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Study Tips by Karen Bernardo

Do you put off studying until the last possible minute – or just avoid it altogether? Many people equate studying with failure, sure that they're going to be tested and found wanting. In reality, studying is nothing more than helping your brain move concepts you heard or read from your short- to your long-term memory. There are many good, effective studying techniques; you just need to find the ones that work with your own personal learning style.

For example, people who learn well from listening to lectures may want to record their class discussions and play them back later. (Make sure your teacher is okay with this.) If you have a hard time absorbing things you read silently, try reading the text aloud – you may even want to record your own voice doing this, and play it back later on during another study session. There are many free audio-recording programs you can download from the internet. (The one included with your Windows-based PC only records for a minute, and that's not nearly long enough for your study session!)

If you learn best by reading, you've probably already discovered that you need to take good class notes to get anything out of a lecture. As soon as possible after class, take those notes and rewrite them, fleshing them out with insights that just occur to you, or examples you remember from class but may not have jotted down at the time. The mere act of rewriting your notes will help to lock them in your mind.

And if you learn best by performing some physical activity, you may have to be especially creative. Some study techniques that would be counterproductive for other people really work well for you, so don't be afraid to experiment. You may find you can study or read better if you're pacing or using a treadmill as you read or listen to a recorded book. You may find that combining studying with some external noise (a metronome, a music CD, drumming on a water glass, etc.) enhances your ability to memorize and process information.

And if there is any way to turn something conceptual into an activity, do it! Many math activities can be made concrete by manipulating tiny square beads or blocks, making a diagram, drawing a picture, or cutting paper shapes. And don't be afraid to write in your books (using library books as textbooks is not a good solution for you). You may be able to remember abstract details by coloring them with highlighting markers. Experiment with all sorts of activities and see what works for you.

Here are some other study techniques you may find useful:

Study Skills Self-Help Information

Helpful Study Skills Links