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What is the best study method for you?



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One of the things that separates great students from those that are average is the methods they use for studying. Some methods are a lot faster and more effective than others.

Here are some of the different methods of studying:

  • Reading a text book
  • Listening to audio or watching videos
  • Taking notes from your text book
  • Writing questions from your text book, then answering them later
  • Taking past exams or practice exams
  • Mind maps
The fastest way to take in new information is by reading. You can read a lot faster than a person can talk. Also when you are reading, you can quickly skip through the sections that you already know or that don't apply. Some students, however, do find that they learn a lot better from audio or video material.

Using a method that is a bit more active is a powerful tool for recall and learning. This more active method could be, for example, taking notes when you read a text book, or highlighting the areas that you think are most important. Another very powerful study method is to write a bunch of questions from topics that are covered in the text book. You can even try to think “What will they ask me in the exam?” and write those questions down as you are reading the book. Then a few days later you can answer them and see if you remember the answers.

Probably the most powerful study method consists of taking past exams or practice exams. When you do the practice exam, if you don't know the answer you can research the material later. This lets you find and study the right answers for all the questions that you can't answer and also the questions that you get wrong. You can't kid yourself when answering exam questions. You get to see if you really know the information or not. So any time you can get hold of past exams you should definitely do so and use them to prepare yourself for your upcoming exam. Depending on what you are studying past exams might even have very similar questions to those in future exams, so if you know the answers for past exams you will be well prepared.

Some people find mind maps really effective as a way of taking notes and remembering those notes. You can get free software for creating mind maps here (http://freemind.sourceforge.net).

These are some suggested methods for studying. No matter which of them you pick, make sure that you utilize the study methods that are most effective for you.

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