A Typical Study Session

With the necessary equipment before you, spend four or five minutes thumbing through the entire area to be covered by the exam, page by page, in both textbook and lecture notebook. This part of the routine is intended to give you the scope of the exam, so you know how much work lies before you. This study session should take place about two days before the exam (not the evening before). In this 5-minute survey you are re-acquainting yourself with main headings; they are the framework upon which the details will hang.

Now you place a few sheets of scratch paper on the desk, and begin writing one title at the top of each sheet: Definitions; Theories, pro and con; Important People; Dates of Importance; Basic Principles; etc.

What does this procedure do for you? It gives you a different approach to material you have been over before. It is a new angle, designed to group similar things together.

Now comes the page-by-page reading of the assignment, as if you had never read it before. You enter each separate definition, or name, or idea on the sheet to which it applies, getting out a new sheet if you come to a new category. Some sheets will have very few entries; others will require
additional pages. Writing things out is far, far better than underlining. The explanation is quite simple: By underlining, you may deceive yourself into thinking you have actually absorbed the meaning, but by writing you almost have to absorb it. Write and rewrite as much as you can.

In a foreign language, the grammatical rules can be placed on one set of sheets, and on others the vocabulary can be broken down into the parts of speech, each to a sheet. In lining up vocabulary, fold the paper lengthwise, with the fold up-and-down. At the left place the English word, and at the right of the fold, the foreign equivalent. In mastering words this way, you actually also remember them by geography, too – a thing flash-cards by themselves do not provide. Also you can test yourself easily either by folding the paper over to hide the translation, and writing your best recollection on the folded part, or by covering the right side with a fresh sheet of scratch paper.

Your lists of similar categories now form a review in themselves, and you can glance at the sheets the morning of the exam and have a summary of any category you choose.

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