of your palms on your cheekbones and placing your fingers on your forehead. Your eyeballs must not be touched, rubbed or handled in any way. 3. Think of some real or imaginary relaxing scene. Mentally visualize this scene. Picture the scene as if you were actually there, looking through your own eyes. 4. Visualize this relaxing scene for one to two minutes. Practice visualizing this scene several days before taking a test and the effectiveness of this relaxation procedure will improve. Side One of the audio cassette, How to Reduce Test Anxiety (Molting, 1986), further explains test anxiety and discusses these and other short-term relaxation response techniques. Short-term relaxation techniques can be learned quickly but are not as successful as the long-term relaxation technique. Short term techniques are intended to be used while learning the long-term technique.
Long Term Relaxation Techniques The Cue-Controlled Relaxation Response Technique is the best long-term relaxation technique. It is presented on Side Two of the audio cassette, How To Reduce Test Anxiety (Molting, 1986). Cue-controlled relaxation means you can induce your own relaxation based on repeating certain cue words to yourself. In essence, you are taught to relax and then silently repeat cue words, such as "I am relaxed." After enough practice, you can relax during math tests. The Cue-Controlled Relaxation Technique has worked with thousands of students. For a better understanding of test anxiety and how to reduce it, listen to How to Reduce Test Anxiety (Nolting, 1986). Negative Self-Talk Negative self-talk is a form of worry (cognitive) anxiety. This type of worrying can interfere with your test preparation and can keep you from concentrating on the test. Worrying can motivate you to study, but too much worrying may prevent you from studying at all. Negative self-talk is defined as the negative statements you tell yourself before and during tests. Negative self-talk causes students to lose confidence and to give up on tests. Further, it can give you an inappropriate excuse for failing math and cause you to give up on learning math. Students need to change their negative self-talk to positive self- talk without making unrealistic statements. Positive self-statements can improve your studying and test preparation. During tests, positive self-talk can build confidence and decrease your test anxiety. These positive statements; as well as others, can help reduce your test anxiety and improve your grades. Some more examples of positive self statements are on the cassette tape How to Reduce Test Anxiety (Molting, 1986). Before the test, make up some positive statements to tell yourself. The 12 Myths About Test Anxiety 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Students are born with test anxiety. Test anxiety is a mental illness. Test anxiety cannot be reduced. Any level of test anxiety is bad. All students who are not prepared have test anxiety. Students with test anxiety cannot learn math. Students who are well prepared will not have test anxiety. Very intelligent students and students taking high-level courses, such as calculus, do not have test anxiety. Attending class and doing my homework should reduce all my test anxiety. Being told to relax during a test will make you relaxed. Doing nothing about test anxiety will make it go away. Reducing test anxiety will guarantee better grades.
Studying for Exams
What to know before you start to study: 1. What type of test is it? a. Objective - multiple choice, true/false, matching or a combination. b. Essay - short or long answer, or sentence completion. c. Problem solving. d. Combination of the above. 2. What material is to be covered? 3. How many questions (approximately)? 4. What is the time limit? If the information above is not given by the instructor when he/she announces the test, ASK. This information is valuable to the way you study. Also, ask the instructor for old exams you can use for your review. Studying 1. Be sure you have read all the material to be covered and all the lecture notes before you begin your serious studying. 2. Plan what you will study and when you will study it. 3. Each review session should be limited to one hour. Take breaks of five to 10 minutes between hourly sessions. 4. Try to predict exam questions. If it will be essay, try to answer your predicted questions. 5. Study in a group only if everyone has read the material. You do not gain much when you must "tutor" someone else or if other students are not prepared. 6. Prepare summary sheets to study and eliminate rereading the textbook. 7. Review for objective tests by concentrating on detail and memorizing facts, such as names, dates, formulas and definitions (know a little bit about a lot). 8. Review for essay tests by concentrating on concepts, principles, theories and relationships (know a lot about a little bit). 9. For problem-solving tests, work examples of each type of problem. Work them from memory until you get stuck. Study your guide problem and begin working it again from memory, from the beginning. Do this until you can work the entire problem without referring to your notes. 10. On the day of the test, do not learn any new materials. It can interfere with the knowledge you have already learned. 11. Try not to discuss the test with other students while you are waiting to begin. If you have studied, you do not need to be flustered by others making confusing remarks. 12. Try to consciously make yourself relax before the test begins. 13. After the test is over, forget it! Do not discuss it and do not look for answers you might have missed. Concentrate on your next exam. 14. Keep in good physical condition by not ignoring food and/or sleep requirements.
The 6 Types of Test-Taking Errors:
1. Misread direction errors - these errors occur when you skip directions or misunderstand directions but answer the question or do the problem anyway. To avoid this type of error, read all the directions. 2. Careless errors - mistakes made which can be caught automatically upon reviewing the test. To avoid type of error, watch for simple mistakes carefully as you review the test. 3. Concept errors - mistakes made when you do not understand the properties or principles required to work the problem. To avoid this type of error in the; future, you must go back to your textbook or notes and learn why you missed the problems. 4. Application errors - mistakes that you make when you know this concept but cannot apply it to the problem. To reduce this type of error, you must, learn to predict the type of application problems that will be on the test. 5. Test Procedure errors - mistakes that you make because of the specific way you take tests, such as: a. Missing more questions in the 1st-third, 2nd-third or last third of a test. If you find that you miss more questions in a certain part of the test consistently, use your remaining test time to review that part of the test first. b. Not completing a problem to its last step. To avoid this mistake, review the last step of a test problem first, before doing an in-depth test review. c. Changing test answers from the correct ones to incorrect ones. If you are a bad answer changer, then write on your test "Don't change answers." Only change answers if you can prove to yourself or to the instructor that the changed answer is correct. d. Getting stuck on one problem and spending too much time. Set a time limit for each problem before moving to the next problem. e. Rushing through the easiest part of the test and making careless errors. If you do this often, after finishing the test review the easy problems first, then review the harder problems. f. Miscopying an answer from your scratch work to the test. To avoid this, systematically compare your last problem step on scratch paper with the answer on the test. g. Leaving answers blank Write down some information or try at least to do the first step. h. Not following the ten steps to better test-taking. Deviating from these proven then steps will cost you points! 6. Study errors - mistakes that occur when you study the wrong type of material or do not spend enough time studying pertinent material. To avoid these. errors m the future, take dome time to track down -why the errors occurred so that you can study more effectively the next time.
When to Take Notes
To become a better note-taker you must know when to take notes and when not to take notes. The instructor will give cues that indicate what material is important Some such cues include:
presenting usual facts or ideas writing on the board • summarizing pausing repeating statements enumerating; such as, "1, 2, 3" or "A, B, C" working several examples of the same type of problem on the black- board saying, "This is a tricky problem. Most students will miss it." For example, 510 is "undefined" instead of "zero." saying, "This is the most difficult step in the problem." indicating that certain types of problems will be on the test, such as coin- or age-word problems explaining bold-print words
You must learn the cues your instructor gives indicating important material. If you are in doubt about the importance of the class material, do not hesitate to ask the instructor about its importance. While taking notes, you may become confused about math material. At that point, take as many notes as possible, and do not give up on note-taking. As you take notes on confusing problem steps, skip lines; then go back and fill in information that clarifies your misunderstanding of the steps in question. Ask your tutor or instructor for help with the uncompleted problem steps, and write down the reasons for each step in the space provided. Another procedure to save time while taking notes is to stop writing complete sentences. Write your main thoughts in phrases. Phrases are easier to jot down and easier to memorize.
E.G. CF. N.B. \ Ñ Ì > < = ¹ () for example compare, remember in context note well, this is important therefore because implies, it follows from this greater than less than equals, is the same does not equal, is not the same D REF et al bk P etc. V VS SC SQ shows disagreement with statement or passage reference and others book page and so forth see see above namely the following Commutative
parentheses in the margin, around a sentence or group of sentences indicates an important Comm. idea used to indicate that you do not understand the material a circle around a word may indicate that you are not familiar with it; look it up Dis. A.P.A.
? 0 E 1, 2, 3
Distributive Associative Property of Addition Additive Inverse Identity Property of Multiplication
marks important materials likely to be used in A.I. an exam to indicate a series of facts I.P.M.
How to Do Your Homework
Doing your homework can be frustrating or rewarding. Most students jump right into their homework, become frustrated and stop studying. These students usually go directly to the math problems and start working them without any preparation. When they get stuck on one problem, they flip to the back of the text for the answer. Then, they either try to work the problem backward, to understand the problem steps, or they just copy down the answer. Other students go to the solution guide and just copy the steps. After getting stuck several times, these students will inevitably quit doing their homework assignment. Their homework becomes a frustrating experience, and they may even quit doing their math homework altogether. To improve your homework success and learning, refer to the following 10 steps. 10 Steps to Doing Your Homework Step 1 - Review the textbook material that relates to the homework A proper review will increase the chances of successfully completing your homework. If you get stuck on a problem, you will have a better chance of remembering the location of similar problems. If you do not review prior to doing your homework, you could get stuck and not know where to find help in the textbook. Remember: To be successful in learning the material and in completing homework assignments, you must first review your textbook. Step 2 - Review your lecture notes that relate to the homework. If you could not understand the explanation of the textbook on how to complete the homework assignment, then review your notes. Remember: Reviewing your notes will give you a better idea about how to complete your homework assignment. Step 3 - Do your homework as neatly as possible. Doing your homework neatly has several benefits. When approaching your instructor about problems with your homework, he or she will be able to understand your previous attempts to solve the problem. The instructor will easily locate the mistakes and show you how to correct the steps without having to decipher your handwriting. Another benefit is that, when you review for midterm or final exams, you can quickly relearn the homework material without having to decipher your own writing. Remember: Neatly prepared homework can help you now and in the future. Step 4 - When doing your homework, write down every step of the problem. Even if you can do the step in your head, write it down anyway. This will increase the amount of homework time, but you are over learning how to solve problems, which improves your memory. Doing every step is an easy way to memorize and understand the material. Another advantage is that when you rework the problems you did wrong, it is easy to review each step to find the mistake. Remember: In the long run, doing every step of the homework will save you time and frustration. Step 5 - Understand the reasons for each problem step and check your answers. Do not get into the bad habit of memorizing how to do problems without knowing the reasons for each step. Many students are smart enough to memorize procedures required to complete a set of homework problems. However, when similar homework problems are presented on a test, the student cannot solve the problems. To avoid this dilemma, keep reminding yourself about the rules, laws, or properties used to solve problems.
Example: Problem: 2(a + 5) = 0. What property allows you to change the equation to 2a + 10 = 0? Answer: The distributive property. Once you know the correct reason for going from one step to another in solving a math problem, you can answer any problem requiring that property. Students who simply memorize how to do problems instead of understanding the reasons for correctly working the steps will eventually fail their math course. How to Check Your Answers Checking your homework answers should be part of your homework duties. Checking your answers can improve your learning and help you prepare for tests. Check the answers of the problems for which you do not have the solutions. This may be the even-numbered or oddnumbered problems or the problems not answered in the solutions manual. First, check your answer by estimating the correct answer. Example: If you are multiplying 2.234 by 5.102 the answer should by a little over 10. Remember that 2 times 5 is 10. You can also check your answers by substituting the answer back into the equation or doing the opposite function required to answer the question. The more answers you check, the faster you will become. This is very important because increasing your answer checking speed can help you catch more careless errors on future tests. Step 6 - If you do not understand how to do a problem refer to the following points. Point 1- Review the textbook material that relates to the problem. Point 2 - Review the lecture notes that relate to the problem. Point 3 - Review any similar problems, diagrams, examples or rules that explain the misunderstood material. Point 4 - Refer to another math textbook, solutions guide, math computer program software or video tape to obtain a better understanding of the material. Point 5 - Call your study buddy Point 6 - Skip the problem and contact your tutor or math instructor as soon as possible for help. Step 7 - Always finish your homework by successfully completing problems. Even if you get stuck, go back and successfully complete previous problems before quitting. You want to end your homework assignment with feelings of success. Step 8 - After finishing your homework assignment, recall to yourself or write down the most important learned concepts. Recalling this information will increase your ability to learn these new concepts. Step 9 - Make up note cards containing hard-to-remember problems or concepts. Note cards are an excellent way to review material for a test. Step 10 - Getting behind in math homework is academic suicide. Math is a sequential learning process. If you get behind, it is difficult to catch up because each topic builds on the next. It would be like going to Spanish class without learning the last set of vocabulary words. The teacher would be talking to you using the new vocabulary, but you would not understand what was being said.
10 Steps to Improving Your Study Skills
Improving your study skills can be the great educational equalizer. Effective studying is the one element guaranteed to produce good grades in school. But it is ironic that students are almost never taught how to study - effectively - in school. Example: An important part of studying is note-taking, yet few students receive any instruction in this skill. At best, you are told simply, "You had better take notes," but not given any advice on what to record or how to use the material as a learning tool. Fortunately, reliable data on how to study does exist. It has been scientifically demonstrated that one method of note-taking is better than another and that there are routes to more effective reviewing, memorizing and textbook reading as well. The following are 10 proven steps you can take to improve your study habits. I guarantee that if you really use them, your grades will improve. 1. Behavior modification can work for you. Use the association learning concept. Attempt, as nearly as possible, to study the same subject at the same time in the same place each day. You will find that, after a very short while, when you get to that time and place, you are automatically in the subject "groove." Train your brain to think math on a time-place cue, and it will no longer take you 10 minutes a day to get in the math mood. Not only will you save the time and emotional energy you once needed to psych yourself up to do math, or whatever else, it will also help you remember more of what you are studying. After studying, reinforce yourself by doing something want to do (watch television, go to a party). Experts know that positive reinforcement of a behavior (such as studying) will increase its frequency and duration. 2. Do not study more than an hour at a time without taking a break. In fact, if you are doing straight memorization, do not spend more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Here is the rationale behind taking such small bites out of study time. First, when you are under an imposed time restriction, you use the time more efficiently. Have you noticed how much studying you manage to cram into the day before big exams? That is why it is called "cramming." Second, psychologists say that you learn best in short takes. In fact, studies have shown that as much is learned in four one- hour sessions distributed over four days as in one marathon six- hour session during one day. That is because, between study times, while you are sleeping or eating or reading a novel, your mind subconsciously works on absorbing what you have learned. So it counts as study time, too. Keep in mind when you are memorizing, whether it is math formulas or a foreign language or names and dates, that you are doing much more real learning more quickly than when you are reading a social studies text or an English essay. The specialists say you will get your most effective studying done if you take a 10-minute break every hour. In fact, some good students study 45 minutes to an hour, and they take a five- to 10-minute break. The break is considered your reward and improves your learning over the next hour.
Dr. Walter Pauk, former Director of the Reading and Study Center at Cornell University, suggests you take that short break whenever you feel you need one. That way, you will not waste your time away by clock-watching and anticipating your break. Another technique for keeping your mind from wandering while studying is to begin with your hardest or least favorite subject and work toward the easiest and/or the one you like best. Thus, your reward for studying the least favorite or hardest is studying the subject you like best. Try it; it works. 3. Separate the study of subjects that are alike. Brain waves are like radio waves. If there is not enough space between input, you get interference. The more similar the kinds of learning taking place, the more interference. So, separate your study periods for courses with similar subject matter. Follow your studying of math with an hour of Spanish or history, not chemistry or statistics. 4. Do not study when you are tired. Psychologists have found that everyone has a certain time of day when he or she gets sleepy. Do not try to study during that time (but do not go to sleep either - it hardly ever refreshes). Instead, schedule some physical activity for that period, such as recreation. If you have a stack of schoolwork, use that time to sort your notes or clear up your desk and get your books together or study with a friend. 5. Prepare for your class at the best time. If it is a lecture course, do your studying soon after class; if it is a course in which students are called on to recite or answer questions, study before class. After the lecture, you can review and organize your notes. Before the recitation classes, you can spend your time memorizing, brushing up on your facts and preparing questions about the previous recitation. Question-posing is a good technique for helping the material sink in and for pinpointing areas in which you need more work. 6. Use the best note-taking system for you. Quite a bit of research has been done on note-taking, and one system has emerged as the best. Use 81/2-by-11-inch loose-leaf paper and write on just one side. (This may seem wasteful, but it is one time when economizing is secondary.) Take the time to rule your page as follows: a. If the course is one in which lecture and text are closely related, use the 2-3-3-2 technique: Make columns of two inches down the left-hand side for recall clues, three inches in the middle for lecture notes and three inches on the right side for text notes. Leave a two-inch space across the bottom of the page for your own observations and conclusions. See Figure 20 (Three-Column Note-Taking System). b. If it is a course where the lectures and the reading are not closely related, use separate pages for class notes and reading notes, following the 2-5-1 technique: Two inches at left for recall clues, five in the middle for lecture notes and an inch at the right for observations and conclusions. (After a while, you will not need to draw actual lines.) You have most likely taken your lecture notes in the form that evolved during your years of schooling. You have also probably evolved your own shorthand system, such as using a "g" for all "-ing" endings, an ampersand (&) for "and," and abbreviations for many words (e.g., govt. for government and evaptn. for evaporation). The recall clue column is the key to higher marks. As soon as possible after you have written your notes, take the time to read them over - not studying them, just reading them. Check right away, while it is all still fresh, to see whether you have left out anything important or put down anything incorrectly, and make changes.
After reviewing what you have written, set down recall clue words to the topics in your notes. These clue words should not repeat information but should designate or label the kind of information that is in your notes. They are the kind of clues you would put on "crib sheets." Example: To remember the information contained so far in this section on note-taking, you need just the following clues: 8 1/2-by-11, loose-leaf, one side: 2-3-3-2 or 2-5-1. As you can see, they are simply memory cues to use later on in your actual studying. Dr. Robert A. Palmatier, Assistant Professor of Reading Education at the University of Georgia, suggests that you study for tests in the following manner:
Take out your loose leaf pages and shift them around so the order makes the most sense for studying. Choose the first page and cover up the notes portion, leaving visible just the clues. See if you can recall the notes that go with the clues. As you get a page right, set it aside. If you are going to be taking a short-answer test, shuffle your note pages so that they are out of order. (That is why it is important to use just one side of the paper.) "This approach provides for learning without the support of logical sequence," Dr. Palmatier says, "thus, closely approximating the actual pattern in which the information must be recalled.' If you are going to be taking an essay test, you can safely predict that "those areas on which the most notes are taken will most often be the areas on which essay questions will be based."
The beauty of the "recall clue word" note-taking method is that it provides a painless way to do the one thing proved to help you remember what you have learned - actively thinking about the notes and making logical sense of them in your mind. If, instead, you just keep going over your recorded notes, not only will you get bored, but you will be trying to memorize in the worst way possible. 7. Memorize actively, not passively. Researchers have found that the worst way to memorize -- the way that takes the most time and results in the least retention -- is to simply read something over and over again. If that is the way you memorize, forget it. Instead, use as many of your senses as possible.
Try to visualize in concrete terms, to get a picture in your head. In addition to sight use sound: Say the words out loud and listen to yourself saying them. Use association: Relate the fact to be learned to something personally significant or find a logical tie-in.
Examples: When memorizing dates, relate them to important events, the dates of which you already know. Use mnemonics: For example, the phrase "Every good boy does fine,", is used for remembering the names of the musical notes on the lines of the treble clef. Use acronyms, like OK4R, which is the key to remembering the steps in the reading method outlined in number 8, below. 8. Read and study at the same time. It really takes less time in the long run! Read with a purpose. Instead of just starting at the beginning and reading through to the end, you will complete the assignment much faster and remember much more if you first take the time to follow the OK4R method devised by Dr. Walter Pauk:
Overview - Read the title, the introductory and summarizing paragraphs and all the headings included in the reading material. Then you will have a general idea of what topics will be discussed. K - Key Ideas - Go back and skim the text for the key ideas (usually found in the first sentence of each paragraph). Also read the italics and bold type, bulleted sections, itemizations, pictures and tables.
R1- Read -your assignment from beginning to end. You will able to do it quickly, because you already know where the author is going and what he/she is trying to prove. R2 - Recall - Put aside the text and say or write, in a few key words or sentences, the major points of what you have read. It has been proven that most forgetting takes place immediately after initial learning. Dr. Pauk says, "One minute spent in immediate recall nearly doubles retention of that piece of data!" R3 - Reflect - The previous step helps to fix the material in your mind. To cement it there forever, relate it to other knowledge; find relationships and significance for what you have read. R4 - Review - This step does not take place right away. It should be done for the next short quiz, and then again for later tests throughout the term. Several reviews will make that knowledge indelibly yours.
9. Make up a color and sign system for text and notes. For your text, Dr. Palmatier suggests:
Red for main ideas Blue for dates and numbers Yellow for supporting facts. Circles, boxes, stars and checks in the margins can also be utilized to make reviewing easy. Make your own glossary of the words and concepts you do not know.
In your notebook, underline, star or otherwise mark the ideas which your teacher tells you are important: thoughts to which you are told you will be coming back later, items which you are warned to be common mistakes. Watch for the words - such as therefore and in essence - which tell you what is being summarized. Always record examples. In fact, in such subjects as math, your notes should consist mainly of your teacher's examples. Pay close attention in your note-taking until the last minute of class time. Often, a teacher gets sidetracked and runs out of time. He/she may jam up to a half-hour's content into the last five or 10 minutes of a lecture. Get down that packed-few minutes' worth. If necessary, stay on after class to get it all down. 10. Do not buy underlined textbooks. Of course, if the book does not belong to you, you will not be underlining at all. But if you underline, do it sparingly. The best underlining is not as productive as the worst note-taking. Over-underlining is a common fault of students; only the key words in a paragraph should be underlined. It should be done in ink or felt-tip highlighter, and it should be done only after you have finished the "OK" part of your OK4R reading. If you are buying your books secondhand, never buy one that has already been underlined. You may tend to rely on it, and you have no idea whether the hand that helped the pencil got an "A" or a " F" in the course! If, due to availability or finances, you have to buy an underlined textbook, mark it in a different color. Research has proven that it is not how much time you study that counts but how well you study during that time. In fact, in at least one survey, students who studied more than 35 hours a week came out with poorer grades than those who studied less. Remember: Use your study time wisely, and you too will come out ahead.
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