Study Well, Not Hard – The Washtenaw Voice
by RACHEL RABIDEAU
As the finals approach, many students are scrambling to prepare. Each person has a preferred study technique that works best for them, with methods ranging from visual to practice.
The University of Michigan advises that for every hour spent in class, students should spend two hours studying. According to UM, the higher expected levels of comprehension, combined with the fact that classes often exclude homework and comprehension checks, students have a responsibility to manage their education.
According to psychology.edu, one of the most effective learning techniques is the practice of recovery. Having to recall information from memory, use flash cards or a practice test to quiz yourself.
“My favorite study technique is definitely flashcards!” says Sierra Holmes, a COE student.
An article from edweek.org explores why just trying to explain a concept can ensure a student’s understanding of a topic. Instead of just transferring information from a textbook to an exam sheet, explaining a concept can ask students to better understand Why something is like that. Explaining your homework to a younger sibling or your parents can test your knowledge on the subject.
COE student Kelly Spurdock explains that one of her favorite ways of studying is “to pull things out of memory, to tell me about what’s going on.”
Arlo Flynn shares his go-to method: “I like to use highlighters to underline important information, then rewrite that information to help me remember it.”
MIT encourages students to study in short intervals of time, associating each 50-minute block with a 10-minute break. Humans have a short attention span, and studying for too long without taking breaks can cause people to navigate their way through information without holding anything back. If the study of quantity is important, too much at one time can decrease the quality.
Many students are guilty of procrastinating and then stuffing the night before their exam. According to Stanford University, stuffing causes overworking of the brain, causing frustration, fatigue and anxiety. Information is harder to remember when pressured, leading students who stuff to score lower on tests.
Cengage has published a 5-day study plan to help students develop good habits.
Hand in hand with the jam, shooting a sleepless night to prepare for an exam is the last resort for many students. This should be avoided whenever possible. According to the Sleep Foundation, missing even a single night’s sleep can cause the brain to act similarly to poisoning. Research shows that missing a 24-hour block of sleep results in mental performance equivocation in a person with a blood alcohol level of 0.10%. The legal limit in Michigan is 0.08%. Skipping sleep inhibits the maintenance of mental rhythm and problem-solving ability. The “cognitive deficit” is not worth it.
Hallmark University has several suggestions for reducing distractions while studying. After you’ve cleaned up your study space and put your phone away, sometimes the noise – or lack of – in your study space can rob your attention of your notes. Too much noise can be annoying, but not enough. It can be helpful to listen to a peaceful study playlist to help you. Vaughn College explores classical music as a student’s best friend in a study space. Engaging both sides of the brain, classical music can be very helpful for some. Songs without words and without nature sounds are two good alternatives if classical music takes your attention away from your books.