Frequently Asked Questions

Topic: "It takes too long to do this active studying thing."

Basically, if your studying isn't giving you the results you want, there is a very good chance you need to integrate the material and memorize it better. Identifying the "necessary" information and organizing it in summaries, diagrams and charts is the best way to do this! They do take time to create, but your time investment pays off when you are studying for the final! Be sure you aren't recreating the wheel by copying over perfectly good(but not too pretty) charts or by recopying perfectly good charts from the text or syllabus. Photocopies work well and let you modify them as you need, using a different color of ink to highlight important modifications. When creating your own, use bits of time (15 to 30 minutes) during the day and the time you previously used for passive studying.

Topic: "I still need to go over my notes and/or recopy them."

Students usually feel this way if they didn't have grasp of the "big picture" during lecture. Pre-lecture skimming and memorizing the major headings and subheadings eliminate this problem. Reading the introduction and summary in the text reinforces this. As you read through your notes the first time, create your rough draft with the course outline/syllabus and text at hand to help you inserting the organizational headings into the notes. It is more comfortable to go over your notes first, but it isn't time-efficient.
Your notes are the complete rough draft of the information. Your summaries are the final draft with the "necessary" information organized for integration and easy memorization. Don't worry about your notes being pretty, just well labeled and cross-indexed. Use your time to create summaries instead.

Topic: "I don't want to go to lecture."

Topic: "How do I know what will be on the exam and practice for it?"

Used properly, the quizzes and practice questions provided in each course are plenty for preparation — see question below. Also, many of the core textbooks and additional readings recommended by the faculty have end-of-chapter practice questions.

Topic: "I need help with my test-taking strategies."