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Studying Strategies (Update with results)

CodograzanWardCodograzanWard Registered User regular
edited November 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm at university. It's my first semester. I feel like I'm already burning out and I'm only taking 12 hours.

It's chemistry that's kicking my ass, everything else is fine. I'm a nursing major and I'm taking a course that is a combination of chemistry and organic chemistry. I feel like I study all the time for this class. It just doesn't do me very much good. I bombed the last test and have done okay in the others.

I'm a hardworker. I consider myself very self disciplined. When I get a clear path to a goal, when I get a strategy, I execute it. The only problem is setting up that path and strategy. I don't think I study very well.

So here's my question: What kind of studying strategies did you find helped you the most for a difficult class? What helps you with burn out? What ways helped you the most in preparing for a test?


I'm kind of at a loss. Thanks in advanced.

CodograzanWard on

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    AumniAumni Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I'm at university. It's my first semester. I feel like I'm already burning out and I'm only taking 12 hours.

    It's chemistry that's kicking my ass, everything else is fine. I'm a nursing major and I'm taking a course that is a combination of chemistry and organic chemistry. I feel like I study all the time for this class. It just doesn't do me very much good. I bombed the last test and have done okay in the others.

    I'm a hardworker. I consider myself very self disciplined. When I get a clear path to a goal, when I get a strategy, I execute it. The only problem is setting up that path and strategy. I don't think I study very well.

    So here's my question: What kind of studying strategies did you find helped you the most for a difficult class? What helps you with burn out? What ways helped you the most in preparing for a test?


    I'm kind of at a loss. Thanks in advanced.



    Ask your classmates for help, or visit the professor on their office hours and talk strategy - results will vary on this, but generally if you're a smart kid it may just be the way the material is presented that can be giving you trouble. If other classmates are also having trouble see if you can't get a study group to meet during the week.

    I think the biggest thing to help you from burning out is realizing you're not the sole resource you have available.

    Aumni on
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    L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Take this. Look over exams from previous years to see what the important parts are, since I suppose you're not going to be doing any more chemistry in the future you can ignore the bits that are left out. The real bitch with organic chem to me (I did the med student first year chemistry paper last semester but I'm a physics major/chem minor, it was easily the hardest class) was figuring out the bits that were actually important to learn, did you do chemistry at high school? If not I would recommend looking at some more basic stuff first to get a handle on it, chemistry is almost all building more and more on previous knowledge from my experience. If it's a class that's focused for med/nursing students it could quite possibly end up getting curved heavily at the end.

    L|ama on
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    LailLail Surrey, B.C.Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    If your professor has office hours, go and have a chat with him/her. Tell the prof what you've told us. If they're even the slightest bit useful they should give you a pretty good outline of what you need to know and might even give you an inside tip or two of what will be on the exams. And honestly, I think there are a lot of profs out there, if they see a student is trying really hard, they will even throw a couple of extra marks here and there if they see the student needs them.

    Do your readings. Do any assigned exercise questions. Do the questions that weren't assigned. If your answers are incorrect and you're not sure how to get the correct answer, ask someone. If you want to be hardcore, throw away all your answers and do them again.

    Lail on
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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I don't think there's any way to stop burnout, other than "if you don't keep studying you'll fail the class and have wasted time and money"

    Zombiemambo on
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    Sir Headless VIISir Headless VII Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Study at the library or somewhere that isn't your house. You'll be a lot more productive that way.

    Sir Headless VII on
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    GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I don't think there's any way to stop burnout, other than "if you don't keep studying you'll fail the class and have wasted time and money"

    I agree. In college it's sometimes necessary to just step back and say "You know, the best I care to manage in this class is a C", and then just focus on passing.

    Chem was fun though. I got to take chem for engineers, the expedited version with no labs. The professor (not a lecturer) teaching it would get annoyed with students sleeping and would set up the lecture hall with three balloons for all his classes for the day. Two filled with air, one filled with hydrogen. If he felt people weren't paying enough attention he'd put a match on a stick and poke one of them at random.

    He couldn't hear very well, obviously...

    GothicLargo on
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    KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I completely agree. I was a molecular bio major and I had a real hard time with Chemistry. No matter how much I studied, went to office hours (my prof was a dick though, not helpful) and studied with Chem graduates, I could never pass better than a C in those classes (I had two semesters regular chem, two Organic). Sometimes the night before the test, when I'd STILL trying to figure out the prep test questions, I had to just stand back, realize I wasn't getting anywhere, and go to sleep. You're lucky that this is probably your only chem class, so just muscle through and be glad you got out alive.

    Killgrimage on
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    DibsDibs Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    If the professor is unavailable, consider a tutor. They can break down the material you need to learn and explain it to you in a way you'll understand.

    Dibs on
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    CodograzanWardCodograzanWard Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Updating just to let you know that your advice is being listened to.

    I took that VARK test and got Kinetic and Reading as tied. I've looked a little into each strategy. In the past my studying has been limited to this:

    Read chapter, take notes, go to class and take notes on lecture, ask questions, review material, do practice problems, review material.

    New things:
    I've spoken to people outside of my social circle and have obtained copies of past tests that were obtained from previous students. The professor knows about this and doesn't mind. I've joined a study group of about 5 people that I can mete up with once a week. I spoke with my professor. He told me the test I bombed with a 54 had a class average of 70 and that I shouldn't worry too much about it (he drops the lowest test). He recommended a certain tutor. The tutor is really helpful and has turned every concept into a real world example that I can imagine actually happening instead of some abstract concept. He also provided me with some practice tests. I've been writing out the answers to questions instead of the letter of the answer and that has helped with memory. I've moved from studying at the noisy part of the library to the quiet zone.

    I've only got 4 more weeks, that's what's pulling me through. I'm shooting for a B since the nursing school keeps a close eye on science GPA. It's obtainable. I just need an 84 on the next exam and an 80 on the final.

    CodograzanWard on
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    SeolSeol Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    The tutor is really helpful and has turned every concept into a real world example that I can imagine actually happening instead of some abstract concept.
    There's nothing better than finding someone who can transpose concepts like this: a good tutor is invaluable, and this is also something you can often get out of a good study group. Sounds like you've found your solution: don't assume that study is something you can do effectively by yourself. When you hit a brick wall, then a small amount of collaboration is better than a shitload of old fashioned hard work.

    Seol on
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    RainbulimicRainbulimic Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Try thinking about the way you study. Different people have different methods which work best to stick the things in your memory. I've recently discovered I learn best in a practical situation, i.e. doing whatever it is I'm learning, rather than just reading the method.
    Other people find it better to make spider diagrams of certain topics, highlight things in colour coordination, or write things out over and over; memorise, cover, write, check, repeat methods. Experiment, see what works for you!

    Practice with past papers is fantastic, cause answering questions and getting them wrong means you're more aware of what you're weakest on. Also, universities especially, lecturers tend to re-use questions over the years, so there's always an advantage there.

    Rainbulimic on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2009
    I reccomend getting your ass banned from this forum. My god this place is a time sink.

    Scalfin on
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    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
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    L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Also make sure that you don't spend so much time on this subject that you neglect everything else.

    L|ama on
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    TheSuperWootTheSuperWoot Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Study at the library or somewhere that isn't your house. You'll be a lot more productive that way.

    Posting this while I'm at the library supposedly studying, but this advice is true regardless! Even if I get a little distracted with my laptop in the library, I'm miles and bounds more productive than when I'm in my dorm room.

    TheSuperWoot on
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    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Chemistry is a cruel cruel mistress.
    Even I, a biochem/chem major, has been bested a few times.
    Basically, work every problem you can and reduce all complex things to simple rules.
    Also study a lot!

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud on
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    HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I just wanted to throw in the comment, since no one has mentioned it so far, that universities often have help-type facilities, especially for the sciences and for math. These can range from open "lab" hours where you can go in and they have TAs or tutors there to answer any questions and to help you with any problems you have with your homework to 0 credit extra study groups and anywhere in between.

    Definitely check to see if anything is offered at your school, especially because these services are often complimentary! :)

    Hypatia on
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    TheOtherHorsemanTheOtherHorseman Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Random study tips that work for some people:

    1. Repeat things out loud repeatedly after reading them. Hearing them after reading them instead of just one or the other could increase retention.

    2. Try to explain concepts or rephrase things to yourself. This requires active thinking.

    3. Write things down. Even things that aren't equations or problems. The act of writing can help to cement stuff.

    4. It's getting colder, unless you live in some stupid perpetual-summer land. Crack a window. A chill in the air could make you more alert.

    5. Some constant, low-level background noise you can't really focus on might prove useful, if only to prevent you from going insane as you endlessly hammer chem into your brain. For late-night studying, I used to let infomercials drone on at low volume. Now, I play quiet music. Usually instrumental.

    Study tips that work for everyone:

    1. If at all possible, consistently get a full night's sleep the nights before you need to study and remember things.

    2. Only study for 50 minutes to an hour at a stretch, then take a 10 or 15 minute break to do something to recharge. Flash cartoons, mini-naps, pushups, whatever.

    TheOtherHorseman on
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    CodograzanWardCodograzanWard Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Thought you guys would like to hear the results.

    Test today, I left with a good feeling. Just like the test I bombed.

    The email message said the class average was a 69 which he was impressed by since it was higher than normal for that kind of test. I got really nauseated as I went to check my grade. I was shooting for an 80.

    Test grade spoilered:
    92
    WOOHOO!


    Thank you all for your advice. All of you guys really helped me through this one. All I have to do is get a 76 on the final and I got my B. Thank you all so much. It's hard to express my gratitude with text. I will be kicking ass for the rest of my university career with this kind of advice.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    <3<3<3<3<3

    CodograzanWard on
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