This semester, how many times have you sat through three-hour lectures or been asked to read too many pages in a textbook overnight? My guess is too many to keep count. Exams are stressful because of the expectations to do well in your courses'remembering every lecture and every chapter in the textbook. In most cases, exams are a cumulative package of all learning taught during the semester.
So, the question is: how on earth am I supposed to remember it all in time for exams? The answer is simple'you don't have to remember all of it, just think of the key parts.
1. Keep track of key points during lectures
To the untrained ear, separating the important information from the less important during a lecture can be a hard task. Most times, there are two ways a professor will present this key information. The first is by addressing the point and following it up with an explanation. The second is by starting with the explanation and concluding with the point. If you listen to the lecture from this perspective'knowing it's a series of frontal points, explanations, and concluding points'it'll help you better organize your notes.
2. Don't read everything in a chapter
To conclude today's lecture, your professor just asked you to read seven chapters in your textbook in time for tomorrow's lecture. That's a total of 60 pages'yeah, right. But did you know you can get it done (and get it done well) along with written notes, in just a couple of hours?
Much like lectures, chapters in a textbook are broken down into a series of points, explanations, and conclusions'exclusively in that order. The trick is you only really need to read the titles, subtitles, and conclusions to get the gist of a chapter.
3. Keep your notes clean and concise
Once you've identified a point the professor has made, number it and write a brief sentence or two explaining what it is. Below that, write another short note on the most interesting information presented in the explanation. Keeping your points and explanations numbered will help give your notes order that closely match the timeline of the lecture. You can also do the same when taking notes from a chapter in a textbook.
4. Plan your study time for before bed
I always wake up thinking about the things that ran through my mind before I went to bed. I find my brain retaining the information I take in right before getting some good sleep (and I don't mean the 2 a.m. study cram). Sleeping well is essential to strong academic performance, especially close to exams. So ensure you get solid studying time followed by a good night's rest.
5. Rewrite your notes
Chances are the first time you write your notes they'll be chicken scratch since you're trying to keep up with the lecture presented in front of you. Rewriting your notes refreshes your mind of the lecture and also helps to make your points much clearer. Try rewriting your notes a few times'doing this really helped me remember the small, important details like dates, times, and other key information.
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