I am frequently asked, “How do I study for tests?” This question actually puts the “cart before the horse” because the efficient way to study for tests is to do your homework on https://argoprep.com/blog/is-17-a-prime-number/ time, ask questions in class, and learn information as it is taught, not just memorize the night before. There are easy ways to do these tasks, but this article will assume that you have a test tomorrow and you need some help…now!
How the Brain Works
To maximize your study time, it is helpful to know how your brain works. The most significant thing your brain does to learn new information is to connect new knowledge to concepts you already know. For example, you must know about earthquakes before you can understand the Richter Scale. The connection process is vital! When you struggle to learn new information, it is usually because you are not able to make a connection to something you already understand. If you have experienced a moment when something finally “clicked,” that was the moment that your brain made a connection.
Connections help you learn new information, but visual images help you recall it. Visual images are powerful memory-enhancing tools because brains tend to think in images. Pictures, graphs, maps, and symbols help your brain see new concepts, see the relationship between concepts, and give you an image to “connect” new information.
Next, your brain best remembers “firsts” and “lasts;” the first few sentences you read, the last few comments your teacher said, etc. For example, as a teacher is lecturing in class, it is common to listen to the first few minutes before drifting into daydreams. Eventually, you sense that the lecture is about to end, so you “snap” back into attention and catch the last few sentences. Because of this, you can learn as much in three, 30-minute study sessions as you can in three straight hours of studying.