Looking to do better on tests? Want to study more effectively? Well, you are not alone!
Thousands of RRC students come to the Academic Success Centre every year asking for just this kind of help. They know they can do better in their courses, but they’re just not sure how. On this page, and in the sidebar to the left, you’ll find a list of tips and tricks we’ve seen help RRC students. And, if you don’t get what you need on this page, remember you can always connect with an Academic Coach for one-on-one assistance.
The most important tip is to become an active learner. Active learners take ownership of their studies through questioning their approach to learning and by consciously managing their attention, life and study strategies.
Other simple things like organizing your notes, making concept cards for review, annotating text, and self-testing can dramatically increase how much course material you are able to remember and use in the future.
All of these study activities should occur using spaced practice, or the intentional visiting and revisiting of material over time. Check out this video by the Learning Scientists for more info:
Take a look below for a few of our favorite study tips. Which ones do you already use? Which ones will you try?
Take 15 minutes after each class to review the day’s class material and lectures. Daily reviews like this are enhanced when you actively manipulate and play with your text. Rewrite what you’re reading in your own words. Create self-tests. Make up games for yourself!
Before reading an article or book, ‘pre-read’ it by examining headings, pictures, graphs, figures, and appendixes to better understand what it covers and how the info is organised.This will serve as a kind of advance organizer that will make the reading more meaningful and enhance memory (Howard, 2006, p. 546).
Use the 5 Day Study Plan to ensure you chunk information, reflect, revisit and self test yourself on new material. This plan lays out a study strategy with brain-based learning principles in mind.
Use Retrieval Practice to better implant knowledge into long term memory. Check out the video below on how you can harness the power of this study tool.
Don’t multitask when studying as it will be harder to retrieve information during testing. We can only perform one cognitive function at a time and do it well.
Reorganize new material you have read or heard in class. This will help convert the material to long-term memory
Set goals and develop a purpose. Answer the question, why am I studying this material? How does it relate to my long-term goals?
Put important points on flashcards and review them often. You could do this activity while riding the bus.
Ask for help when needed and connect with an Academic Coach.
Howard, P. (2006). The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. Austin Texas: Bard Press.
Jensen, E. (2008). Brain-Based Learning. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.
Posner, M., Rothbart, M. (2007). Educating the Human Brain. Washington: American Psychological Association.
Here is a list of websites that you may find helpful while taking college courses.
These websites cover questions and quizzes to help you evaluate and strengthen your study habits. Information is given for what to consider in getting ready for college, managing time, reading textbooks, taking notes, improving memory, and taking tests/exams effectively.