Don’t Follow Everyone’s Study Tips

You may think you are doing yourself well but, stop right there. Think about whose study tips you are following first. I know this first-hand.

As a goal-driven person, I am always looking for new ways to improve and make myself better. For school, that means I search and try new efficient ways to study so that I can make the grades that I desire. However, when it comes to studying, everyone has an opinion.

I have come to realize that everyone is different so, studying efficiently is going to look a little different for every person. Here’s where I start inserting my own opinions about study tips, read at your own risk.

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In my first semester of pharmacy, I studied the way I always studied: I read through slides multiple times, rewrote notes and used tons of highlighters.

It took some time and my hand would get cramped up from all the writing but, I was making A’s and I retained what I learned after exams too. So, it worked. My grades seemed to come easy for me. I mean the first semester of Pharmacy is way easier than all the others but, at the same time, there were people struggling and I wasn’t one of them.

Anyways, some time came during the school year and we had to take a survey on our study habits. How long we study every week, what we do, etc.

My school is a research university so they are always asking us to take some type of survey. But, I digress, at the end of the year, they analyzed all results and sent back study tips on how to improve study skills in order to get the most out of your studying.

My results basically said I was a passive studier and needed to be more active in my study approach. So, highlighting wasn’t an active approach and you are less likely to retain information, neither is just rereading notes which was my go-to strategy at that point especially when I knew my notes were too much to re-write. I took those results and ran with it.

I attempted to be more of an active studier and started to highlight less and summarize my notes like they said I should in the recommendations.

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What I really should have done was continue to study my regular way because studying just became harder for me. I was less motivated and my grades started dropping.

At first, I blamed it on the P2 year having a lot of material and our sucky schedule. But, then my schedule changed and although the material became harder, there was something that was just not quite right. I felt like I was becoming dumber or losing my memory and set out to find out why.

How is it that I could remember tons of random facts from articles I read briefly but couldn’t remember what I studied for weeks?

Why was it that I got better grades when I went out of town for the weekend right before my Monday exam?

Here are a few things I figured out about myself and my studying. Some things were new and others I knew forever, for example, I am better off studying alone than in groups.

But, I realized that my previous study habits were my study habits for a reason because they worked. I remember things better when I write it out because I am a tactile learner and highlighting things help me because I am also a visual learner.

When I am taking exams, I picture my answers and the slides that I read them on. Rereading works for me especially if I soak my notes in colorful highlighter because I find the notes more visually pleasing. I’ve done this since high school.

I cannot study in groups or listen actively. My mind definitely wanders off. Who’s mind wouldn’t during a 4 -hour lecture? Those techniques do not work for me.

I re-wrote my notes for those exams that I passed during the weekends I left town. I also used colorful pens or highlighted.

I paced around my apartment as I read my notes and listened to music in the background because music doesn’t distract me if it’s the right kind (Chillstep).

young woman thinking with pen while working studying at her desk
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All in all, what I’m saying is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you are getting A’s or B’s and retaining your knowledge, there’s no need to change your study habits to follow someone else’s study tips based on some crazy statistical analysis.

Sometimes the data is just that, data. You know yourself. If you aren’t happy with your grades or retainment of knowledge then, maybe it may be time to experiment a little.

Learn your learning style if you don’t know what works for you. There are tons of learning style quizzes online that are free that are helpful if needed.

Sometimes our study habits do change and what works for one class may not always work for another but, you just have to be open to trying new things and know when to change tactics before it is too late.

Thanks for listening to my rant,

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Shika Tamaklo is a pharmacist who graduated from Mercer University (2020). She is a college lifestyle blogger who writes on fitness, health, life struggles, creative side hustles and, occasionally dabbles in creative writing.

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