There’s no right way to study. Everyone retains information differently, and different people swear by different study methods. Part of the scholastic experience is learning about how your brain works and how you can use it most effectively. One advantage you have in your study habits already at Pickens Technical College is the experiential side of learning is taken very seriously. You learn by doing as much as you typically have to recite information from a book, so even if you struggle with study guides and memorization, you can still learn the skills you’ll need by using your hands in most classes at PTC.
But, just as there will always be opportunities to shine with hands-on experience, there will inevitably be test days when you’ll have to prove what you know in writing. Even if you find a way to survive these tests and complete your course, many industries require you to take a test to receive your final certification to work in your field.
Let’s look at three distinct study methods that will help you ace your tests. These examples aren’t meant to be followed to the letter, nor are they an exhaustive list of all the possible ways to feed information to your brain to be regurgitated later.
Read and Take Notes
My brain is wired to remember things better if I write them down. Seeing a concept explained in the text is perfect for my brain, and writing notes on those concepts helps solidify the information.
The key to this study method, like any other, is organization. Write out your notes in a way that is easy to review, then go over the notes over and over until you only dream of the information in the test. An organization can be as elaborate or as simple as you want, the key is to be able to access parts of your notes that you might not be as familiar with as you study. You want to be able to quickly find weak points in your knowledge that need to be bolstered with your notes.
Make Your Own Test
I’ve lumped mock tests and flashcards into one general study habit. A couple of things to remember before you start writing out all those flashcards: your knowledge of the subject will only be as good as your mock test or flashcard, and you have to spend time studying your mock test before you can expect yourself to ace it. The key to this study method is that creating the flashcards or test questions for your friends to ask you is an act of studying in and of itself.
Another study method is to take out all materials, notes, book chapters, manuals, etc. and start poring through them. When you reach something you’re unsure about, you concentrate on that weak point until it becomes strong. Some people swear by writing out answers over and over to remember information. Some like to speak it out loud, talk about it with others. Looking for holes in your knowledge can be dangerous at times, however, because it could lead to you forgetting concepts you thought you had down. A general overview of all the information you have can help with this.
These study methods are bendable to your needs, of course—and not every study method is easily applied to every subject. In practice, it won’t be counterproductive to use several aspects of these study methods at once to learn the material, ask good questions, and ace every test. Everyone’s brain works differently, so don’t confine yourself to these three study methods, either.