Guide for Adult Learners

It is that time of the semester – the time where looming final tests and projects become reality for students eager to finish their classes and become that much closer to earning their degree.

When you are faced with a number of priorities, how do you even begin to prepare for exams? Here are some study tips to help you make the best of your study time.

Set aside time.

This one’s a given, but it is important to determine how you will fit all of your studying in and schedule it in a planner. If you work 8 hours a day, you know what hours those are. If you have class or a seminar, you know not to schedule other meetings or activities at that time. Do the same by scheduling your study time into your day.

If you are an adult learner, it is even more important to set these schedules and expectations with your friends and family. You’ve taken the step to back to college and improve your life – be sure to keep others in the loop on your progress and success, and they should be able to understand your need for uninterrupted study time. The good thing to know is that a series of shorter study sessions distributed over several days is preferable to fewer but longer study sessions. This is especially important for those students who juggle work, family, and school.

Don’t try to learn it all.

Select a reasonable amount of material to study. Make a list of topics that are likely to be on the exam and prioritize these subjects based on how important they are and how much more you need to learn about them. Spend the majority of your time familiarizing yourself with the subjects you are less confident about, and do it at the beginning of your study session, when you have more energy and are ready to dive in.

Put it in your own words.

Don’t just memorize the information and move on. You should be able to explain the main ideas in your own words. By putting it in a context that you understand, you will have an easier time recalling it than if you simply repeated a concept over and over without really connecting to it.

Seek support

Check with the other students in the class to get their perspectives on what important information will be on the exam. Suggest a group session where you share study guides and talk about the material out loud. Verbalizing the information is the key to storing the material in your long-term memory.

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