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How to study?

  1. Jul 16, 2012 #1
    I've been a pretty good student all my life, been in honors classes, AP classes and what not, gotten A's and B's without putting much effort in. I'd read over something once and remember enough of it to get by, but now that I'm in college I'm starting to realize it isn't quite enough anymore. So I have finals in a couple weeks and I'm stuck. I don't know how to study. Everything I've ever read about studying basically ends up meaning but not saying memorization. I guess I want to know, how do I understand a subject enough for a test?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2012 #2
    I find that having a different mindset helps. Don't study for the test: study until you understand the material.
  4. Jul 16, 2012 #3
    If you take notes, rewrite them; read the text and take notes. Be sure to write in such a way that you can understand. You also need to do practice problems. Be able to explain each step of your problem solving. Try studying with others to obtain different perspectives.
  5. Jul 16, 2012 #4
    What is your major??

    It might help you to study in groups and discuss the material together. A lot of people find that helpful.

    Studying for something requires a lot of time. You need to do a lot of exercises.

    If you have a formula, try not to memorize it, but try to memorize it through using it a lot. For example, don't memorize the substitution formula for integrals, but use it a lot in your exercises so that you know it eventually and it becomes second nature.

    I always learned better by writing. I would read the theory and then rewrite the chapter. It helped me a lot. You got to see what works for you.
  6. Jul 17, 2012 #5
    Do lots of problems when you get them right know why they are right. Don't just memorize how to do a certain problem.
  7. Jul 17, 2012 #6
    do all the problems with solutions that you can get your hands on. also, just reading alot of problems and thinking in your head how you would solve them helps too.
  8. Jul 17, 2012 #7


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    Also if you need to ask, don't be afraid to ask. You are not stupid if you ask a question that needs an answer.

    Before you ask a question though I recommend you take the initiative to first do what you can to find an answer and if you can't get an answer then ask a question. Make questions specific as possible and clarify exactly what you don't know by giving reference to what you do know and don't understand.

    If the lecturer/professor doesn't tell you what is important and what (and more importantly how you will be assessed) then ask them.

    Don't ask them the exercises you need to do: ask them the level of understanding that is sufficient for getting a specific grade. If they don't answer that then find someone who will or go to the dean. I'm sure though, that any professor that hears that question should be more delighted though as opposed to put off.

    Once you know the level of understanding you need in detail, you can do whatever exercises and problems to get it and you will be able to ultimately direct your own learning which is the most important thing (and also be able to help others if you are in a group setting).

    Good luck!
  9. Jul 17, 2012 #8
    I think the idea is that if you understand something well enough, you won't need to memorize it. If you've worked with something long enough, it starts becoming natural and you essentially memorize it without realizing that's what you're doing. Practice problems are always a good strategy, as are flashcards, having a study buddy, and going to your professor/TA with questions if you don't understand.
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