Parents and students often ask me how to study. I believe that the best study tip is to summarise the information and then memorise the summary. Students may choose to summarise information by writing information in a linear format, or by creating a mind map which is a visual representation using words, pictures and colours. I often find that students don’t include enough of the important information in their summaries. When they are required to answer questions in tests and exams, they don’t know enough details to answer fully. This is often the case with subjects like Biology and History.
I always tell students that it is not enough to simply summarise the information. While the process of summarisation helps one understand the information, most students aren’t able to recall all the information sufficiently after doing this. The next step is to memorise the summary. Many students these days don’t realise that they have to memorise information to do well in tests and exams. If you glance through The Answer Series book for Grade 11 Biology, you realise how much detail is required to get full marks for an exam question. Students need to know this information off-by-heart. It is not sufficient to merely read through one’s textbook two days before an exam! I teach students to memorise their summaries and then test themselves the next day to see whether they can still recall the information. It’s important to test yourself the following day to ensure that the information goes from your short-term memory into your long-term memory.
This study tip really helps students improve their results. I’ve worked with many Matric students in particular who have given me feedback that this tip was highly effective in helping them achieve their academic goals.
What is your best study tip?