Professors share study tips, methods

From pulling all-nighters, staying awake from caffeine, studying or cramming for exams, there are better ways for students to study and be less exhausted.

Apart from giving lectures or study materials, some professors share tips they have used and how students can better prepare themselves for exams.

Dr. Steve Betts, professor and associate dean of the School of Music, said students can use the blank-paper method to study.

“The principle is this: When you are trying to figure out what you really remember or what you know, it is best to start with a blank screen or paper and write down everything you can remember,” Betts said. “Then go back and check what you wrote or typed against your notes and see what parts you left out.”

After going through that process, Betts suggested testing again the following day by starting with a blank screen again and writing down everything that comes to memory. In doing this, it is expected that memory has been refreshed and knowledge increased.

Betts said this procedure should be repeated until the exam to help recall facts or principles.

The Joshua Foer’s Memory Palace study method is another method that Betts recommended for students. He said it is mainly used for remembering things in order or listing.

“You have a building that has multiple rooms and you place things in rooms, one thing in each room and…work your way through,” Betts said.

In a certain order he goes from room to room where he has a picture in mind to remember what is connected with a particular room.

“I have this weird picture in my mind to remember what is connected to each room,” Betts said. “In this house the first thing is the entry way, then the living room, the dining room and then the kitchen, then the pool room, then the garage and the master bedroom.”

Betts said his “memory palace” helps with organization and is good for retaining information.

Dr. Amy Stumpf, associate professor of Christian studies, said as exam week approaches, students should know that their brains will function poorly if they are tired and stressed.

She said she finds it interesting that during exam week a student’s mind can tend to be in the worst position, causing it to stress. Stumpf said it is important to get adequate rest in order to avoid fatigue.

Stumpf said students should come up with coping mechanisms that will alleviate fatigue and stress. She identified rest as an important mechanism that more students need to adopt.

“I tell students get some rest, and they just think, ‘Oh you sound just like my mom,’” Stumpf said. “God knows us. He says in the fourth commandment (to) take a Sabbath day. He knows that our bodies and our spirits cannot go without rest and still flourish.”


About Jinoye Henry

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