We all know those subjects; the subjects that have a million things to write down, the subjects where the teacher blasts through the content, the subject that makes you wonder if it's even possible to remember so many details for the exam. Subjects such as History: Revolutions or Psychology, which require a lot of detail that many students simply do not know how to study for. However, there are a few tips which can help in creating a study guide for content heavy subjects.
Look at the study guide
It's important to check the study guide on what is and what isn't on the exams. Often your teacher may give you extra irrelevant information or forget content that could be on the exam.
Now this might sound tedious because every single teacher tells you to do this, but it actually is useful for content heavy subjects. For example, History subjects often have the time period in which you are studying. If you write about anything outside this time period it is not really assessable, therefore it is key that you only study what is in the study guide. Anything else may be nice to add context, but it is not necessary.
Do not copy everything
Many students often make the mistake of writing down all the notes and copying down everything on the PowerPoint slides that the teacher gives them. Because of this the student cannot focus on the content itself but instead the process of writing everything down. Instead, you should look to understand the content, ask questions and further your knowledge on the huge amounts of content and how they fit in with each other.
That's right, don't write everything your teacher puts on the projector. All the handouts the teacher gives you, and all the PowerPoints shows can all be looked at later. What you should be doing instead is write down the extra information your teacher talks about and the content that they emphasise. Often this content, that is repeated over and over, is missed by students who were too busy writing everything down.
Make notes, cue cards, etc.
The textbooks you get for content heavy subjects are often a mammoth of a thing. They're so thick you could probably kill someone with it. The thing is, these textbooks also like to take their time to explain certain concepts, which could be shortened to a smaller and more digestible format.
This is where taking notes come in. Imagine you have an exam in a week on a subject where the textbook is massive. There is no way you will be able to remember the entire thing in a week and understand the concepts behind it. It is also time consuming and you will not be able to absorb all this content past a certain point.
Instead, write summaries for chapters or topics. This is beneficial in two ways. Firstly, the notes are useful in revising and remembering because the process of writing them down will actually help you to remember. Secondly, these notes are infinitely more useful and manageable when it comes to exam time. Would you rather read 400 pages of dense writing or 14 pages of your own words, which you actually understand?
Cue cards are also helpful because they help isolate which part of the content you don't understand which can then be focused upon.
Focus on the core concepts, then expand
Often these content heavy subjects contain several core concepts, events or ideas in which everything is founded upon. If you are able to learn the core concepts, then the rest of the content should be easier to handle. Often the main points of the subject make up most of the marks in the exam, the rest is an added bonus.
It is only when you understand the key concepts that you will be able to remember and revise extra content.
For example, if you are studying the French Revolution - it is better to understand the cause and effect of the revolution rather than the specific statistics. If you do not understand how the revolution took place, where are you going to place those statistics?
Find your own way to study
This is only a few ways to study for content heavy subjects, often some of these tips may not work for some because everyone learns and understands in a different way. This is a kick-off point to those who may not know how to study for these subjects. Try these tips and if they don't work, try other ways to study until you eventually find a way that works for you.
This post was written by Mark