Are you looking for the most effective way to study for an exam? The good news is that there is a very effective method. The bad news? It probably takes more time than many students want to spend on test preparation.
It is important to understand that it takes time to learn new material.
Many studies are published about behaviors that lead to real comprehension and retention. The method presented here is based on scientific findings.
First, if you really want to ace your tests, you must begin early enough that you can start, stop, and revisit your material a few times. Why? There have been studies to show that the act of revisiting information reinforces that information. Repetition is one of the major components to effective study strategies!
But you can’t do this all in one day. Research shows that it is most effective to study for a time, then go away from the material to let it soak in, and then return to your studies. To really give it your all, it is important for students to go through this process at least three times.
The first important concept of the 3 Ways and 3 Days study strategy is to set aside three separate days in the week before a big test. Devote a few hours each of those days. Then go away from the material.
Of course, this means you must begin this process at least a week before every big exam.
Another important part of every study strategy is to test yourself. It is not enough to read over material; you must test yourself to see if you are retaining information. But that’s not the only reason you should test yourself. The act of testing yourself alone also has a reinforcing influence.
Self-testing is a critical part of studying!
- Make a fill-in the blank test for yourself
- Use flashcards
- Study with a friend and test each other
- Use an online flashcard site like ProProfs
- Create an image of the material – whether this involves a diagram, outline, or mind map.
- Use colors to categorize material. For example, if you are studying a foreign language, you can use yellow flashcards for verbs and pink flashcards for nouns.
Study 3 Ways
The next important part of the 3 Day 3 Way method is to use different senses and get active as you study. Your senses play a significant role in the memory-making process, so it is best to find at least three ways to experience material you’re reviewing.
This isn’t as daunting or complex as it may sound. All you have to do is tap into your three learning styles in some way. The learning styles are visual, auditory, and tactile.
It is easy to incorporate diverse learning style tactics into your study routine. To reinforce and learn with visual tools:
For tactile learning:
- Create an interactive map using PowerPoint tools.
- Role play with a study partner.
- Debate and discuss with friends.
- Build a model of the topic you’re studying.
For auditory learning:
- Read the material out loud to yourself and others.
- Create recordings using the PowerPoint recording tools.
- Record lectures when possible and play them back as you read.
- If you need to memorize a phrase or lines in a skit, you can get creative and put the material to music!
Effective study strategies are time-consuming, but they are very rewarding. If you really want to be successful, you must start early and repeat as you cover the test material.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "It's Not Solitaire: Brain Activity Differs when One Plays Against Others." ScienceDaily, 6 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Sep. 2012.
Frieden, Joyce. Teen Sleep Deprivation a Serious Problem. WebMD. 8 November, 2009. Web. 25 Sep. 2012.
University of Notre Dame. "Learning Best when You Rest: Sleeping After Processing New Info Most Effective." ScienceDaily, 23 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Sep. 2012.
University of Notre Dame. "Confusion Can Be Beneficial for Learning." ScienceDaily, 20 Jun. 2012. Web. 25 Sep. 2012.