New year sparks new study methods

Addison P. '21, Writer

The new year has arrived and second semester is starting up with final exams just around the corner. High school students come off of their two week holiday break with resolutions of better grades and less procrastination. While these resolutions may last for the first two days back from break, they soon vanish just as their summer goals did. Regardless, with the right tips, any student can achieve their goals and be prepared for exams in May.

The most obvious tip for a successful second semester is to not procrastinate, but with the majority of high schoolers, waiting until the last minute is inevitable. While it may seem tedious, for students to plan out their week before their test date, it is crucial for organized study and preparation. Students need to write down the part of the unit they will study for each day of the week and find a way to fit it into their schedule every night. This will help to eliminate any procrastination leaving only a small part of the unit to study for the night before. To study even further than a week in advance can also reduce stress and the workload associated with a week of several tests.
“I try to start studying the material we learn each day so I don’t have to relearn topics before the test,” Nicole E. ‘21 said.

Procrastination may be a main concern for some, but knowing how to study in the first place may be a bigger problem for others. It is important to know how to retain the information learned in class and review it properly. A re-read through the textbook chapters the night before an exam may be considered enough, but actually writing down the material in any way possible will be much more effective. Hand-written flashcards will work better than flipping through a quizlet a classmate made. Also a homemade study guide is more beneficial than just the completion of the study guide assigned by a teacher. Whether it is rewriting class notes or drawing pictures to understand the material, writing down information learned in class will help to better ensure the recall of it on the test.
“The best study method for me is writing important points out on my dry erase board and doing practice problems on there,” Rishika G. ‘22.
As part of the study plan made the week before the test date, students should discover different ways to review the material through the construction of notecards or a study guide and go back through old notes of the material which is hardest to remember.
“Study the material and then do the study guide after without notes to see what you still need to study,” Nicole said.
It is also important for students to test themselves to see what needs extra review and to prepare them better for the actual exam.
“In Psychology we talk about self testing known as the Testing Effect in which essentially testing yourself makes information easier to access for a period of time,” Psychology teacher Erica Sachs said.
However, as the information is written it should be connected back to something from a student’s life and experiences. This is one of the best ways to embed class material into students’ memories giving the information meaning and purpose.
“We also talk about the Self Reference Effect in which if something is related to yourself you are more likely to remember it and the information that is meaningful is also better remembered,” Sachs said.
In addition, the use of mnemonic devices such as acronyms and acrostics are very useful for the encoding of class material into students’ brains.
Quality notes are needed to study in the first place, this means paying attention in class is obviously significant to the grade received on the test or exam. Most class periods can seem long, boring and put any student to sleep; it is a recipe for a lack of attention and retainment of new information. But, regardless of these circumstances, to do anything to stay engaged in class is important.
If students bring water to class, they are more likely to stay energized because dehydration is a cause of fatigue. To further, students should get more sleep in general to boost the amount of time they are able to be attentive throughout the class period. It should become a student’s priority to regulate their sleep schedule and try to put away their phone at night.
Overall, to welcome the new year and second semester, students should further attempt to actually fulfill their resolutions of high grades and study the right way.