Use your syllabus, textbook and notes, and old exams to make a list of topics likely to be tested. If it’s mentioned in the lecture or if it’s shown up on a quiz/test, it’s likely very important!
Assign each topic a score 1-3:
Start with the topics you need to review the most, time permitting. You can also be strategic in choosing which topics will require the most work and which you can more easily take from a category 1 or 2 to a 3. It can be tempting to start with what we feel most comfortable with because, well, it’s comfortable and makes us feel good! But, you don’t want to cram the stuff you don’t know as well. Remember spacing out our practice will help those unfamiliar topics stick.
Using only your syllabus as a guide, create an outline from memory of all the content that will be on the exam.
This is a very active learning approach since it requires you to pull knowledge from memory to see exactly where you stand. The point of this approach is for you to determine from memory what you already know well and what you don’t know. It’s going to take a little longer than the ranking approach we just discussed, but it will be more accurate in determining what you know and don’t know; thus, you’ll be better able to focus your studying on what you don’t know. This strategy may be more effective for testing your knowledge on concepts rather than problem-solving ability of particular problems (i.e. math problems).
Once you’ve decided what you want to study, be sure you’re using active learning strategies to learn that material. Be intentional about creating a study schedule that works for you. Use our planners (linked in a later slide) to help you space out the studying so you can avoid cramming. Additionally, planning your study routine can help distribute the time between classes and help you incorporate self-care and taking breaks.
What are some examples of active learning strategies that you have used for your classes this semester?
Active learning strategies could include:
How do you plan for tackling all the material and midterms you have coming up? It’s important to make a study plan that will give you plenty of time to study material and review it before the exam.
The Pomodoro method is a great way of helping you move through your study time. You can set specific goals for each of your Pomodoro sessions to keep you on track. You can also mix up the subjects you study (a process called interleaving) to allow you to make progress in multiple classes.
Your brain has two modes of thinking:
You learn better when you include breaks to go to the gym, eat, or just rest your brain because it allows your brain to process and organize information in the background (diffuse mode).
While you’re at home, it can be easy to remain in the same place inside all day. Be intentional about taking movement breaks outside to help you reset and regain focus before returning to work
Determine approximately how many hours to study for each exam. Use a calendar or planner to determine when you’ll study for each, keeping in mind the principle of distributed practice.
Developed and shared by The Learning Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.