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The Reach

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Let’s #KISS: Keep It Simple & Study!

Let’s #KISS: Keep It Simple & Study!

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Sydney Pemberton, International Vice President for Division 3.

Okay Phi Theta Kappa, it’s finals time. For me, being in a medical program, studying is one of the most important things when it comes to getting good grades, so why is it sometimes so hard? Distraction and procrastination tend to be my biggest downfalls when it comes to studying.

But don’t worry — studying doesn’t have to be stressful.

They say (and by “they” I mean my grandma) that if you acknowledge something at least seven times it will go to memory, so I’m not risking it. With the help of a couple of Phi Theta Kappa members, I have put together seven simple study habits that might help you to succeed.


Your professor just assigned you 1,000,001 chapters in your dreaded textbook to review before the big test and you just aren’t that in to reading. I get it. That’s me.

However, I’ve learned throughout my educational career that reading the chapters can make a world of difference in knowing the information. Follow along and highlight what the instructor went over in class, then go back later and re-read your highlights. This way you’ll know you are studying the key information. Simply scanning over key terms and visual aids are also great ways to make reading a little easier.

2. Stacks on Stacks … of Notecards

Red ones, green ones, blue ones, I’m a notecard addict. Flashcards are a great way to get a lot of information fast! I write vocabulary words, draw concept maps, and list key ideas on my notecards. I even color coordinate them to meet the needs of my photographic memory.

Flipping through notecards of information allows you constant repetition of a subject. Get your mom, dad, roommate or friends involved, have them flip through the notecards with you and ask you questions on the subject. Teaching someone else on a matter can also help improve your understanding of a subject.

3. Play your strengths

Find out your own learning style. Visual learner, auditory learner, tactile? Whatever your learning style is, find ways of studying that are going to help you get the most out of your time.

4. Get those Endorphins Goin’

Valerie Baumann from the Beta Beta Psi Chapter at Madison College in Wisconsin uses exercise as part of her helpful study habits. She takes her books and study materials to the gym with her and claims that exercise helps her to “relax her mind and absorb the materials.” This may be a great way to exercise your body and your brain at the same time.

5. Take Breaks

Late-night study sessions before a huge test can leave you anxious and tired the next day. Be sure to take care of yourself. Eat “real” food (not that chocolate you’re hiding from your roommates), take a shower, listen to music or do something fun to take your mind off of studying. Even with a 10-minute break you can refresh your mind and be open to taking in more information.

6. Doodle

Yes, I said it. Doodle. For you visual learners out there, Ariel Bradford at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan uses doodling to help her remember important facts in the classroom. “One time we were talking about some microorganism [in class] that made me think of Plankton from SpongeBob, so I doodled him! Totally helped me remember that part of lecture,” she said.

7. Ask Questions

How are you supposed to study something that you don’t understand? Ask your professor — they’re the experts! In the middle of class and have a question? Write it down and get with the teacher right after class for clarification. Find out when they have office hours and schedule an appointment; that way, you know the information and can be prepared for your exam. Use your resources — your instructor, the library and online databases are available to you to answer questions and help you have a positive learning experience.

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