This guest post is contributed by Anna Miller, who writes on the topic of online degrees. She welcomes your comments at her email id:

I’m no longer a student, but I’ve been one for a little more than two decades. With two graduate programs under my belt, I’ve been through the grind of studying and exams more times than I care to remember. And in all these years, I’ve learned that there’s more to cramming for exams than meets the eye. For example, I’m one of the large number of people who never remember something if they learn it just once. Rather, they need to do a few more revisions before the subject registers enough in the brain to recall during exams. But besides this obvious method, there are other tricks to remembering what you study:

  • Combine your efforts: There are some subjects that are better remembered when you combine your efforts with friends who have taken the same course. When you discuss your answers and engage in debates as to how you reached them and why you need to answer certain questions in certain ways, you tend to remember the subject more clearly and comprehensively. It’s also a fun way to study as opposed to cramming on your own.
  • Teach your friends: I’ve found that if I teach someone something, I never forget it. That’s because I need to understand the subject or topic completely before I’m able to explain it clearly to someone else. Also, the act of getting them to learn the subject embeds it more deeply in your memory. So even if it’s years later, you find that you recall the topic with relative ease because you’ve been a teacher for a while.
  • Start early: The best way to study for exams (and the least followed option as far as I know) is to start early – when you learn a little every day, it’s easy to put together the bits and pieces at the end and make them a coherent whole. Also, when you avoid leaving the studying to the last minute, you prevent the stress, tension and ill-health associated with cramming and staying up late.
  • Take the practical route: When you do something practically, it’s easier to remember the theory. This holds good for scientific principles, mathematics and other subjects where you can practice what you learn. It’s like cooking – when you make a recipe often enough, it’s easy to remember it without having to refer to the cookbook every time.
  • Write it down: And finally, one of the most effective ways to remember what you’ve learned is to jot down notes as you study. When you write down stuff like formulae and important points, your brain remembers it twice as well. Also, it’s easier to revise by just going through what you’ve written instead of having to read through your entire set of notes again.

Studying and learning is a personal aspect, one that is different for different people; so try out what works best for you before you adopt it on a regular basis.

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