Question by Anna: I am taking neuroscience this semester and I failed my midterm exam because I crammed the night before.?
I’m so embarrassed. I am really interested in doing research in neuroscience. Would my professor allow me to volunteer in his lab if I’ll get a low grade in the course? I’m scared to talk to him about it.
Answer by RWPossum
What occurs to me is what improvements are needed so that this won’t happen again. Do you mean that you were slacking off until the night before? If you do, I hope that from now on you’ll study at a steady pace throughout the semester, which is the way to learn. I’ve spent a lot of time researching study skills, and I might be able to give you some useful advice.
Sometimes, slacking off is a sign of depression. You can take a screening test like the CES-D online for free. You might want to talk with a counselor.
The courses that are all memory are the easiest ones. The most powerful memory tool is the flashcard. It doesn’t make you spend too much time on things you already know. Also, it makes little time periods like doing the laundry and waiting for the bus useful instead of wasted. The basic drill is to review the cards again and again, then test-and-sort. While you test yourself, sort the cards into a “right” stack and a “wrong” stack. Keep working on the wrong stack until you get all of them right. When you’re done, you should be able to go through the entire set of 100 or so cards and get each one of them right. If there is a lot of memory needed for a course, take all your lecture and reading notes and make them into a composite outline, then turn the outline into a set of flash cards, That way, whenever you see a test question, your mind will go instantly through your memory of the outline like when you’re searching with Google.
You can read about study skills in your library and on the internet. I would look for books by college instructors, especially in Education and Psychology, like The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills. On the net, see which topics come up again and again.
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