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student mama's - studying strategies

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
hi mama's,

i feel my mommy brain has slowed down my studying skills quite a bit.

plus the fact that i have returned to school 25 years after i left it.

so how does one memorise. first let me say flash cards dont work for me.

studying biology is like learning a whole new language. how do i do it?

any clues, ideas?

i would be sooo grateful.
post #2 of 13
studying right before bed leads to better retention of the information. I think there are color book study aids that you color with colored pencils that help alot, can you partner with another student and quiz each other? Post vital information that must be memorized all over the bathroom, kitchen etc, they make good decorations

If I was having trouble I would copy things over and over and over till they sunk in.
post #3 of 13
If I need to memorize something I usually can. Here are some memorization tasks that work for me:

Mapping out everything on one giant piece of paper.
I put the main topic in the center and then spokes off to sub-topics that again spoke off to sub-subtopics and so on until I can break everything down into quick facts. This way I can see how everything is related. This helps me because I like to see things within a context.

Trigger keywords
Writing out my notes. Then writing a summary of my notes. Then writing a brief outline of my summary...until I have simple list of keywords that will trigger a memory flow back to my original detailed notes.

Reading out loud.
This helps because I am seeing and saying the words and hearing them too.

Mnemonics letter strings.
String together the first letters of a group of words into a real or nonsense word. Like Roy G. Biv for the colors of the rainbow.

Aromatherapy coding. Sounds silly but it has worked for me. Code each subject to a scent and then take that scent into the exam.

Hope this helps.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
i think writing and rewriting is the way for me to go. i get the concepts if they are explained well to me. however its bio and botany that is throwing me off. i have to come up with something to remember calocedrus decurrens (incense cedar). the worst is i feel i know and then i go and totally crimp on the test. as i come out of the test all teh correct answers come running out of my brain. have to figure out how to keep anxiety at bay.

oooh i have a trick - i try adn do my mnemonics either as a joke or sex related and i NEVER forget them.
post #5 of 13
Find a study partner that has the same learning style as you and wil push you.

kim
post #6 of 13
For me it is starting early and studying often. I am always amazed how much I retain when I take the time to look over notes for a few days as opposed to the night before the test.
post #7 of 13
I don't know if you'll be able to do the amount of memorization you'll need for biology type classes without some flash-cards. But going through notes and making the flash-cards is a huge part of the process---for me anyway.

And take notes. Lots of notes. Which can turn into outlines. Which turn into the dreaded flash-cards. At that point, you've focused, analyzed, summarized and re-written 3 times. The rest is making it stick.

Hey, got me through law school! I wish I'd done it as an undergrad---I might actually remember something!

ps. I know you said flashcards don't work for you, but I found the process of making them to be huge. By the time I decided what needed to be on the cards, I had spent enough time and effort on the subject, that a fair chunk of the work was done. I don't recommend it, but I became a master -crammer. I would get to where I could run the flash-cards in my head as I was falling asleep. So it all depended on what I put on those cards. The few times I tried to use commercial cards, it didn't work. The efforts of going through my notes and decided what I needed to memorize were the key to pulling it off.
post #8 of 13
Flash cards don't work well for me either. What i do is just rewrite my notes a ton. I read the book early on, and start studying very early. I find the more i rewrite something the more it sticks.
My husband records his lectures and just re-listens to them everyday before the test. This works well for him, but not for me just because we don't learn the same way.
post #9 of 13
So I had this great friend in undergrad who helped me memorize bio. We drew pictures! LOTS of pictures!

Meiosis, Mitosis, all the anatomy structures, they all have pictures!!! We got HUGE pieces of paper, and just drew all of it out and labeled it until our hands turned the color of the markers. It worked great!! And flashcards work for me, but this was WAY better!!
post #10 of 13
I do a combination of the PP's methods. I have two bio courses this semester.

First off, I make sure that I go to class, pay attention, take notes, etc. Most of my instructors print off powerpoint slides/outlines, but I try to add to them if possible.

My micro prof, to put it mildly, sucks. I am teaching this entire 5 credit, 300 level course to myself. My most recent bio course before that was 10 years ago.

I read the chapter, taking notes on notecards as I go, basing them off of the prof's slides. If it is possible to draw some sort of diagram for the concept (or copy one from the text), I do it on a huge (~8x5) notecard. Things like glycolysis, the lac operon, transcription, translation, anything chemical - it gets drawn in black Sharpie pen, labeled, and colored with colored pencil.

Then I make an outline out of my notecards, using Microsoft OneNote. Love this program. It is a lot like Word, but you can click anywhere on the page and start typing. You can paste pictures easily, too. I will often move pics over from the instructor's powerpoints.

If there are any things that I think that the prof might make us "compare and contrast" on an exam, I make a table. If there are any step-by-step instructions, I will make a section for those, and try to come up with a mnemonic. Terms - they get a special set of flashcards.

Well, that's my system. Good luck!
After this, I will sometimes teach my husband about the topic at hand. This works better for introductory courses - micro is too far gone and too fast for me to use this technique.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post

I read the chapter, taking notes on notecards as I go, basing them off of the prof's slides. If it is possible to draw some sort of diagram for the concept (or copy one from the text), I do it on a huge (~8x5) notecard. Things like glycolysis, the lac operon, transcription, translation, anything chemical - it gets drawn in black Sharpie pen, labeled, and colored with colored pencil.

Then I make an outline out of my notecards, using Microsoft OneNote. Love this program. It is a lot like Word, but you can click anywhere on the page and start typing. You can paste pictures easily, too. I will often move pics over from the instructor's powerpoints.
e.
I love big notecards too! When I was taking cell and molecular biology and organic chemsitry in undergrad school I used notecards all the time. It really helps to draw out diagrams and label everything. Just writing notes does not do it for me. The act of drawing things out and labeling really helped me.

This time around for graduate school my lap top came with Microsoft OneNote and I am also in love. This program is awesome. It lets you set up notes in a very unique and personal way. It is a good program to use if you take your lap top to class to type your notes.
post #12 of 13
I retain information by reading, reading, and then, when my eyeballs feel like they are about to fall out of my head, I read what I've already read again.

I also use flashcards which work for me because once I do them enough I can close my eyes and "see" the information I need.

Writing it down helps as well.

It isn't good for long-term retention but as all of you mamas surely know, it is often hard to find time to study. So I cram a lot.
post #13 of 13
Going from "Macro to Micro" works for me. I review all the material so that I feel like I have a general framework for the unit. Then I read it again and write down the main concepts. Some teachers post study guides detailing the key concepts on the test.

Then I memorize the key concepts, either by reviewing them by writing them all down neatly and reading them over (if it is multiple choice) or with flash cards (if it is fill-in-the-blank recall). I know you said you don't like flash cards, but I use them if I have to memorize for a fill-in test, because in that type you HAVE to know it, you can't just recognize the right answer among multiple choices or true/false. The way I do it is once i know a card I set it aside, that way the stack gets smaller and smaller until it is just the cards where I have trouble.
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