M-A Students Share Their Study Methods

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M-A students almost always have a test to prepare for, but it can be hard to find the right method. So, how are this year’s students studying? 

First, it is important to study outside of class before a test to better understand the material. Freshman Milo Kroh said, “I start a few days before, and in total, I study for a couple of hours. Each day, I study for half an hour, and then I take a break. Then I study another half an hour.” 

As for the perfect time, junior Varsha Sripadham recommended studying in the morning. She said, “I can feel really tired at night, and it’s not feasible to study. It’s nice to wake up with a fresh brain and do it in the morning.” She continued, “Sometimes, it’s better to force yourself to get in the zone while studying.”

Many students find that taking notes in class is an effective tactic. Senior Caleb Rosas said, “Notes in class are good in case I don’t understand something.” While it may sound obvious, taking notes is reliable, easy, and efficient. Research shows that taking notes, especially by hand, improves students’ reading comprehension.

M-A Librarian Catherine Burton-Tillson learned Cornell Notes from working with students. “Students often don’t go back to study things they’ve already learned, so using Cornell Notes helps them review and add to notes,” she said.

Another helpful method is using tools such as flashcards alongside your notes. Freshman Leilani Wallace explained, “Flashcards are helpful because they are fast and just as useful.” 

Junior Weycene Yang provided another, lesser-known technique. “I have been using spaced repetition so I can learn my vocab better,” she explained. Spaced repetition is a method where you study for a short amount of time, take a lengthy break, and then start another session.

One way students have found their best study methods is through their teachers, who have seen study techniques throughout their careers. Pre-completed note sheets provided by teachers can be helpful for getting the best notes and can alleviate much of the stress when taking them. “Teachers have told me to not write everything, but to write stuff that is important and understandable,” Rosas recalled. 

While creating your own note sheet is more effective, pre-completed note sheets are a good alternative if you are struggling to keep up. Yang said the best advice they were given about preventing procrastination was, “Just do five minutes to start. Having that momentum from doing a little bit of work can sometimes keep you going.” If you still don’t feel in the mood, you can stop and pick up studying later.

Some students prefer to study together. Burton-Tillson said, “Interacting with another person can be a better way of learning. Coming during FlexTime to work with peer tutors or the homework center to work with staff can be helpful.” 

Kroh added, “Studying with others is really helpful because it gives me another point of view, and you get clarification and new ideas.” 

However, studying with others can also present a new challenge. “I have tried studying with others, but I feel like I got distracted,” Rosas explained.

Other possible study methods include using practice questions, studying the same types of problems consecutively, paraphrasing or reflecting on what they have learned, and making visual aids like diagrams and charts. These aren’t always taught or reinforced by teachers and tutors but are simple enough to experiment with.

It is important to find methods and strategies for studying that fit your style and lead to success. M-A students seem to excel at figuring out what works best for them, as well as getting help and advice from teachers and peers.

Jace is a sophomore, and this is her first year in journalism. She hopes to write about local issues that impact M-A students and beyond to provide insight on ways we can improve as a school and community together. In her free time, she reads a variety of articles relating to local, national, and international news.

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