Hi, Well Casters! It’s getting colder outside and the supermarkets have finally sold the last of the Thanksgiving turkeys, so you know what that means: It’s coming up on finals! We know, we know, it’s not our favorite time of year either, upcoming tests mean long nights of studying, stress and probably some nightmares that involve sleeping through your English exam or walking into a class naked. This week on Well Cast, we took a suggestion by The Samba salsa on getting your study skills up to par. We’re not going to make you sit through any statistics or studies today, just three exercises you can put into practice to become a better test taker. You ready?
Step 1: Black-Red-Green study skills
Ace your essay with the Black-Red-Green method. This exercise comes from the Royal Literary Fund, and it’s a great trick to use when you’re tackling a difficult essay question. First, make sure you’ve got three colored pens, you guessed it, one black, one red and one green. You’re going to use these three pens to underline different parts of the essay question, by the end, everything will be underlined so you won’t miss anything important. Let’s say this is your essay question: “In the Great Gatsby, how does Gatsby represent the American dream in the 1920s? Reference two quotes from the novel as well as one secondary source. Be sure to refer to specific symbolism throughout the novel, including the green light and T.J. Eckleburg.” First, take out your black pen. Black stands for Blatant instructions, something the question requires you to answer to receive full marks. Next, take out your Red pen, this will be used for underlining any Reference points you’ve been asked to hit. Finally, take out your green pen. This one’s easy: The green pen underlines a “green light”, that is, a hint that the question gives on how to proceed. By now, this essay question should be looking like a Christmas tree, that’s how you know you’ve hit and understood every part of the prompt. You’re ready to rock the answer!
Step 2: Mnemonic study skills
Mnemonic are your best friend. Basically, Mnemonic turn a long string of information into something short, interesting and, above all, memorable. The best Mnemonic have one thing in common: They create a striking visual image in your mind. For example, a common acronym is a sentence “Each Good Bird Does Fly.” That’s one way to remember the lines in a staff of music: E, G, B, D and F. But… flying birds aren’t very striking. Most birds, at least, the boring ones, fly. If you’re sitting in a classroom, chewing on your pencil, a flock of birds might not pop into your head right away if you’re straining to remember a musical staff. But what about “Each Gap-toothed Billy goat Dances Fast.” Yep! That’s more like it.
Step 3: Speech study skills
Give a speech. The link between hearing something and remembering it has been proven time and again. Studies have found that people who have difficulty hearing in certain situations are also more likely to have memory impairment. What does that mean? Well, think about your favorite album. You know how you always know what the next song is going to be? That’s because you’ve listened to the thing ad nauseum and ingrained the information in your brain. Why not use this useful hack to help yourself remember information for a test? Practice reading your notes out loud, think of it like singing along to a new favorite song. The more you hear yourself saying the notes, the better you’ll remember them the next day.
Let’s recap: Finals week should be a breeze with Well Cast on your side! Today you learned the Black-Red-Green method for tackling an essay question, going for those creative Mnemonic Devices to get you out of a stump, and practiced a good way to memorize a lot of information. We’ll see you next time.