Study Tips, Tricks

Jenna Nakanishi, Community Editor

AP testing season is fast approaching, and many teachers are starting their review sessions. It is a crucial time for people to condense all that they learned in the year and to ensure they are well versed in the course content so they can get their ideal score. Many students take several AP classes, and keeping track of all the different concepts can be challenging. To maximize the effectiveness of reviewing, several memory tips and techniques can be applied to better study habits to ensure preparedness on test day.


#1 – One of the most important aspects of studying is simply paying attention to the content. Eliminating distractions around your study space is an effective way of focusing your concentration — listening to calming music can eliminate background noise and using apps that lock your phone can help lower the temptation to use it.


#2 – Engaging in deeper order memory processing helps retention of information. Students could get more out of a study session if they actively analyze the material to check understanding instead of simply memorizing formulas or skimming notes. Processing is reinforced when students are able to attach personal meaning or experiences to material, or when the material is organized in a way that makes sense to the student.


#3 – One method that is applicable across many subject areas is the method of loci. This method involves taking an imaginary walk around a familiar setting and associating specific items to be memorized with specific locations along the path. When you try to recall these items later, envision yourself walking along this path and the locations should serve as retrieval cues to recall what you memorized. Retention is especially increased if the memorized items are in an organized order and the path is one you take often.


#4 – Creating mnemonics to remember material is effective because it attaches a single cue to multiple pieces of information. The most common mnemonics are acrostics, a short phrase in which the words or lines serve as cues to recall information, and acronyms, a word where the letters are also the first letters of a set of information to remember. Using acrostics and acronyms is especially helpful when trying to remember several terms as part of a single concept. In addition, they are effective because the mind usually finds it easier to recall personal or silly phrases rather than abstract pieces of information. They can be words, visuals, or musical in nature — using the one that works best for you is what makes it effective.


  Though it may be difficult to keep track of all the different material you have to know for different classes, reviewing and studying effectively is a good way to ensure you are prepared for AP and other tests you may have. Using these techniques and applying good habits helps you in mastering course material and achieving the score you want.