: Goepark - I wish I were one of those lucky ones who never has to study. Far, far from it!
First of all, keep in mind that even though I work full time and have a toddler, I'm only taking one class this semester. So, that makes a difference, I'm sure.
Any advice the prof. offers about how to study for the test or things to look out for, I pay special attention to and try. Almost every night after DS goes to sleep, I study. I only give myself one day off a week from studying, with or without a test coming. I always read the chapters we're studying all the way through and make sure I'm ahead of the teacher's lectures chapter-wise. I don't want to hear a lecture on something I haven't read about yet, to put it more simply.
I tape the lectures and listen to them in the car on my way to and from work. I make sure I have my homework done and ready to turn in at least one day early in case there's an unforeseen problem lurking ahead, like DS getting sick or me getting sick, or who knows what! I make notecards (flashcards - which Prof. D suggested) of definitions and important people that I'm pretty sure I'll need to know and I do this at least 2 to 3 weeks before the test. Which usually means I start making the new flashcards as soon as the test from the old material is done.
Then I casually go through the cards one week, the next week I get quizzed by DH reading the definition and I have to tell him what the word is and who originated the word (since it's a psych class, it's important to know who came up with those words.)
Then, a week or so (maybe more) before the test I take one card at a time and study it until it's memorized word for word. This is good because I know I may not remember everything exactly, but I'll have enough memorized that I can fill in the pieces. KWIM?
A week before the exam, Prof. gives us 12 possible essay questions (she then picks 6 of those and has us answer 3 for the test) so I make sure I write out the answers to all 12 essay questions, then I see which ones I would have the easier time remembering and make outlines of those answers. I try to do this with about 8 or 9 questions. Then I just make sure I know enough of the basics of the others in case I get stuck writing those.
Once I get the essays down pretty well, I quiz myself and try to answer the essay without any of my notes or outlines. I see how I did and then I write out the answer as it should be. I do the same method with the flashcards too. I write out what I think the definition of a word is and then check it and write out what the proper answer is. For some reason, this last study method works wonders for me. Something about correcting the mistakes makes the right answers stick better. It takes a lot of work. The week before a test I don't take a normal lunch, I sit at my desk and study. I'll also sometimes come into work at 6:30 so I can study 30 minutes before I'm on the clock. Then, I'll take about 5 min or so periodically while DS is awake, go to the garage under the guise of doing laundry and study some then.
I also only allow myself 15 min. of straight study time and then I give myself a break. I've read that watching something funny right after studying makes the material stick better (I have no idea why!) So I try to watch something funny during that little break.
Then, while I'm taking the test, I put about 4 or 5 peppermints on my desk and eat those throughout the test. Peppermint is supposed to help clear and focus your mind. (doesn't hurt anyway!)
I hope those ideas help someone. I am shocked that I'm doing so well in school. I'm so anxious that I'm sure I'm over-studying, but I don't really care.
I had to do a presentation in class yesterday and I had so over-prepared for it that my part of the presentation was as detailed and long as the one master's student in our group. The undergrad's work was much more fluffy and general. Anyway, a grad student (who wasn't in my group, BTW) came up to me after class and said I was one of the best public speakers she's ever heard. I was absolutely shocked. I am terrified of public speaking and my experience 5 years ago when I was in school before was that I was a terrible public speaker and that when I'd look out into the class people would look at me with pity because I was shaking so badly! Anyway, man, there's nothing like the school of hard knocks to really teach you how to be a good student. I just treat school like it's my job and that I'll get fired if I don't do a good job. KWIM? There's not an option for me to do badly.