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Five study tips to help students ace their courses this semester

In this file photo, Qi You, who graduated in 2018, studies in Snell Library on March 6, 2018. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Spring courses at Northeastern have officially begun. Here are some tips to help students excel in the classroom, with insight from two faculty members.

Don’t leave it all until the last minute

“Cramming can be effective the night before a test, but you will retain information much better if you space out your studying,” said Laurie Poklop, the senior associate director of the Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning Through Research. “Studying for 20 minutes a day for five days is much better than studying for 100 minutes on the last day.”

Find the place you love to work

“Different people prefer different study settings,” said Gretchen Heefner, a history professor who received a teaching award from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities in 2018. “I suggest the Boston Public Library, it’s a great place to just zone in and focus on what you need to learn.”

Practice taking tests

“This is the most effective way to study,” said Poklop, who also teaches courses at Northeastern’s Graduate School of Education. “it builds really strong connections. “You can use flashcards, online quizzes, or test your study partner.”

Unplug from the online world

“I always recommend that students turn off all devices and disconnect from the internet while they’re studying,” said Heefner. “When you have a ton of reading to do it’s best to minimize possible distractions.”

Explain terms and concepts to yourself

“Explaining things out loud is proven to help you remember information better,” said Poklop. “It’s actually more beneficial to read something once and then try to explain it, rather than just rereading it multiple times.”

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