(Closed) Help- I feel like I retain nothing in class! Tips?

posted 5 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
625 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Are you just starting out in college or are these upper level classes?

Post # 5
Member
625 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Ok. I only asked because note taking can become a lot more intensive between high school and college. When I was in college I tried to write down everything. Freaking everything. And then I would go home, and copy it again.

But this is only because I realized at some point that my memory and learning style was very much linked to writing things down. If I didn’t write it down (and multiple times) it would never stick for me. So every time I had a test coming up, I would spend all night re-typing all of my notes. My class mates thought I was insane, and it was very time instensive, but it worked for me.

Everyone has different ways of learning though. Some people like to request if they can record classes so that can listen to it again in conjunction with their notes. Some people go home and pour over the book right before and after class, beause reading works better. Sometimes I would make flash cards in different colors, because sometimes you can link concepts to colors. You just have to be aggresive in finding your method of remembering things, and then really commit yourself to it. I know engineering is a lot of math, which was never really my strong point lol, so I don’t know how much of this applies to you. But sometimes it does take time and experimentation to find out what works.

Have you asked any class mates to study with you? A group setting may help you to fill in the gaps. Are there any tutoring centers at your school? There’s no shame in going to ask for clarification. You can also visit your professor during visiting hours if you get really lost. But mostly I think you just have to make it an absolute habit to go home and review the material every day, and TRUELY understand it, as opposed to just understanding enough to answer the question on the assignment.

Sorry for the novel lol.

Post # 7
Member
6212 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

I would try taking notes on the book before class, and then paying really close attention to the teacher and only writing things down if they are different or add to what you already learned. A lot of people spend more time copying notes than they do listening, and only hear the words instead of analyzing and internalizing the information they are being given

Post # 8
Member
186 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Sit in the front row and ask questions. Don’t get ahead of your professor during lecture, even if you can solve the problem yourself. Make sure you eat and get enough sleep before class. These were my “must-dos” when I was in undergrad and I graduated with a 4.0 🙂 I promise they help.

Post # 11
Member
5883 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I agree that you have to figure out the best way for you to not just learn, but retain and then find and locate the information. I think when things are easier (HS), we can just learn it–then we understand it and we can find the information again. As things get more difficult, we can’t just understand the information (Oh, I get it). It’s too surface, you really, really have to get into the depths of the infomation and organize it properly in your head. 

You seem very visual (since you picture the page in your head). Use techniques that enhance this. I’m visual too, so some trick I use– I take every chapter and outline the Topics and subtopics. (I dont read it yet, I use the heading and sub heading to create and outline). It helps me to anchor the information. (Oh yeah, figure out if you are a mind map person or an outline person. I cannot for the life of me learn anything that is in a mind map)

Also, I find that things that are presented vertically or on a slight angle, I retain better. So for instance, a book flat on a table is hard for me to process, but on another book or book stand at a slight angle, that is better for me. I really really need to know it, I write it on a vertical surface like a dry erase board or even a piece of paper taped to the wall. 

I also have to teach someone else. If I know I have to explain it to someone else, it just stick better. Try to explain it to an non-engineer. It forces you to come up with creative ways to remember things. 

Good Luck!

PS- for some visual people, color work really well. I found colors to be too distracting and I was focusing on the colors not the information. So I abandoned my colors (because as a visual person I love colors), and only use pencil (blue pen if necessary), yellow highlighter and yellow postit notes. 

Post # 12
Member
625 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@AeroLove:  Yeah, def. try the writing thing! Obviously it doesnt work for everyone, and like I said, it is time intensive. But when I first went to college, I was doing a lot of reading over my notes, and it wasn’t doing squat for me. It was going in my eyes and out my ears, and not really touching my brain in between. Something about writing it down again makes me slow down enough to go “ok, what is this? What does this mean?” Rephrasing things sometimes helps too.

Post # 13
Member
5883 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Oh yeah, chew gum. Pick a flavor and only chew that when you are in that class and studying for that class. Then chew that flavor when you are taking the test.

Post # 14
Member
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@AllShookUp:  I had pretty much the same study routine when I was in university. I would re-write my notes using different coloured pens for different types of information (ie: dates in blue, people in green, etc). Perhaps a little on the type-a side of things but it worked for my brain 😉

Post # 15
Member
625 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@KoiKove:  <— the post above about teaching other people, thats a really great tip too. I was having a lot of problems in a philosophy class once, and started complaining (and explaining) to my bf about it… and then suddenly I understood. It’s funny how your brain will work like that.

 

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