Study Strategies!

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We are getting to the time of year when exams are on a lot of students’ minds. Biology is looking forward to the Required Quarterly Exam (end of October) and AP Environmental Science is gearing up for its first major exam (Tuesday!!).

Our favorite source high school worthy news, Buzzfeed, has published a GREAT list of study strategies to help you through all of your upcoming exams.

However, a major theme in all of these study strategies is the use of spaced practiced (a.k.a. the opposite of cramming). This means that you need to start your studying well ahead of time so your brain has time to turn that weak understanding into lasting knowledge

For another look at study strategies, check out this piece by The Learning Scientists. This educational psychology blog has put together a resource for students about the most heavily supported style of studying: retrieval practice.

Some last words of wisdom:

  1. Effective studying is hard! But don’t give up – the hard work feeling actually indicates that you’re learning. Easy studying (like re-reading) is just not very effective.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take breaks! Spacing out your practice (over hours or days) is crucial to let your brain move the new information into long term storage.
  3. Test yourself in as many ways as you can! Make up questions, use flashcards, try to write out your notes from memory. There are infinite ways to test yourself.
  4. Teach someone else! This requires a DEEP understanding of the material. If you can convince a friend or family member to sit and listen to you teach them about specialized cells/speciation/genetics/ecology you will be doing yourself a big service.

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