It is a well known fact that the best way to internalize and truly understand newly learned knowledge is by integrating it into what you already fully grasp and understand about that same topic. This concept of holistic learning has been valuable for students at every level of education in terms of how to study effectively for exams as well as how to study effectively and efficiently for lasting learning that holds real understanding of the new information.
There are seven tools that can aid you in your goal to study efficiently for any kind of exam, and this list is well worth being aware of.
The first tool in your effective study skill set is Visceralis. The word refers to your gut and in practice it is a way of taking new information that you wish to learn and visualizing it in a physical form that makes sense to you. The Viscerality step goes farther than just an optical image, it includes all the senses. Think of the relationships between the new information and how it would behave if you touched it, is it squishy? Even elements of scent and temperature can help round out this sensory concept of your new bit of data and make it real for you, easy to recall. You may hear, see, and feel this step to create a model in which your information can dwell for later recall.
The second tool is called Metaphor. The Metaphor step in how to study effectively is one of finding in your mind some information or a topic that this new data reminds you of. In this way, you gain a shortcut to some of the new data and how it can be easily understood without having to start from scratch. When you are learning about the law of supply and demand, for example, you may think of oh, yes! that is why we pay more for the rare items in a set of collectibles the same principle in a different context means you already do understand this economic rule, and it will immediately feel at home in your mind.
The third tool of how to study effectively and efficiently is known as the Ten Year Old Rule. This concept is really quite simple and effective, it simply means that take the new information you wish to learn and break it down to the level that you would use to explain it to a ten year old child. This can make any concept one that you will easily recall and thoroughly grasp.
Next on the list of how to get more out of your studying is called Trace Back. This means that you begin with a random bit of information, then relate that to your new information ideas. One example would be in the subject of Art History Cubism reminds me of Picasso, which reminds me of Matisse, which reminds me of Mondrian.. The images of the painters and their styles can all inter-relate and lead to placing new information in the context of the already understood artistic movements.
Refresher Scan is the next tool in the study sequence. In this stage of the study process, your goal is to scan through information in your class textbook and find parts of the chapters that are not well known to you already. When you encounter new or unfamiliar concepts, quickly use your skills of Visceralization and Metaphor to integrate them into your knowledge net. If this scan of the chapters you have studied is revealing many of these missing areas of understanding, then you have not thoroughly enough mastered this information yet and another pass through the process may be needed.
Compress Information is the next tool. There are some subjects that just do not lend themselves to this integrated method of knowledge absorption. Some topics just require the use of memorization and one such subject is the learning of medical information. There are names of body parts and disease processes in medical school that are Latin language words and that do not easily fit in our minds as interconnected to knowledge that would already exist in a framework. For this type of novel but important learning, the way to make it manageable is to take the dry facts and break them up into smaller, more easily handled facts that can be committed to memory via mnemonic devices that can give them a way to be recalled in order. There are several very well known medical mnemonics such as the one used to recall the trigeminal nerves. Recalling these sentences and rhymes that relate to the medical terminology and anatomical groupings makes something that seemed impossible to understand become a simple matter of just remembering a phrase or sentence that has first letters to clue you into the real information they represent.
The last tool of this how to study effectively strategy is Write Essay. It could also be called draw, the process in this part of the study activity is to pick up a pen and some paper and using words as well as diagramming, make a graphical representation of what you have learned. The goal here is not to make it look good, just to jot and doodle your learned knowledge onto the paper. This mind to hand to paper transfer of the information can help solidify it in your memory and give you an image memory to aid you when it is time for you to call that information up and access it during the exam.