--Original published at Tiffany'sCollegeBlog
For this spotlight blog, we had the option of choosing from a memory prompt, stress prompt, and a drug prompt. I chose to do the memory prompt because I think that looking at different study skills could help me use them during school or any other place that I need help studying.
Memory is retaining learned information or past events, or taking what we learned and being able to use it in the future. There are three processes that are involved with memory: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Encoding is putting information into a form the brain can understand and store. Encoding has many more aspects to it like failure and the different types of encoding. Storage is the process of storing memories in the brain and retrieval is receiving stored memories. Each of these processes can have failure if you didn’t learn something properly or if you didn’t have strong associations. Encoding failure means that you never really learned it in the first place and never got information into a form that the brain could understand. Storage failure is a biological disorder or some type of damage to the brain and retrieval failures have to have with the associations not being strong enough. Encoding allows transfer from working memory to long term memory. Working memory is what you are actively thinking about. You can typically hold 5-9 pieces of information and then we forget or it goes to long term memory. The best way to keep things in working memory is through rehearsal and repetition. There are multiple types of encoding like automatic and effortful. There is also phonological, visual, and semantic. With automatic encoding that means that you automatically remember something with no effort put towards it. Studying is done with effortful encoding where you have to work to memorize something. Phonological, visual, and semantic are more useful when it comes to studying I feel because some people are a visual learning, some are better at just listening, and for some it depends on what exactly you’re learning. When it comes to remembering your memory, you mentally search your brain for it and then if it’s located, it’s brought back to working memory. With retrieving memory, often you would look for retrieval cues or words and other stimuli that trigger the memory. Another thing you could look for is context effects. Typically, we tend to remember things better where we have first learned them, which is why in class, most students sit in the same seat so they can recall what they learned.
Effortful encoding is what we use mostly for studying. We have to work to memorize what is being taught to us. There are many ways to use effortful encoding and that is through organization, distributed practice, meaning, and elaboration. With organization, we remember things better if it’s organized while we learn the information, which is why a lot of teachers recommend the Cornell method of note taking. The Cornell method has notes but then a column for questions and organizing material by headings. It’s better to write notes the way they make sense to you and then review them later that day or the next day. Distributed practice has to do with not cramming things. Taking a lot of information in at once can confuse your memory and not all you to have connections. Studying a little bit of material over a long period of time is better and it’s easier to focus on newer material while just having to go back and refresh the old. You also can switch learning materials with other subjects. It gives you a break from one subject to focus on another. Meaning and elaboration kind of go hand in hand with each other. We remember better when we understand what we memorize and we elaborate more on the meaning and make the information personally relevant.
The first article I found has to do with studying skills for college students. It lists seven tips and how to go about doing those seven tips. Good habits when studying can make or break your GPA and doing these tips can help with how you study. The tips include: good notes= good grades, stay organized, unplug and reconnect, don’t cram, don’t over-study, find your zone, and take a break. Taking good notes isn’t something that everyone is good at but it is a good way to get the key points from a lecture and a textbook. Writing too many things can be strenuous and time consuming. Staying organized by having a planner or a calendar is a really good way to keep your commitments in order. Organizing your class materials is important as well. It’s easier to memorize if notes are in order and if they stand out with color or different fonts. Not having your phone can also be helpful because then you aren’t distracted and can focus in more with what you need to get done. Not cramming and over-studying is also a good way to keep sane and make sure that your study habits are the best they can be. Time management is a very good essential to make sure that you can get through what you need to. Everyone has their perfect place to study and it might not be the right one at first but it will be if you try many places out. Lastly, taking a break can be beneficial to you and it can help you continue to be energized through studying. I think that all of these are good study tips to stay off with if you are going into college. They explain where to study, to not cram (which is something a lot of people do), ways to stay organized and to always take a break and relax. I don’t think this article includes anything having to do with bad advice but having more to say the notes and organization would have been good to see. College students often get distracted by many things and once that happens sometimes they can’t get back on track.
The second article I found was focused more on studying for high schoolers. There are many study tips that high schoolers don’t necessarily follow because they just think about lunch or leaving school and hanging with their friends. The article includes ten tips to help high schoolers with studying and being prepared for school. The tips include: be engaged, take notes, and listen, keep up to date with your homework, have an organizational system in place, have a routine, have daily and weekly objectives in place, don’t procrastinate, have an ideal study station, unplug, log off, mute, and power down, manage high school stress, and lastly, take advantage of technology available. Being engaged in class can help you focus more on what you need to do to get a good grade. Taking notes, asking questions, and engaging in discussions can help with these. This article discusses using the Cornell method of note taking, which for some it can help and others it can just be confusing and make taking notes even worse. Keeping up to date with homework can help you with studying as well. Using a planner can keep you on top of things that are due and help you plan what to do each night if you have a big assignment. Have an organizational system can help tremendously. It helps things stay in order and you don’t lose anything. My personal organizational system is color coordination. I have a purple folder and a purple spiral, sticky notes, notecards etc. Having a routine can keep you in line and make sure that you keep to it or you will be unorganized. This one I feel is super important because all throughout high school people don’t want to do work. They would rather go to the football games and hang with tier friends but getting your work done or even starting it can go a long way. This one is also important. Studying in a loud place isn’t going to help you memorize anything and having a disorganized spot can make you stressed and not focused especially if you just have to clean and straighten it all the time. You want it to be comfortable but not too comfortable so studying in bed probably isn’t the best. I think this article was helpful and didn’t have any bad advice, but I do think some of the tips are more important than others. All these tips were explained in depth and makes it easier to go along through high school. Even if it doesn’t have to necessarily do with studying right away, it’s still helpful because all these things lead to studying well. All of these tips play a key role in effectively studying and focusing on what you have to do.
For studying skills, there are also many ways to help you memorize something so that you don’t have to go back and relearn. Repetition is the best way to memorize something. Just re-reading your notes isn’t sufficient enough but you can create questions with your notes and also rewrite them. Studying in situations that are similar to the exam are good as well, doing 15 minutes of one class and then 15 minutes of another class. Flashcards are also a very effective way on studying, only if you use them correctly. Going through note cards both ways can help with definitions and vocabulary. Shuffling them and going through the ones you don’t really know are also a really good way to frequently practice the ones you don’t know. I don’t prefer this study method but sometimes studying in groups can be effective as well. It works when there is plan to get done and it’s in action. When studying with a group, you should know the material first and not learn it with everyone but get everyone to help you understand things you don’t know.
The last article I found was advice for parents who have studying teens in high school or college. This article has a few tips for parents to help their children succeed. Some tips that it has for parents who have teens that need to study are: to learn effective study strategies, create weekly and daily plans and build rewards for a task that is accomplished. To help reduce a child’s stress and improve their grades, having a calendar that keeps track of assignments is beneficial, having a weekly planner to show a study plan and keep time of how much time is spent on one assignment and a checklist that shows what needs to be done that day and in what order they should be done can help. Along with those tips, location can be distracting if it’s not quiet or comfy, not having materials that you need can distract you because then you have to stop and look for the thing you need, and rewards. I think that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a snack or something but it could also be computer or phone time. This last tip is interesting because I’ve never thought about it. Keeping a worry pad so that teens who are distracted by their thoughts can write them down and worry about them later. I think that this is a good article and it doesn’t point out any bad advice. I think that this is a good start to getting a child on track with studying but there are more articles that may have a better sense of what to do and when. I also think that this article is very similar to the ones about college and high school students and it doesn’t say anything else that it very eye catching of a parent.