Last-minute cramming, pulling all-nighters and consuming caffeine have long been go-to study tactics.

But doing time in post-secondary trenches has taught many there are preferable ways to study.

“Honestly, I think prioritizing and getting things done way ahead of time works,” says Naomi Beka, a second-year University of Calgary nursing student. “I don’t believe in procrastinating.”

For Beka, repetition leads to retention.

“Every day after class I sit down for, like, an hour, and go through my notes. I just read it and then I reference back to the textbook and then I read that,” the 19-year-old says. “Taking time after class or at the end of the day makes such a big difference.”

Study time for Beka means setting the scene — finding a quiet, comfortable, clutter-free space and playing music selections without words that could distract. Talking aloud is also a tried-and-true tactic.

“I read (material) over and over again and then I close my eyes and talk to myself,” Beka says. “I can’t just memorize and regurgitate — I have to understand.”

At Mount Royal University, 120 volunteers train first-year students to reduce stress and create good study habits. And each term, about 300 students sign up for the offer aimed at achieving scholastic success.

“The goal is to help students develop as self-directed learners,” says Courtenay Smart, MRU’s peer learning co-ordinator.

“We take the study skills and use that in a variety of courses … and build capacity to learn effectively.”

Many students believe putting in tonnes of time or copying notes out is a good way to go, but it’s too passive, says Smart, who explains it is best if students test themselves on the ability to recall and retain information, mix things up by using the learning style that best fits the concept, and space out study sessions.

Fourth-year MRU nursing student Josh Hauck finds varying his tactics works well, but he learned that an approach that suits one study session might not apply to the next.

For example, plenty of processes that occur in the body can be illustrated by graphs or diagrams and will indeed be more easily grasped that way as opposed to trying to learn that material with cue cards or boring blocks of text.

That said, Hauck says some helpful habits always apply when hitting the books.

“I make sure I go to the gym or clean the house before I study, that way I have exhausted physical efforts and can focus on …read more



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Students offer study tips from the trenches

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