The Chemist: Study Tips

Hey Everyone! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with your friends and family. Any student knows that after Thanksgiving break comes finals so to help you prepare, we decided to give you some study tips. I'm Type A so some of these are going to be about how to be organized enough so studying is easier, but here we go.

1. Color Code!

This is hands down my favorite thing to do (which is why I throw this in here in a lot of posts). But honestly, it helps. You can associate a certain topic with a pen color and that helps you compartmentalize the information better, making it less likely to confuse yourself. You can do this for each of your classes or each chapter, just know you'll need a lot of colored pens.

2. Rewrite your notes.

For classes that have cumulative exams, it can be very overwhelming. My advice is to start by rewriting your notes. Take it chapter at a time, maybe start from the most recent information to the stuff from the beginning. The goal here is patch up the holes in what you've learned all semester and to dust off the cobwebs from things from August. Putting stuff down on paper is a surefire why to remember it, since you're actively thinking about it as you're writing.

3. Connect the dots.

A lot of what you learned has built on top of each other so when you're studying for finals you should be able to put those connections together. Compare and contrast, work out math problems, figure out why certain principles work together, etc. Some part of your studying should be devoted to thinking about the big picture ideas of what you've been learning for the past few months. It helps you understand the individual pieces together by understanding the entire puzzle.

4. Study Groups!

Now, here's a disclaimer: THIS IS A COMPLEMENT TO YOUR SOLO STUDYING. You need to come to a group study date already familiar with the information. Doing this ensures that the group outing will be productive. Use this time to quiz each other and fill in any gaps you may have, but again DO NOT USE THIS AS YOUR ONLY OPTION TO STUDY. At the end of the day, it's you taking the exam and no one can help you when the time comes.

5. Do not cram.

My last piece of advice is to actually carve out time to study. Cramming is going to get you nowhere in the long run, so try not to make it a habit. The goal is to do well on the exam and actually retain some of the information - you never know when you're going to use it. You need to also not wait until the last minute to start studying, that's not effective either. Studying a little bit at a time is a lot better than all at once. It allows you time to actually look at the material and you'll retain a lot more of it too. Plus it's a lot more manageable doing it in small doses than large chunks.

Hopefully one or more of these tips are useful. Let me know other ways you study for exams.

Good luck on your exams!

-The Chemist


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