As students we tend to ignore the first two types of reviews we should be doing. We know that they’re important but often put it off until we get to the third type of review. Now you must be wondering; what are the three types of reviews? There are the daily reviews, weekly reviews, and finally the major reviews. Below I will go into further detail of how you should be performing these types of reviews.
The daily review encompasses everything that you went over in your lecture that day. This could include notes or material that requires simple memorization on your part.
In addition to this, it’s important to be aware of your short term or working memory. This part of our memory only lasts for 30-60 seconds and allows you to store up to 7 (plus or minus) 2, so about 5-9 pieces of information.
Why is that important to note?
Well, the more you practice and study information the easier it will be to recall that same information later on. This has to do with something called a neural trace.
Think of your brain and how you study like a snowy day. If you’re the first one trying to walk through the snow fall, it’s going to be tough. Whereas the 20th person walking through the path will have it much easier as the path will now be well formed for them to get through. The same thing is said for studying.
This type of review should take about 30-60 minutes to perform and should include lecture or reading notes from the week. It is also a great idea to begin forming types of questions that could be asked in regards to the material you have covered. By doing this, you will be better prepared for potential test questions later on.
With major reviews you encompass everything from weekly reviews but at a more conscious state of mind. It’s also important to look at the questions you’ve formulated that could occur on the test and practice answering them. Again, this will help strengthen your knowledge and confidence level before writing the actual thing.
It is however, important to note that you should be taking a 5 minute break once every hour. Your brain needs time to let information sink in and you don’t want to get overwhelmed. Preferably have your break outside in the fresh air and avoid screen time.
Another thing to take into consideration with major reviews is the Primacy-Recency effect. Our minds typically remember the first and last thing we’ve studied while the rest in the middle can be more foggy and harder to remember. This is one reason why you should study harder or more difficult material first.
The other reason why you should study the most difficult material first is because by the end of a long study session, your brain won’t retain information as well as when you first began. You want to make sure that you have a handle on the harder information, so you study it at the start of a longer study period.
Creating review tools can be highly effective. There are three types I’m going to share with you now: the study checklist; flashcards; mind map summaries.
The study checklist should include:
- Flagging Difficult Material
- Lecture/Reading Notes
Having a checklist for items you need to study is a great start to any review. As you go through your checklist, you can cross off anything that you feel confident with or that you know you’ve learned well. The action of eliminating a portion of your study will provide you with a sense of satisfaction that may motivate you to do more or at least keep going.
Flashcards work really well with memory recall and works best for information such as, definitions, formulas, questions, dates, and overall objective questions.
Did you know that the human mind works best working from general to specifics? It does, which makes the mind map summaries a great tool or method. Not only does it help explain a big idea by visually representing smaller ones but it can also help identify relations of material.
By the end of this, I hope you have learned a thing or two about reviewing and perhaps take one or a few pieces of what I’ve presented and start applying them to your studies.