Tip of the month: New ways to study with flashcards
It’s time to rethink how we use flashcards. The traditional method of writing the question on the front and the answer on the back may not be optimal for learning. The brain can retain information better if the question and answer can be seen together, so a simple tweak to normal flashcards could make all the difference. Try folding a flashcard down the middle and writing the question on the left side and the answer on the right side. Review the flashcards by showing only the question side, guessing the answer, and then unfolding the card to see the question and answer together. As the brain recalls the information together during each round of review, the neural pathway becomes reinforced, thereby making the recall more efficient. Create separate groups for flashcards with difficult content versus easy content. Review the most challenging material at the beginning of a study session, and then once again right before going to sleep. These simple tips can help the brain process information more easily, boosting retention and test scores!
Countdown to Finals….
As the countdown to final exams begins, students are looking for more effective strategies to prepare. We recommend that students start by creating a master study plan using the Finals Binder provided by Academic Independence.
The first step to create a study plan is to gather all pertinent paperwork-- notes, homework, quizzes, tests, etc.-- and organize it by subject. Once the study materials for each class are in the appropriate tab, students should create a list of topics covered on the exam and prioritize the list based on performance on tests and quizzes. Looking back at prior assessments will help the student find trends in errors and specific content that needs to be reinforced. The most challenging material should be reviewed at the beginning of each study session.
Moreover, plot out the study plan on a calendar, including the amount of time to dedicate to each class and the topics and/or sections of chapters to be reviewed. Try to work on one class for no more than 2 hours at a time, and then switch to another subject to keep the brain engaged. Also, remember that study time is limited and valuable, so social media access should be limited during study hours. Be sure to include short breaks in the study plan that can be used for brief bouts of exercise or as a designated time to check social media and catch up with friends. The key is to set a timer for study breaks to stay on track.
Lastly, it is helpful to incorporate sample tests in the study plan. According to Dr. Spencer Kagan, the renowned expert in the fields of education and psychology, the best way to reduce test anxiety is to create sample tests. As students review, it is valuable to devise potential test questions based on the patterns of the teacher. As the exam approaches, the student can take their own practice test and determine which areas of weakness require further review. Formulating and sticking to a comprehensive study plan for final exams will give students a boost of confidence on exam day. If parents want to learn more about how to help students prepare for finals, please join us for our Parent Lunch & Learn on May 10th by signing up at http://academicindependence.com/parent-lunch-and-learn/