Studying How We Study


Theo Cotsonas, Senior Staff Writer

As the fourth quarter begins, the testing season gets closer and closer. PARCC, AP tests, and county finals are approaching fast, and conscientious students are busy studying. Some students choose not to because they simply don’t care, some don’t because they don’t have the time, and many don’t study because they feel that studying doesn’t work for them. In this article I plan to give solutions to this dilemma, address the lack of success for students, while also making sure studying can be done in a timely manner.

One of the first key elements of effectively studying is picking the right place. UC Irvine neurobiologist Christine Gall and Gary Lynch have found that your brain continually tries to change its environments when active. So it is best for you to study in many different areas, rather than one. Also, pick a place where your mind can be focused on studying rather than outside distractions. You want to be away from visual and auditory interruptions because your brain is vulnerable when you’re focused on a specific task like studying. It sounds bleak and insufferable, but your studying efforts will be most effective in a quiet environment.

Another great resource is quizzing, rather than re-reading. You won’t retain information unless you actively utilize and apply concepts. This is known as retrieval practice, and it will ensure that you remember the information you have learned. Testing or quizzing reinforces memories on the long term and one is better able to call on this information later.

A final key study element is to always have a goal. Without a singular directive, it is easy for you to lose track of what you want to accomplish. Whether it is a certain amount of time for which you want to review or an amount of material you’re seeking to cover, focus on an objective will culminate in better command of the material you want to master.

Mind this research Raiders. You want to perform this testing season, yes, but these habits will shape your success all through life. The means through which people learn and retain information do not stop with high school or even college.