When it comes to studying for tests I am not the person who reads everything only once and knows everything by then. I am the person who has to work so hard to remember even the easiest things. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand anything, the problem is that I don’t remember anything. It took me a long time to figure out in what way I could study effectively.
What I did know of myself was that I am an active studier. With this I mean I have to work with the study material in a way other than just reading it. I have to right, listen, watch and use other methods to study. I have always thought that making my own summaries and studying from those were the way for me to study. I would spend a lot of time making them, and researching the study material so I would understand everything perfectly. The thing is, in the exams I had to do there were always questions which required you to name steps or elements to something, which usually consisted of at least 5 things. There were many questions like this in one test, which made me mix up everything. So, I needed to find another way to remember everything in a very literal kind of way.
The only thing I had not tried yet, and I have no idea why I hadn’t, was making flashcards. Making the flashcards themselves already takes a while, just like writing summaries. With these flashcards I quickly found out I was being way more thorough and organized. For every chapter I used a different color so it would be easier to study them. I would make sure I first knew everything from one color before I’d continue on the other color. For me this works because this way I’d split everything into pieces. It is easier to study in chunks rather than everything at once.
(Click on the photo’s to read what they say)
After having finished making all the flash cards, the only thing you have to do is study the cards. I kind of see it as quizzing myself. The reason this really worked for me is that on one side of the card I’d read the term I need to know, and on the other is the answer. This way I can’t accidentally see the answer, which would be the case with a summary. When I study from those I’d read something and automatically read the meaning of the word. I don’t really use my brain, which I’d do with flashcards. I really have to think with those.
It’s too bad I only found out this worked for me so late in my studies. But it is really true what they say: Better late than never. If I had never found out this would be so effective I would still be struggling right now. I knew I would get there, it just took me a little more time. It reminded me that when I work hard I can achieve my goals.
Please let me know what works well for you. I’d love to know. Are you an active studier like I am, or are you one of those lucky ones who only has the read something once and aces a test?