Study Tips from the Master Slacker
or how to get 'A's and still have a life

  1. Learn your most difficult material first and review it last.
  2. Try to study when your mind is receptive to learning. When you're too tired or distracted you can't learn effectively.
  3. Actively learn difficult to remember material. Use multiple mnemonics, integrate concepts, and free associate. Don't be afraid to be weird and creative.
  4. Read once very carefully for content, highlighting only the most important material and making notes in the margins. Review by skimming only the highlighted parts and notes.
  5. Try to recap in your own words each paragraph or section you read. What is the main idea? Sum it up in a word or a sentence.
  6. Read the instructor's mind. Pay close attention to topics the instructor repeats, writes down, emphasizes, or asks questions about.
  7. Participate in study groups. Explain the concepts to each other --teaching is a great way of learning.
  8. Rest and eat properly before the exam. Try a light breakfast or lunch high in protein with a moderate amount of caffeine.
  9. In addition to careful review throughout the semester, cram (review) the night before and the day of the exam. (this is called priming)
  10. Take excellent notes and review them before class each day. A little maintenance of your learning is MUCH easier than relearning later.
  11. Make studying your last activity before sleeping (something may stick).
  12. Break up your studying periods with short (5-15 minute), "non-thinking," breaks.
  13. Streamline your mind during finals week!  i.e. drop your usual TV programs, newspaper reading, and other information competing for "brain space."
  14. Practice taking the test by doing problems and questions likely to be on an exam. Write your answers completely and force yourself to work quickly.
  15. Involve as many of your senses as you can in your learning. Lecture, reading, writing, drawing (doesn't have to be good), or anything else that helps make your learning active.
  16. Get test-smart! There are many excellent books on test taking strategy available at the library.
  17. Exchange notes and discuss lecture and readings with others. Talking about a subject makes it something you've experienced instead of just an abstract concept.
  18. Make the material personally meaningful. Think of examples in your life.
  19. Think about what you've been learning while going to sleep, waiting in lines, and other "down time."
  20. Don't Panic!

Good Luck!


The above tips are an assortment of plagiarized, re-discovered, and wholly original half-baked ideas. I would like to give proper credit where credit is due, but lack the time to find all the references (I'll take care of it before the first royalty check). ©Copied right 1995 -Ryan Russon

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