How To Better Absorb Textbooks When Preparing For An Exam
How To Better Absorb Textbooks When Preparing For An Exam

How To Better Absorb Textbooks When Preparing For An Exam

How To Better Absorb Textbooks When Preparing For An Exam

Heavily debated in society is whether college textbooks are worth reading. If you go to class and take notes, you should be fine. Right? Actually, textbooks are essential to take the time to read because they give you a baseline for that field of study. Textbooks, unlike websites or newspaper articles, have a detailed account of information that experts in the field of study can all agree on. They focus on fundamental concepts to understand the subject as a whole versus teaching you to believe with what one author believes.

Using the following techniques, you can better absorb textbooks while preparing for an exam. 

The protégé effect

One way to better absorb textbooks is to teach the material you read for yourself. Experts refer to this as the protege effect. Psychology Today explains, “Students enlisted to tutor others, these researchers have found, work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively.” Join a study group and break down the textbook together. Have each member become an expert on a chapter and teach it. Both you and the group will benefit and will be more likely to recall the information come exam time.

Mnemonic devices

You’ve probably used a mnemonic device before without even knowing what it was called. Flashcards and outlines are typically the first types of devices that teachers show students as a way to help retain material better. Other techniques we’ve previously discussed include chunking, rhymes, and acronyms. In a study conducted in 1967, Gerald R. Miller found that students who regularly used mnemonic devices increased test scores by up to 77%. If you are someone who has an easy time remembering lyrics to a song, put that to use! The “Fifty Nifty United States” is considered one of the greatest mnemonic devices of all time. Follow its example to create a new song for your next physics exam!

Mind palaces

A mind palace is an age-old mnemonic device that helps you memorize material and be able to recall it easier at a later date. In a previous article, How To Create a Memory Palace To Remember Information, we walked you through how memory palaces work and how to create one for anything! Start of simple to get the feel of how a mind palace works and then work your way up to include more detailed information. One law student we worked with told us that her memory palace included looking at the label of a milk carton. Keep the size of your journies separate rather than combining them to avoid any confusion and keep your exams separate.   

Get a good night’s sleep

The time of pulling an all-nighter is a thing of the past. Due to more studies about the impact sleep has on a person’s overall health, experts recommend prioritizing sleep. Dr. Philip Alapat, assistant professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, suggests students study at a time that they are most attentive and get at least eight hours of sleep daily. “Memory recall and ability to maintain concentration are much improved when an individual is rested,” he says. “By preparing early and being able to better recall what you have studied, your ability to perform well on exams is increased.” Try to keep study times during optimal brain function times, which generally means between the hours of 6-8 p.m. 

Iris Reading is able to teach you techniques to help you become a more productive student and increase your memory. Learn more about all of our courses today to finish the school year off strong and be a more desirable candidate on your upcoming job hunt.

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