Class Preparation & Studying Suggestions

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With two of my children taking college level courses now, I thought I’d put together a cheat sheet with best practices for preparing for classes and studying for exams and quizzes.  If you think I’ve missed anything, or can clarify a concept, please feel free to comment below or on the following Google Doc: http://goo.gl/YAta4B. So here we go!

Best Practices for Preparing for class with readings:

  1. Skim chapter text to get a sense for what the content is by reading introduction, section headings and conclusion.
  2. Skim reading a second time and formulate questions in your own words that address the major issues and definitions that need to be remembered.
  3. Read chapter carefully and answer questions.
  4. Concept Map major definitions and issues in the chapter.
  5. Make connections: Review your notes (the answers to the questions you formulated) and think of how the concepts the reading covers relates to other things you know from the class as well as outside the class.

Best practices for studying for exams and quizzes:

  1. Don’t study in the same physical location, move around a bit (kitchen, bedroom, library…). Variation helps.
  2. No cramming the night before, plan ahead and spread out your study sessions. 3 30min study sessions each a day or two apart, are much more effective than one 90min session. -> Spacing & Interleaving.
  3. Use flash cards for key words and concepts. Don’t copy definitions, but them in your own 5-10 of your own words if possible. The act of retrieval helps cement things… struggle to remember answers is much more effective than looking at flash card.
  4. Explain the concepts to someone else (who’s possibly asking questions from your flash cards).
  5. Final exam prep with a classmate.
  6. Getting a good night sleep help your remember things better as well.

Good luck in your classes!

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