Alternative Studying Methods
It’s time to stop mindlessly skimming through your textbook and struggling to make sense of your class notes.
As a transfer student from a junior college into a university, I didn’t really have an approach to studying. I felt like I was always behind on the reading assignments. I had full-time school and work, and I was struggling to get school into my brain.
My best friend records his nursing class lectures and listens to them while he is at the gym, on his way to school and work or pretty much anytime he can. It works for him, because he is an auditory learner, or someone who learns better when he hears the information. A classmate of mine, a visual learner, copies everything down from PowerPoint slides and takes detailed notes to study.
And of course, there are those I know who slept through class and passed with no problem. All of this was frustrating for me because I thought I was working so hard, but I struggled to retain information. It took a whole semester to find my study niche.
I discovered I was a hands-on learner. I needed to be able to re-enact my schoolwork in order to study. Along the way, professors around campus taught me useful styles of learning, not just for school but for everyday life. Since then, I have had successful 4.0 grade-point semesters and I find schoolwork to be simpler.
Here are a few studying techniques I’ve learned at Angelo State that have really helped me.
Christie Adkins, instructor in the ASU Department of Biology, teaches her anatomy and physiology students to memorize terms by repeating each three times. I use this technique to this day to memorize names and numbers.
Method of Loci
Dr. Jake Simmons, assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Mass Media, teaches his public speaking students the Method of Loci, which helps with their presentation skills. This method makes use of information you already know — verses of a song or the layout of your dorm room — to remember the order of new classroom information. You take a section of notes and study them and, once you feel comfortable, start studying the next section. A real life example of this would be how the Ram Band learns and performs at the halftime shows.
Dr. Laurence Musgrove, chair of ASU’s Department of English and Modern Languages, encourages students to step out of the box, to think visually and creatively by using what he has developed as Handmade Thinking. In his graphic novels class, he required us to draw answers and take notes using illustrations. As someone with a heavy creative background, I found this technique expanded my horizons and enabled me to draw notes.
Lastly, ASU’s SMART services offer academic help through the Tutor Center, Supplemental Instruction, the Math Lab and the Writing Center. These services can help you with homework and studying techniques and are found on the third floor of the library as well as on Blackboard under the “SMART Online” tab.
Once you find your learning style and technique, you’ll find studying to be much easier. And don’t be surprised if your test scores skyrocket.