Some Study Tips|
This information is dictated by
research findings, according to
Darryl Bayer, Ph.D.
- Go over old tests and/or homework papers in an area of difficulty. Look for any pattern of difficulty -- repeatedly making
the same mistake, missing more at the end of work than at the beginning because of fatigue or a hurry to finish, a single step or
element that is misunderstood but causes mistakes in many items, etc.
- Memorize a short example of the correct way to do a problem, diagram a sentence, etc., then recall that one example
each time a similar problem is encountered.
- Create a context for detail that is relatively meaningless without one. Make math into word problems, for example, so
that verbal logic can be applied. Make sentences out of vocabulary words to be learned. Imagine stories of scientific discoveries to
remember chemical symbols, inventors' names, or historical events. Imagining is a very useful learning aid in other ways as well. To
remember paragraphs in reading, geography, or any other class requiring comprehension and retention of text, imagine a scene to fit
the sentence or paragraph just read. Later recall the scene in association with the key words of the event; the rest of the details
- Dramatize material in silly or exaggerated ways to enhance learning. In the privacy of one's own room, who is to care if
one berates the word "picnicking" for having a "k." It doesn't matter if it is remembered as being so "dumb," as long as it's
remembered. Make a joke out of pronouncing bough, tough, and trough, to remember the similarity in spelling. Make "sepulcher" a
scary-sounding word when you say it out loud, and "heinous" evil-sounding, to remember their meanings.
- 0ther tricks for memorizing details include:
- Color-coding (e.g., adverb and its definition can be written in green ink; verb and its definition in red; etc.).
- Homemade flash-cards (e.g., to learn the parts of a microscope).
- Visual aids (e.g., a model of a man for biology/anatomy class; posters, either made or bought, of historical events;
divisable plastic discs for studying fractions; etc.).
- Acronyms (e.g., the first letters of the last names of five famous explorers might spell READY).
- Multiple-choice is an easier style of question to answer than those requiring filling in of blanks, because only recognition
of the correct response is necessary. If the material is studied by writing out sample fill-in-the-blank questions, however, both
possibilities are prepared for. Also, in multiple-choice, sometimes seeing several possibly correct replies is so confusing the right
answer is lost. It is possible to read the question, abruptly look away without reading the response choices, recall the answer
mentally, then find it among the choices. This is possible if the material is studied as recall as well as recognition. Similarly, it is
better to work out math problems before looking at answer choices.
- For a person who learns best once he has an idea of the "big picture," reading summaries or overviews of chapters will
be most helpful prior to reading the chapter itself. Noting subheadings may help categorize or "chunk" material read, for later recall.
- Material can be read out loud, to be heard as well as seen (two sense modalities). Writing out sample questions or
responses involves a third sense modality in addition to the extra practice with the material. Questions asked about each paragraph
(briefly, to oneself) facilitate retention. In math, verbalizing each step helps concretize procedure; conceptualizing why each step is
necessary and what information it adds gives additional meaning also.
- Sometimes material studied from books or notes can be recalled by revisualizing it with shut eyes. Spelling can often
be remembered by imagining oneself writing the word on a blackboard or seeing it as the only word on a huge page, then recalling
that image at will.