We at CHANCEN eG want to enable every person to get the best possible education – regardless of their financial and personal background. The ISA supports you financially so that you can concentrate fully on your studies.
However, financial support alone is not enough to successfully complete a degree. Other factors – such as studying for exams – can be essential for successful graduation. To achieve optimal preparation for your exams, we recommend that you take a look at different studying methods at an early stage in order to be able to effectively use the methods that are right for you.
With this page, we want to support you in getting an insight into different study methods. In addition to this overview, we also present useful suggestions for time management.
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For a successful learning process, we would recommend using a mixture of the three channels. Moreover, in our opinion, the channels cannot be clearly distinguished from each other, as they often merge into each other or learning techniques combine several of them. From our experience, when learning complex content it helps to change the channels in between in order to bring variety into the learning process. Certainly, some techniques will suit you better and others less well – just try out different possibilities and find out which ones work best for you!
By this we mean learning that happens through listening. Podcasts on topic-specific content can be a good tool for this. Also, reading topics out loud is also a good way to learn. Whether you listen to a person reading or read topics out loud to yourself is entirely up to you. Further down the page you will find more detailed information on auditory learning techniques, such as quizzing.
This is where learning takes place through visualisation. Learning videos can therefore be used as well as the visual memorisation of summaries. Further down the page you will find a short description of the learning technique videos.
Taking regular breaks is important to work productively. There is hardly any other technique that pays as much attention to regular breaks as the Pomodoro Technique. Learning intervals with short breaks ensure that you give your brain enough time to rest. All you need is a timer and, of course, your study materials.
At the beginning of each learning day, you should write down some specific goals and tasks. Then start the first learning interval. Set a timer for 25 minutes and start working through the list one item at a time until the 25 minutes are up. Afterwards, you can take a short 5-minute break and then continue working on your tasks for another 25 minutes. After you have done this four times, i.e. for two hours, you can take a half-hour break.
By the way, the Pomodoro Technique actually translates as tomato technique. Why is this the case? The inventor of this technique, Francesco Cirillo, measured the 25 minutes with the help of his kitchen timer, which was shaped like a tomato.
If this has sparked your interest, you can find more information about the Pomodoro Technique here. You might also be interested in this short video explanation. There are even videos you can stream for your study time as a time guide.
Behind this rather tricky name, you will find many really simple and well-known techniques for learning. Mnemonics are considered to be particularly helpful in the specific memorization of content. These include amongst others the following techniques:
Try expressing a formula or definition in a rhyme. You will find that it’s much easier to remember.
You can find more information and examples here.
Method of Loci
Strictly speaking, this technique belongs to Mnemonics, but it should nevertheless be emphasized here. It is particularly good for learning sequences by linking the learning content with a specific location.
Here you will find detailed information on this technique.
Distributed Practice involves spreading the learning time over several learning sessions. Instead of studying from morning to night two days before the exam, you work with breaks between your learning sections. The longer breaks between study repetitions mean that you can remember the knowledge you have learned more efficiently and long-term.
Click here for more information.
Massed Learning involves learning a lot of consecutive content in a short period of time. Instead of splitting the studying time over several weeks, you study for many hours over a few days and try to memorize as much content as possible during that time.
The more to learn the more effective is distributed learning compared to massaged learning.
→ Long-term learning success
Massed Learning Practice
→ Short-term learning success
Summarizing content is probably the most widespread learning technique, and not without reason. It not only helps you to repeat the topic, but also gives you more time to understand it. Especially summarizing with your own words leads to a long-term understanding. If you understand a topic, you will be able to summarize it.
However, you should also keep an eye on your time management. If you want to summarize all the learning content of your studies, you will need a lot of time for it. You should be aware of when summaries are indeed useful and when you don’t necessarily need them.
Note: Different colours (e.g. highlighters) can make summaries clearer and therefore easier to internalize.
Creating a mind map can help you to get a clear overview of a topic. To do this, place an important topic in the middle of your work sheet and, starting from there, add suitable sub-topics, which you connect with lines. You can then connect the sub-topics with other more specific terms to create different levels. Work with different colours to make your mind map as visual and informative as possible.
If you decide to learn with flashcards, you can use several techniques at the same time. First, you will consider ways to summarize the topics cards. Then, writing on the flashcards will help you reflect on the content of the flashcards. Finally, a flashcard is a practical tool that you can use to study from anywhere. By going through the content on the flashcards repeatedly, you will be able to memorize it better. It may also help to use distributed learning here.
Recalling information is the most effective way to remember content in the long term. Therefore, it is advisable not only to read the material on a repeated basis, but also to try to recall the content from your own memory. Ask friends, family members or fellow students if they can quiz you. Alternatively, you can use flashcards with a question and answer page.
Try to put yourself in the position of the lecturer. Think about what an exam might look like and create a few questions which you then answer. Or think about how you would explain the topic to other people.
Hint: Old exams
You are probably not the first person to take an exam in this course. It can always be helpful to reach out to higher semesters and ask them about upcoming exams. It is often possible to find old transcripts. Nothing can prepare you better for an exam than looking at past ones concerning the same topic.
It is always helpful to talk to other people and exchange ideas. It increases understanding and gives you the opportunity to ask questions that you might not want to ask in the lecture. You can also split the work within a course or prepare summaries together. In addition, you can arrange a weekly meeting so that you can constantly keep up with the study material. When preparing for exams, you can benefit from this knowledge and the support of the group.
Nowadays there are many possibilities to get additional information about certain topics. The next time you struggle to understand a theory or other content, you could try looking for a video explaining it.
On Youtube you will find a bunch of learning videos and channels.
If you can't sit down at your desk at home, you might want to try it somewhere else.
If you don't live alone, there are few opportunities at home to get the peace and quiet you need to concentrate. And even if you are alone, there are still lots of distractions in your room. To avoid this, you could look for places nearby that are quiet and bright. This is the best way to focus on your studies. Maybe even your university library. Also, make sure you to get outside every now and then to avoid fatigue and increase your productivity.
Over the last few months, we have noticed that it can happen that we do not have access to places other than home. If this is the case, it can help to choose a fixed place at home to study and one to relax. This way you can differentiate between concentration and relaxation in the best possible way.
People differ in the times they study best. Reflect on what time of the day you can learn most productively and start introducing small learning rituals at that time. By doing this, build up an ideal routine learning day for yourself. The advantage of a good routine is that it will automatically structure your daily study routine as soon as you internalize it.
Exam periods are often stressful and affect your well-being. If you find it very difficult to motivate yourself to do certain activities, try to think of a reward to increase your motivation. Find ways to treat yourself to rewards when you've successfully completed a task.
The more and longer you study during the semester, the less you have to handle during a stressful exam period. By preparing and following up lectures, seminars, etc., you deal with the content you have learned on a regular basis. In this way, you internalize the topics for an extended period of time and avoid a feeling of being overwhelmed by the end of the semester. It will be easier for you to follow the lectures and you can clarify any questions of understanding that may arise immediately with your lecturer.
Overview and Prioritisation
In the beginning of your exam preparation, you should take some time to get an overview of the course content.
Collect all scripts, summaries, notes and exercises.
Therefore, plan to spend different amounts of time on studying.
Creation of a Learning Plan
Good organisation is the key to effective learning. It also makes you feel in control of your exam preparation and allows you to study in a more relaxed way. After you have gained an overview of the material to be learned, create a learning plan for it. Break down the content into small, clear chapters. Set yourself specific and realistic goals for each day, which you should try to achieve. Don’t forget to plan time for rest and relaxation. Ideally, you should also include backup days in your plan in case of delays.
As we have already explained, a daily routine during the learning phase will help you to get consistency in your daily life. Define specific times for learning. Create a schedule for the day in which you can note down all the important tasks for you.
Allow yourself breaks
Exam periods can be very stressful. Don’t forget to look after your well-being and give yourself breaks and ways to detach yourself from studying. Reduce stress. Get together with friends, play sports, watch Netflix or go for a walk. It’s also very important to get enough sleep to ensure your brain can properly process and store the information you’ve learned.