Study Smart Stories from other students

Read here the Study Smart stories from other students

Harold (Psychology student)

In the beginning of my studies, I mostly used summarizing, in the copy & paste kind of way. Sometimes, if I had some spare time or when a course was really challenging, I made some flashcards, but by the time I made them the exams were already up. In terms of results, I wasn’t doing great, but I wasn’t doing too bad either: I passed most of my exams. I had no idea what I could do differently, because I did not have the time to invest in finding out, as the fraternity simply takes up a lot of time.

In the Study Smart training, I was confronted with the fact that what I was doing was not effective at all, and that I could use more effective strategies without necessarily investing more time. This idea appealed to me a lot, so throughout the Study Smart training I tried to find out which strategy I could apply that would be more effective but not too big of a change from my original strategy. Therefore, I changed my ’copy-paste’ summaries to the Cornell method. This method entails writing a summary in your own words and adding a keyword or question in the margin. This also means that I don’t have to make flashcards anymore: I can immediately start testing myself, without losing time creating flashcards! Of course, it was a challenge at first, since it is a very different way of summarizing, and copy-pasting is simple and easy. Now I really try to write things down in my own words, which takes more time, but my summaries have also gotten much shorter, so in the end the amount of time I spend on summarizing is pretty much the same. Furthermore, I realized that the fact that I forget things I’ve learnt for the first meeting is not a problem. As a result I stopped putting the summarizing & learning off to the end of the course. Now, if I have forgotten something I had learned before and I learn it again, I know that I will most likely remember it. And repeating the materials is much easier now that I have summaries that I really understand and can explain to myself. It still costs me a lot of energy to give answers to the questions and keywords, but I know it is worth it.

All in all, I now use the more effective manner of summarizing: the Cornell method. I have stopped making extra flashcards, instead I use the keywords in the margin to test myself and check afterwards whether my answers were correct.