There are two different ways to prepare for any test. Many students try to cram as much information into their short term memory the night or hour before the exam only to find that they don’t remember as much as they’d like - and what they do remember is gone after the test ends. Tired of memorizing information and want to learn something instead? These studying tips for learning information vs. memorizing information will help you ace your next test, but more importantly, they will help you understand the information so you can apply it in your future.
Take Notes In Your Own Words
If you are copying down notes word for word from a powerpoint, you probably aren’t learning the information. Learning is a process that starts during class. Listen carefully to your instructor, and write down notes in your own words. Translating what you are hearing into your own words is only possible if you understand. Don’t understand what the instructor is talking about? You’re probably not alone. If you are confused, there are probably 10 other students in the class who are also confused. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask clarifying questions or note the section in your notes for further review.
Fill The Gaps In Your Understanding Immediately
Leave time in your schedule to review your notes each day after class. If there are sections you don’t understand, look for additional information online or in your textbook. Still don’t understand what’s going on? Schedule time with a tutor or during your instructor’s office hours to go over difficult information. Once you do understand the part that was troubling you, write it down in your own words so you’ll remember it later.
Test Your Knowledge
Once you understand the information, you need to test your knowledge just to make sure you’ve got it all correct. You can do this by taking practice tests offered in your book or online. You can also meet with a study group to test your knowledge more informally. One of the best ways to solidify understanding is to help others who are struggling with information to learn it. Your learning will deepen as you help others learn; plus, a study group can help you understand the next time you are confused.
These tips will help you learn information rather than just memorizing it so you can be successful on the test - and beyond.