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How to study

Kyra Garabedian, Anchor Staff

Photo by Mark Medeiros

What is the most effective and timely way to study? I’m not sure I’ll ever have an answer that will be true for every person. During my time at Rhode Island College, I have developed a study method that seems to work for me, but does that mean it works for everyone else too? 
I really started to think about my study habits when one of my classmates asked me what I do to prepare for exams and quizzes. With midterm exams quickly approaching, I thought I would reflect on my study practices as well as share what I find to be helpful with my peers. I understand not everyone will benefit from the way I prepare for exams because everyone learns in different ways. It’s interesting to see from a quick Google search that the scientifically proven study methods seem to vary quite a bit. This tells me that there is no right way to study, but it doesn’t try new tactics. 
The most important element of effective studying is being organized. Most college students would agree that it’s extremely overwhelming to try and study from scattered notes and handouts shoved into a folder. If you don’t take care of your class materials from the start, you will be spending more time looking for pages than actually studying. It’s important you don’t start off with the frustration of being disorganized or you likely won’t get very far. Being organized might be different for everyone, but as long as you feel ready to go through your notes and handouts, you should be good to go. 
Something I believe can really hurt you while studying is the lack of quality notes from class. I know it’s not always easy to keep your notes organized while you are trying to write down every important detail. However, not taking notes or not writing down key information is where you can run into trouble. I like to rewrite my notes into a neater, more organized version to help me clearly see the key points. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t take good notes in the first place. As long as you get the information you need it is alright to take messy notes and, in my opinion, rewriting them when you are ready to study actually helps you remember the content better. 
My last go-to study tip is to find a buddy to help you study. They don’t even have to be in the class with you, as long as they are willing to help. I like to “teach” another person the content in order to remember it better. Putting the material into your own words will help you become more familiar with the concept and I find that this method really lets you know how well you’ve been studying. If you are able to teach someone else, you have definitely mastered your content and are likely ready for your exam. Mastering this final way of studying helps me gain the confidence I need to fully prepare for my exams. 
Like I said previously, in no way are these study methods the scientifically proven best ways that everyone should use. Rather, I hope that my methods serve as a basis for others to tweak them into their own effective ways. Surely, it takes a lot of trial and error to find the best way to study, but it can’t hurt to try new ways until you do.