Study Tips

Figured I’d chime in with my routine…

I generally read the chapter before class, and take pretty thorough notes as I read. Then the lecture comes as more of a review, and shows me which areas the professor is likely to test on based on what is emphasized. (In fact, this is usually about the only value I find in most of my lectures, alas!) Then I complete the homework soon after the lecture. I also do any practice review problems the professor has posted, or find some from the text book if I still feel uncomfortable with the material. If there is some more detailed information that I just need to memorize for the exam - beyond an understanding of the broader concepts - then I make flashcards using an iPhone app and test myself on my subway rides. (I tried making paper flashcards because I like writing by hand, but they’re annoying to hold in a crowd and I’m always carrying my phone anyhow). I find with these habits, I rarely need to study much right before exams, just brush up with some more practice Qs.

I prefer to study at home, though I’m not sure I accomplish as much as I do in a library because of potential distractions. To combat this, I try to do as much as I can without internet access, and I’ve started setting myself 40-50minute timers where I ban myself from any other activities. I also prefer to be at home for the steady stream of snacks and drinks For studying that requires more intense focus, I can’t listen to music with lyrics, but if I’m writing a dull lab report or doing some easier problems, I listen to something more upbeat, or sometimes podcasts. I also find the occasional beer-as-reward can pull me through some more dreaded assignments.

I got great advice once that helped me cut out bad procrastination habits. When I find myself falling down the online shopping/etc hole, I stop and ask myself “what am I doing? why am I doing it? who am I benefitting?” That last question in particular always makes the big picture clear in my mind again, and tends to cut off my self-justification cycle pretty swiftly.

(And with that being said… back to Orgo reading for me!)