Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One Way to Study for Exams

For both my classes, I put together a study guide that included some general tips on studying as well as what topics to focus on.  Since the general advice works for many classes, I figured I'd share it here.  It's based on what I used to do as an undergrad.

York College Library Study
York College Library Study / CUNY Academic Commons

A good strategy is to create your own study notes, preferably on paper (manually writing will help you remember what you are thinking about better).  Here’s one possible way to make these notes:
  • Go through the course learning objectives, slides, and assignments, and make a list of key concepts that you should understand.
  • On a separate piece of paper for each concept, write the concept at the top of the page.
  • For each concept, write a general description of what the concept it about.  Try explaining it as if you were teaching someone who has never seen it before.
  • Look for ways the concept has been used in class.  How does it apply to the topic’s contextual question? What other contexts did we apply it to (in code, assignment questions, Poll Everywhere, etc)?
A few general studying tips:
  • Find ways to stay relaxed.  High stress will make your studying time far less effective. (Don’t leave it to the last minute!)
  • Try to stop working on your notes before your normal bedtime the night before the exam (if not sooner).  Get a good night’s rest - this really does matter!
  • If you have time, you can spend some time memorizing some of your notes.
  • On the day of the exam, review your notes.  By now you don’t want to be still trying to understand the concepts or memorizing key points if possible.

Be sure to state any assumptions you make when answering the questions.

Be strategic rather than starting at the beginning and working your way through.  Read all the questions first, then start answering the questions you are most confident about.


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