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My Study Guide To Studying

At the beginning of 8th grade, I fell into a little bit of a dilemma. My grades were dropping, and I didn't understand why because I was studying the same way I always had. However, not wanting to give up on myself, I searched the internet for a new way of studying, yet the online resources I found didn't really help me. I finally only stumbled on to my strategies from trial and lots of errors. Therefore, this blog is dedicated to my 8th grade self. I'm finally giving her the resource she wanted.

Semantic Vs. Shallow Encoding

This is one of the reasons I did really bad in 8th grade because I had no understanding of what this meant. Semantic encoding is when you take in information based off of comprehending the material. Shallow encoding is when to take in material just based on the appearance of the word. Obviously, when you study based on semantic encoding it stays in your memory better, and you can apply the material better on test day. However, I used to have no understanding that studying for a test by basing my understanding off of how the information looks on Quizlet won't help me succeed on test day.

Especially with ADHD and Anxiety, I have learned that for me to actually feel good about the test material and do well I have to have a deep understanding of what the material actually means and how it all connects. You can learn that the Calvin Cycle in photosynthesis produces glucose. However, if you don't actually understand how the whole cycle works, you are not going to be able to apply your knowledge on test day or remember it as well long term. Bottom line: If you are having trouble on test day, ask yourself if you are studying the surface of the material or actually digging into the depths of the material.

For more info on this: article 1 and article 2

When Studying For Material Based Tests (MAIN SUBJECTS minus math and vocab)
  • Rewrite your notes: I am not going to touch on this too much because I talk about this a lot a lot (if you want to hear more about this: my blog post on the science behind my notes and how I make my notes). In short, I love rewriting my notes because it allows me to make connections and truly understand the information (...semantic encoding). Also, it helps me organize my thoughts (because sometimes I feel like I have all the information jammed in my head but can't make sense of this- writing it out helps me fix this)

  • Talking out the material: Going over material out loud really helps you mentally sort through the material. Also, it is a good way to practice retrieving the material like you will have to do on test day.

  • Creating mental maps: This is something that is so helpful. When rewriting your notes, using a textbook to take notes, or anything similar, pay attention to the position of the the words and how the page looks. This sounds very weird. However, on test day, if you are stuck on a question, picture in your mind the page where you knew you rewrote the information on that question or what the textbook page the information came from. This really helps me because I start thinking about the information on that page and usually it lands me up with the answer.

Studying For A Math Test
  • Write out the material: I have notebook full of graph paper just for rewriting my math notes. Writing it out helps me understand the information and really helps me especially with harder math concepts. One of the first blog posts I wrote was about math notes. It is really short but it explains more about how I do my math notes: math notes

  • Practice until you feel confident and then do two extra problems: This strategy is pretty self explanatory. You may feel good enough about a math problem and then during test day freeze up and forget how to solve it. This strategy increases test confidence, helps you solve problems faster, and helps you not freeze up on test day.

For Vocab (for language classes)

This is the only time I recommend using Quizlet (an online flashcard site). When you have to memorize vocab words for word language classes, Quizlet is usually the best option. It gets the job done.

Final Statements:

I hope this helps anyone who needs it. I have left a graphic organizer below explaining this whole thing if needed.

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