Best Ways to Study and Get That A
By: Silvia DiPaola, Contributing Writer
Studying for difficult tests can be overwhelming both in high school and college, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the best ways to study for an A, even in those difficult math and science classes you may have to take!
Anatomy & Physiology
Anatomy and Physiology can be a challenging class for some because it is content heavy. It requires a lot of memorization for different parts of the body, including specific anatomical terms relating to body part positioning, the bones, muscles, nerves, etc. Depending on whether you are in college or high school, the depth of the material may be challenging as well.
Thus, the best way to study for this class is through flashcards. Lots and lots of flashcards! You can either write out the terms you need to know on index cards and review them physically, or you can use applications online to make them. Medical students love the online program Anki, which uses spaced repetition to reinforce topics you have learned prior, so you don’t forget them. You can make your own sets of flashcards or use others that people have already made and review them. Anatomy classes build up on topics you have already learned, which is why this technique of spaced repetition is so important. You can also use Quizlet (a fan favorite among high schoolers) but it doesn’t utilize this technique as well as Anki does. I personally like using Quizlet better for Anatomy due to its streamlined layout, but to each his/her own. You can also enlist memorization techniques like mnemonics.
Difficult history classes in particular can be an absolute pain with having to memorize dates, places, and specific events. The best way to study for history classes is the same as with Anatomy — flashcards! Both of these classes are mostly memorization-based and not as conceptual as other classes.
I’m currently taking AP Calculus BC right now, so this topic is pretty personal to me. It is a great deal more conceptual than Anatomy, so you need to make sure you understand concepts and theorems and not just memorize their wording. It is easy to fall behind in difficult math classes, so it is essential to ask questions, stay on top of your homework, and not slack off. The #1 thing to do to help study for difficult math classes is practice problems. You can borrow a calculus textbook from your local library if you run out of problems to do in your own textbook. Make sure it has an answer key in the back with explanations, so you know how to obtain the right answer. You can use a website called “Slader” for answers to your homework. However, you should not just copy them down and submit your assignment like this; make sure you understand why specific methods are being used, and use the answers to check your own work.
You may also wish to consider creating a “Mistake Notebook” where you write down every mistake you make while doing the practice problems. You should review this notebook at least twice a day before the exam. This will allow you to easily find and correct mistakes that you may make on exam day, so you will not repeat them.
General Study Tips
There are great ways to study for any type of class, whether it is conceptual or more memorization-based. You can try teaching a concept or explaining things to a friend, as if you were the teacher, and they were the student. If you can do so, it shows you have a pretty solid understanding of the material. Speaking of friends, a great study tip is to do it in groups. After all, two or more minds working on the same topic is better than one. You may find that your friend understands a topic and you don't, and they can explain it to you, or vice versa. However, it is easy to get off track when studying with friends, so make sure you are speaking academics only! Lastly, I cannot express the importance of office hours -- go to them whenever you have the chance! Professors can be a great source of extra help for you if you ask for it. However, since they are usually only a few times a week, you may have to figure out some difficult concepts for yourself.
College is a great deal more self-studying and learning than high school, but you also have a great deal more time to make those index cards, do those practice problems, and review your mistakes notebook. You should stay consistent and try to study a little for each class every day. It is important to know what type of class you are taking (memorization or conceptual-based) and base your study habits on that. Chemistry is more conceptual, biology is more memorization, and most math classes are conceptual. Study smarter, not harder, and get that A! I believe in you!
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