Q: “Help! What’s the best way for my son to study for a test? We fight about it constantly. He thinks all he needs to do is read over his notes and he’s done. I try to tell him that he needs to do more, but he refuses. What are the best methods he should use?” – MeltdownMom
A wise professor once told me, “There’s no learning without pain.”
In other words, it has to hurt to work. What I believe he meant was that to truly understand what you are studying, your brain needs to do some heavy mental lifting. And that extra effort to go beyond just memorizing facts and figures requires you to push yourself, work a little harder, and dig a little deeper to truly understand what you are learning. And that can hurt a little. Or in some cases, a lot!
Which is why, for most students, the “go-to” studying strategy is to reread their notes. Think about it: Reading over notes you’ve already taken is a wholly passive activity. It avoids pain at all costs.
As an academic and life coach for students, I spend a lot of my time teaching study skills. And what I explain to my students is that the more active you can make your studying, the more likely you will be to learn the material and retain your motivation.
And if they can tap into their personal interests while doing so,