The Nerd’s Word: Bullet Points for Brainpower

The following tips have proven to be extremely powerful guides for organizing, thinking, studying, and learning in college. They represent the best advice of successful college students and, if heeded properly, are sure to lead to improved academic performance and a better understanding of course material.  Let the Nerd’s Word guide you through some general pointers for achieving and maintaining a solid GPA.

– Your study space should be as quiet and comfortable as possible. Avoid studying in noisy places such as cafeterias, recreation rooms, or lounges.

– Have all study materials handy beforehand. Don’t waste valuable time looking for books, notes, of other information. After you have assembled the items you need, put them where you can reach them easily.

– Never study within 30 minutes of going to sleep.

– If possible, study no more than 30-40 minutes at a stretch. Many students retain more by studying for short periods with breaks in between. It all depends on what you’re trying to study, but generally, after a long period of concentration, take a break.

– Take study breaks away from your desk or wherever you are studying. Let the break be a time to think about other things. Use some break time to reflect, not constantly review what you have just studied.

– Distractions in the classroom are deadly. To help avoid these diversions, sit near the front of the class. You’re less likely to miss something important, and there are far less distractions at the front than any other location.

– Think! Thinking is one of the most important things you can do in class. If you just sit there passively, and not use your mind, class can be deadly. Think about what the teacher is saying before writing down anything. Writing down each word is often a wasted of time. Reorganize in your mind what the teacher says, and then write it down. This way you will be connecting the teacher’s words with how you think. If you do this, your notes will make a lot more sense later on.

– Pay attention to the course outline or syllabus. Generally, important points and materials are referenced here and repeated. Don’t be afraid to ask the teacher if there is something you don’t understand. Most teachers will be glad to clarify for you.

– Read the table of contents of your books carefully. If the textbooks have chapter summaries, read them first! If you don’t understand the material from the summaries, go back and highlight. Take notes on what you have highlighted and review your notes.

– Break study material into short segments of length dependent on its difficulty. Remember, concise notes are more powerful than copious notes. Think about the material! Then take notes on what you don’t know or are not sure of.

– For essay examinations, try the “memory dump” technique. If permitted, write down everything you’ve memorized – facts, names, dates, ideas, events, and so on before you do anything else. Sometimes reading through the essay questions can distract you from what you’ve studied. The “memory dump” technique requires that you write down everything possible prior to writing essay answers. This way, you are less likely to forget something important.

Of course the most important piece of advice that we can serve up is to have a cold Nerd Focus & Energy drink by your side at all times to keep the focus level high when studying.  These pointers should serve just a basic outline for your academic routine and although we can’t guarantee a 4.0 GPA, we certainly can give you all the tools necessary to succeed in the classroom.  The next episode of the Nerd’s Word takes a look at the frowned upon, but sometimes necessary process of cramming for a test.  Don’t miss it.


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