So this past week and this week also my life has been pretty much all studying. Finals are this week and since I am in 12th grade I only have four classes. So thankfully only four finals. AP English, AP United States Government, Pre-Calculus, and AP Chemistry. English, Government, and Pre-Calc I have pretty well in hand. AP Chemistry is really my only hard class. Originally I wanted to take AP Environmental Science this year, because that is what I want to major in in college. Unfortunately, my schedule didn't work out to take APES (AP Environmental Science). So I decided to take AP Chemistry, I knew it was going to be a hard class and I knew it was going to be a lot of studying to get an A. I was ready though once I committed to taking the class. So far in high school I have gotten A's in every single class that I have taken. I'm very proud of myself that I have done that and going into AP Chem I wanted to keep that tradition going.
So I committed. I breathed in and breathed out, and I knew that I was going to get an A. Now a few days away from the end of first semester I have one of 3 or 4 A's in the class. My classmates are shocked when I tell them my grade and some don't believe it, they think I have a C or a D like them. I don't. They ask me how I have an A? My answer is simple. I study. Study what? Everything. That's the difference, while most of my classmates don't want to exert all that much effort, I am willing to. Now I realize that may sound egotistical, but when it comes down to achieving what you want you either commit or you don't.
To me studying is a mindfulness exercise. I can sit down and relearn what we have been taught over the past semester. It does get hard when I have to relearn things from August, the very beginning of the semester, but if I follow a plan that I set out at the beginning it becomes easier. When I make those studying plans it usually goes something like this.
What will be on the test?
First, I try to get from the teacher what will be on the test so I know what to study. Now not every teacher knows in advance enough what they will put on the final, but it helps to get an idea. So if I can I try to get at least a little idea of what exactly will be on the test. Don't be afraid to ask!
How wide ranging is the material?
Once I have an idea of what will be on the test I can determine how wide ranging it is. Does the material that will be tested go all the way back to the beginning? Only a few weeks? What? This step is vital, because then from this you can figure out what to study.
What do I know the least?
Once I have an idea of what I need to study I can figure out what I must really relearn, because I know it the least. Usually a practice test or quiz helps with this step, if not then quizing yourself on some of the material and seeing what you do not remember. Once you figure this out you must focus on these topics, but remember that what you do know can be easily forgotten, so study that too.
This is helpful to organize your thoughts and the simple facts that need memorizing. Organize the guide in a logical, flowing way to better follow your ideas. The broader, maybe even more important ideas, that are harder to memorize, can be better explored in the next steps.
This is also important, but not as much as some other steps. Reacquainting yourself with the text can help.
Writing is one of the best ways to learn things, writing by hand that is. If you write down what you need to memorize or what you must learn your brain creates a physical connection to it and you will better remember it.
Quiz yourself and others. Talk with friends about the material and the test. Discussion breeds knowledge.
Practice and Practice and Practice Again!
This is vital. Doing practice problems or questions better familiarizes you with what will likely be on the test and gives you the tool set to attack problems from many different angles.
Hopefully my musings and advice on studying will help you in your own endeavors, not just at school, and who better to give advice on studying than someone who has been doing it all their life so far! :) Go and study, because in life knowing more will always be a virtue. You can never know too much and as my mom always says, "It's good to know things, Jarod."