Successful studying comes from consistently applying effective systems

When studying for tests or other similar assignments, there are so many strategies available. Flashcards, a Quizlet, study guides and graphic organizers are just a few. Is there a best strategy and which strategies work best for you?

Two important things to think about when you’re studying are when to study and how.

In determining when to study, setting a regular schedule is effective. According to the Department of Psychology at UCSD, studying should be repeated at about the same time for about the same amount of time. Each session like this should be spaced several days apart. For example, start studying every two days for one hour each session. Studying like this will help to force that information into long-term memory and help with retrieval of information during a test.

Retrieval practice is about using strategies that will help in recalling information. A good thing to start with would be repeating the lesson back afterward. Some parts of the lesson will be easier to remember than others. The parts that don’t come immediately back should be the parts to practice more.

One way to put retrieval practice into use is by the Leitner System. For this system, use flashcards and three to five boxes. First, label the boxes. For example, someone might have boxes that said Study Daily, Study Every Two Days and Study Weekly. Next, go through the flashcards and put them in the boxes according to the difficulty of the questions. For example, if someone gets the first flashcard easily, put it in the Study Weekly. Finally, create a schedule for when to study the flashcards in each box.

Remember, different study strategies work for different people. Visual learners might want to use a graphic organizer based on notes, or those who need to write things down might rewrite the notes. 

The amount of time studying also depends on the person. Those who are good at memorization might need to study less than someone who isn’t. 

In the end, find a strategy that works and use it.

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