Study Skills

Tips for studying from KMH:

  • Only study the things that gave you difficulty when you were learning them the first time
  • Study questions you aren't familiar with as a way of learning things we may not have covered in depth in class
  • Make flashcards for every term/concept we have learned this year - go back to your notes and the text. These will serve you well as you prepare for the E.O.C., the Biology SAT II, and the Final Exam. These can be paper or digital.
  • It's best to do a few problems in about 10 - 15 minutes and then put the work away.
  • Break up your studying (for this class and every other class) into 10 - 15 minutes chunks of time.
  • The moment you find your mind straying away and not focusing, STOP. Take a break, get a snack, or take a 20-minute nap. If you wake up with drool all over your notebook or textbook and can't remember where you are, you've missed the cue.:)
  • SLEEP 8 - 10 hours per night.
  • Study before you eat.
  • Make sure your dinner is not pure carbohydrates - it will put you to sleep and cause you to waste your post-dinner time.
  • Remember the MEMORY JUNGLE: you need to keep your eye on the animal and work hard to cause it to wear a neural trace in your memory. Encoding takes work. Rehearse by retrieving and encoding over and over, but also ASSOCIATE the fact animals with other information you already know.
  • Study on your own; study with others; have other people quiz you.
  • Watch videos to make complicated topics clearer.
  • Take a blank piece of paper and write down EVERYTHING you know about a topic. Then open up your notes and the textbook and on another piece of paper write down the things you did not remember to write down. The contents of this SECOND piece of paper contain what you should study most - whatever you have forgotten you did not properly encode in the first place.
  • Ask your teacher questions during class.
  • TEACH other people what you are learning about. Teaching others is the single best way to achieve deep understanding.
  • When you are stuck in a place where you have nothing (although you should always have either your flashcards or digital cards you have made on your phone), rehearse what you know in your mind. THINK about the facts and concepts you are learning and relate them to your real life. (Every single time you recall something, you give yourself the opportunity to encode it back into your long term memory.)
  • Exercise! Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to greatly enhance cognitive function.
  • Eat for your brain: fish, almonds, bananas, blueberries, avocados...these are among the many foods that work to both build and fuel your neurons.
  • Did I mention SLEEP? When you sleep, your brain consolidates what you have experienced and learned that day. Without proper amounts of sleep, your brain cannot clean out the toxins that build up during the day and you cannot make the appropriate neural traces that will deepen your long term memory.