Do you have any tips for how to study? As a tutor at Northern Virginia Community College, this is the question I receive from almost every student I tutor. With desperate eyes, they`re staring at me hoping I can tell them the ultimate secret on how to pass the challenging course of Anatomy and Physiology. In all reality, there is no one correct way. Every student is different and therefore different methods work for different students. Taking that into account, there are two habits I always encourage my students to build which are creating flashcards and clarifying any confusion the same day you learned the material.
Flashcards provide an easy quick way to memorize definitions and terminology. Almost every class consists of some type of terminology, and flash cards are a great way to memorize these. The typical college student is very busy and often making adequate studying time hard to fit in their schedule. I encourage flashcards because they are easy to carry with you, whether it is physical cards or through an app on your smart phone. This makes it easy to study on the go whether it is while waiting at a doctor`s office, in line at the grocery store, or any other spare moments you may find in your day. These short and frequent study times are very effective and allow the memorization to come more easily even within a busy schedule.
Another studying technique I encourage is clarifying any confusion on the same day you learn the material. It is very easy to get lost during a lecture or not quite grasp what the professor is saying. I encourage my students to mark the spots of confusion while taking notes, whether it is by placing a sticky note or writing a question mark next to the notes, reminding themselves that that particular material is not clear. This is something helpful I have found in my own studies as well. I encourage my students to seek clarity on that material as soon as possible, whether it is asking the professor after their lecture or emailing their professor or me with their questions to quickly clarify any confusion there may be. Understanding the material shortly after it is first introduced is important because material can build on one another. Misunderstanding in the beginning can lead to more confusion and misunderstanding in the following material as well. It is also easier to clarify and find understanding in the beginning to ensure the student fully understands instead of waiting until right before the exam to try to make sense of the material.
There is a huge array of studying techniques that college students may use. The two techniques discussed are only two simple things that have helped most students I have worked with. Although other studying techniques must occur which must be more specified for each student, these two simple changes are the beginning of a foundation that can help students succeed in class and become better students.