Student Success Stories: Adrianne W.
Adrianne W.'s Academic Success Story
In high school I only studied at the desk... I would sit there for hours trying to make sense of textbook chapters and memorize terms/concepts/outlines. I hated studying. In college, as an attempt to prevent the freshman 15, I started going to the gym a few times a week. When reading magazines got old, I started taking my class notes to the gym. Running the bicycles, walking the treadmill or jogging the elliptical I casually skimmed my notes without any effort of trying to study. When I went to class I was amazed at all the concepts I had remembered from not studying at the gym -- and it reduced the pressure/stress/time when tests came around. [Read more about current study-workout schedule later in this story.]
My overall study method: I generally wait until a few days before the test to start studying.... one day before per chapter. (Thus, five days before if there are five chapters.) Inevitably there is always a time crunch and my goal plan never works out. But taking notes to the gym the week before a test increases retainment of information and easy recalling on test day.
My test study method: If multiple choice test, I just review notes continuously to be familiar with concepts. Also go to the book website to review online questions...many teachers pull questions from this source or similar ones. It will let you know what you need to keep studying. If there are essays involved, I make sure I can explain the concepts outloud or can make my own outline... go to a friend and try explaining the material. Putting yourself in the teachers shoes forces you to learn the information better. If it is math related, the only way is hit the paper and pencil and redo some typical problems from the past few chapters to check your understanding.
My time management secret: Always have a planner with a month at a glance. Always know a week ahead of time what projects/test/quizzes are coming up even if you don't start studying for them yet. If you are aware of your study commitments, you wont overbook yourself with social events. Knowing not to schedule a weekend away in the big city with friends next month because that Tuesday a final 10 page paper is due is a wise choice... if you do things last minute at least give yourself a decent amount of time to reduce stress.
How I study for multiple exams: I break up the work so it doesn't get boring and strenuous. Set up a schedule of alternating times and locations to rotate... your brain wont get exhausted as easily. Classify your exams in order of difficulty... spread studying for difficult exams over the span of a few days. And try and reward yourself at the end of each day for accomplishing your goal... a dinner out or movie with a friend.
My overall study method: I always intend to have smaller study blocks through the span of a few days... but in the end I always end up cramming for a few hours the night before. But, some stress is relieved if you make the attempt to just review your notes one chapter a night the week before the test. Increased recognition from previous smaller study blocks eases the pain of studying the night before the test.
How I've overcome an initial bad grade: I have never received a bad grade since I started (1) study notes at the gym on a treadmill and (2) review notes starting a week before the test. I consistently have high grades... I find that lower (but still good grades) are related to time constraints from the class period.
My strategies for written assignments: Always start with a general outline to gather your ideas... anything on a scratch of paper will work. If there is time you can inquire with your teacher and other students. If you are writing at the last minute in a panic, an outline helps to guide your thinking and keeps your paper from going off on pointless tangents, especially if you are researching and writing as you go. Always take a break and plan on getting up early in the morning to proof read your essay.
How I succeed in team projects: Before making final decisions... pass a list around to get all the ideas out... don't let the determined extrovert take the group in an unwanted direction. Make sure ALL possibilities are recognized. Assign tasks to each individual and a form of communication with DEADLINES for everything. No one in the group will get anything done unless there are deadlines.
English, math, foreign language tips: English classes are tough so always write your paper early and get friends to read it and give you advice. Always go to a writing center at the school for tips. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! Foreign Languages -- do the worksheets as you go along in the class; set a goal to speak up at least 3 times in every class to reinforce the homework and learning; study vocabulary in groups to make it fun and connect motions to the words. Math -- hit the pencil and paper and do practice problems! As you do the homework star problems you had trouble with and be sure to revisit those problems the night before the test.
Weekly Exercise and Study Plan:
I have a unique work and study plan.
(1) begin one hour on a machine such as treadmill walking, elliptical or bicycle. Review class notes/ personal chapter outlines/ test review sheets/ handouts/ worksheets, etc. Do not need to stress "hard core" studying... just by simply casually reading these items while working out, your brain is engaged more than usual and more susceptible to retain information and recall information later in class/quiz/test. Many of my friends refuse to even try to multi-task saying its impossible... the fact is that many people exercise AND listen to music today or read a gossip magazine so they review these class items while moving the body. It is almost impossible to read a textbook chapter while running and bouncing up/down... So I suggest just something basic like class notes. You read a few points and ponder them, then move on. You will be surprised at how much you remember the next day when you go back to study or review the notes again. It is important to keep a relaxed frame of mind while going to the gym and just REVIEWING your notes... this is not hard-core cram time with typical view of studying in silence in the library.
(2) Follow-up with a 1 hour personal choice class -- I prefer something extremely cardio to relieve stress such as kickboxing, step, spinning, tae-bo, or dance cardio. But it can be something soothing such as a toning or yoga class. It gets adrenaline moving thru your body and endorphins make you feel great and energize you.
(3) After the gym I always eat a small protein snack and physically study AT a table. Your senses are still alert and I can retain anything I read from a new chapter in the textbook or I can review class notes a second time. The active state of the brain after working out decreases the amount of time needed to get thru a chapter and it is easier to organize the points/thoughts. Then when I am cooled down completely I shower and continue life. Many don't have time for the gym because of their studies... but why not combine the two? Its more effective -- exercising keeps the body healthy while alerting the brain which makes studying easier.
Only steps 2 and 3 from above.
On select occasion like the night before a test I will do only steps 1 and 3 because I don't have an extra hour to take an actual gym class.
Run on the beach for 3 miles and then study a bit afterwards while brain juices are flowing.
I feel healthier when I exercise and accomplished that I am fit AND have studied for the day.
After a big test I always have something fun planned as a reward before reloading and moving onto the next big test or assignment. Even if it as simple as making my favorite dinner.
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