Do you find yourself studying really hard and memorising all these notes for an exam, but then not getting the grades to reflect it?
During my own time in education, I found that the main difference between those who succeeded in exams and those who didn’t do as well was all down to the term “understanding”.
This is a deep topic and is an area that took me some time to learn and implement in my own studies when I was in college and university. It is clear that knowledge is when we take in content from books, lessons, slides on PowerPoint, the internet, newspapers….you name it. However, that is all that knowledge is. It is like reading a prescription with instructions and not taking the medicine if you do not act on it.
Likewise, when we make notes from our text books or revision guide, we are just memorising these notes and then taking it to an exam to use and implement for answering questions. But do we truly connect the dots together in our knowledge to ‘make sense’ of the content? Let me explain the other side of the spectrum first:
The word ‘exam’ can scare and stress a lot of students out. If we take the word a step further in meaning, an exam literally means an examiner wants to ‘test your understanding’ of the questions they provide.
They want YOU to CONNECT the dots together from the question, make an understanding of it, and then come to a decision to write down the answer, simple as.
Take your studies further and make it come alive! Making notes, highlighting text, going over them, is just the start of your studying.
Start watching videos on your content, make audio recordings of your notes, discuss your studies with others and try to verbally recall your understanding of the work and TEACH your peers and vice versa! This ensures that you make sense of your work and thus build the understanding of what learning truly is.
Finally, it is imperative that you go away and read further on top of making your notes from your learning materials. This enhances your ability to ‘link the dots’ together and having those ‘aha’ light bulb moments, which means that you can then have the same mental mechanism for the exam as you draw the dots together from the clues and information a question gives you.