Science Studying Tips

Before a test: Review the important points JUST BEFORE you go to sleep.

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Scientific evidence points to the usefulness of sleep ‘locking’ in learning and memory, especially that done most recently while awake.

The more you divide up your studying, the better your mind will digest it. Of course, breaks between each focused study session are necessary. For some people, this may be as little as 30 minutes, then a break; for others, 1 or 1.5 hours followed by a quick break. Every person varies in their ability to remain focused ( to concentrate). However, do NOT take breaks so often that that is what you are focusing on (!).

Study a little bit here and there; break up large pieces of information into manageable chunks.
Repeat things OUT LOUD. Much of science requires memorization. Vocal reinforcement along with visual reinforcement uses two of the five senses. The more senses utilized during learning, the more permanent that learning becomes. I found this especially helpful in going from a D to a high B in Anatomy.

MNEMONICS works. At least, for many people (not all). Link the letters of special words—like Plant cells have Plasmodesmata—as ‘2 P’s” or for the brainstem nerves ‘On Old Olympus Mountain Top …” etc.

Be open to trying a different method, or more than one method of learning. For instance, you can look at 3-D visuals of a particular organ online, while simultaneously glancing at a 2-dimensional picture of the same organ.

Most importantly, get your sleep. It works wonders for your memory and why stay up all night reviewing if you are so groggy at the test the next day that you cannot remember where you put your keys?
The same goes for nutrition. Candy, coffee, and sodas will not keep your ability to process information going for long. You do get a brief high, and then a ‘crash’ afterwards. Be prepared for that.

Try to visit the room where you will take the test well beforehand. Then practice-simulate-the test-taking timing and environment. Taking a practice test or two can really boost your confidence.

Finally, be sure to ask your instructor any last-minute questions on issues you are unsure about. Especially do not be afraid to ask questions during the test itself. Everyone is there to help you do your best.

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