Studying for every grade is difficult and there are no exceptions when it comes to science. There is also no better study method that works for everyone. Each person is unique and each must determine which study methods work best for him or her. If one method doesn't work for you, try another and don't give up. Once you find the method that works for you, refine it until it becomes second nature to you.
Method 1 of 4: Prepare for a Science Class
Step 1. Read the assigned material before class
Each science class you take will have an associated textbook, and your teacher will probably tell you which chapters to read in advance of each class. Take the time and read the material well before class. Knowing what to expect during class will help you absorb reading material more effectively.
- Highlight important concepts and terms in your textbook.
- Write down all the questions you have. If you don't get an answer during class, be sure to ask.
Step 2. Take notes in class
Some science teachers simply advance the textbook in class. Others elaborate on what the book says. If your teacher simply repeats what the textbook says in class, it is probably more important to pay attention to what it says, rather than writing everything down. However, if your teacher expands on the subject of the course and highlights new concepts in class, be sure to take lots of good notes.
- Some teachers provide students with copies of their presentation slides (this is very helpful). In that case you will only have to make notes in order to Add details to what is already written on the slide, rather than having to copy the entire slide.
- Some teachers may covertly (or overtly) tell you if the topic they are talking about will come up on the final exam. If you hear phrases like “ Take note of this ”, Your teacher will be giving you a gift. Take it into account!
- Consider sharing notes with other students. You may take notes on something that a colleague missed and vice versa. Make sure you have at least one partner you can borrow notes from if you missed a class.
Step 3. Reread assigned material after class
Reread your notes and make corrections or changes to your notes if necessary. Highlight the parts of the book where the teacher spent the most time. Make a list of pending questions and email them or talk to your teacher about them.
- Rewrite your class notes. Summarize them this second time.
- Make flashcards of important concepts and terms.
- Redraw important diagrams by hand. Science courses include many diagrams, visualizations, and graphs, and memorizing all of them is not an option. Drawing them by yourself and by hand will help you more to remember what a diagram means rather than just knowing what it looks like.
Method 2 of 4: Prepare for a Science Lab Practice
Step 1. Know the format of the lab report you have to do
Most reports will need the following six sections: overview, introduction, methods and materials, results, presentation, and references. Knowing this in advance will make sure you don't forget to jot down all of these details during the experiment if necessary.
Step 2. Read the details of the experiment before the lab
You must know what the experiment consists of, what materials you are going to use and what knowledge (theories, concepts, equations, etc.) you will have to know in advance. Reread the appropriate pages of your text or notes that are related to the experiment you will do. Take short notes of those theories, concepts, or equations and take them with you to the lab for reference.
Step 3. Have some charts and tables ready to record results so that you are ready for the experiment
Determine what is needed before the lab begins, and have those charts and tables ready to take with you when the experiment begins.
Some lab instructors may provide you with charts that you will use to record results. In that case you will not have to prepare anything on your own
Step 4. Be safe
Know the laboratory rules and safety procedures. Follow the experiment instructions correctly. Use the materials by the proper methods. Notify the lab instructor immediately if anyone is injured.
Step 5. Perform your experiment and record the results
Follow the proper procedure for each experiment. Be able to identify the variables used in the experiment and how to control each variable. Know which ones must be the results and, if your result is different, determine the reason for it.
Step 6. Write your lab report and submit it
Use the format they ask you for. Learn how the concepts you learned in class relate to your lab experiment and the results. Includes diagrams, charts, tables, images, etc. where they are needed. Cite all references correctly and ethically.
Method 3 of 4: Study Science on Your Own
Step 1. Find a study site that works for you
Everyone has different priorities as to what type of study environment works best for them, so find yours. Some examples might be: a public or school library, a classroom, a bedroom or home office, a kitchen or dining room table, a cafeteria, an outside environment, etc.
- Try a few different places before deciding which one works best for you.
- If you determine that more than one place works for you, switch between them.
- Do not choose a place that is difficult for you to get to since you may make excuses. For example, you could say that you couldn't study because you didn't come to your study place.
Step 2. Make a study schedule
Develop a study routine. Be consistent. Make a schedule that takes into account your classes and assign yourself a regular study schedule. Go one step further and assign yourself specific tasks to complete during each study session based on your class syllabus.
- When you make your study schedule, don't schedule studying for a single course (for example, Physics) for 6 hours in a row in one day. Instead, study several courses each day and make room for Physics over the course of those days. This is known as the distributed study method and allows your brain to absorb more information over a shorter period of time.
- Be careful with other activities that could be on your schedule and reduce your study time. Those activities could include a part-time job, hanging out with friends, volunteering, etc. Those other activities are also important; however, like studying, such activities must be done in moderation. Schedule a “fun” time, but not at the expense of your study time.
Step 3. Develop personalized study standards
You may be the only one who gives yourself motivation to study science, so create rules and stick to them. Some possible rules could be:
- Reward yourself with a gift (not just food) after every set number of hours of study.
- Begin each study session with a review of previously learned material.
- Create a list of objectives for each study session.
- Telling someone to follow up on your studies every certain number of hours.
- Turn off your cell phone and don't check your email.
Step 4. Take breaks
Take a short break at least every hour. Change the courses you study after each break.
The breaks are not just to stop studying. You can stand, walk, go to the bathroom, etc
Step 5. Stay healthy
Eat properly balanced meals almost at normal times every day. Exercise regularly. Go to sleep and get up at the same time, even on weekends. Get a complete rest (6 to 8 hours) each night to stay positive. If you find yourself getting very stressed or anxious, seek help.
Step 6. Recap the material from your last study session
Start with the topic that you saw in your last class. Review the notes and problems you have had. Let this review of materials jog your memory.
Step 7. Create a list of study objectives
Using your class syllabi, make a list of what you would like to accomplish in this study session. Prioritize your list based on importance or timelines, or a combination of both.
Step 8. Avoid memorizing everything
Memorizing just doesn't work, unless you have an eidetic memory like Sheldon Cooper. Remembering scientific concepts is important, but understand concepts is more important. It is easy to forget something you memorized, but it is much more difficult to forget something you learned.
If you have to memorize something (for example, a timeline of historical events about the invention of the telephone), try using memory tricks, such as repetition and mnemonics
Step 9. Understand what each concept or equation means
The best way to learn a scientific equation or concept is to understand what it means, that is, to be able to break it down into parts and understand how those parts fit together to form the equation or concept. For each new equation or concept, you will need to learn the following: the technical definition, detailed procedures, and key examples.
- Use your own words to describe the concept, equation, problems, etc., as well as how the concept works or the equation or problem will be solved.
- Write an explanation in your own words of why a concept, equation or problem is true or of why a concept, equation or problem reaches a certain result.
- Relate the new concepts and equations to the things you already understand. Something you recently learned could help you expand your knowledge of a familiar concept.
Step 10. Analyze the problems and questions
Most books have problems and questions at the end of each chapter, so review them as part of your study. Do is always better than read. When you answer the problems and questions, please do so in detail. Place the complete solution on the way you arrived at the answer, that is, not just the answer as is.
- In addition to the problems and questions at the end of a chapter, review sample problems and questions from the book that you have asked yourself. Go back to asking the question or problem without looking at the answers to make sure you understand how you solved it.
- If you get stuck, take a deep breath and don't panic. Take a short break and go back and try the problem a second time. This second time, start on a new sheet, slowly and checking your work well, this way you will make sure that your writing is clean and that your solution is organized in a logical way.
- When you review the solutions, congratulate yourself on the correct answers!
- Answer some problems and questions in a chapter or topic each day for a few days. Don't do them all in one day.
Step 11. Do your homework
We all know this is a crazy idea, but it is very important. Teachers leave homework for a reason and you should do whatever they leave you, whether they give you a grade or not. Once your homework is returned (assuming you turned it in), review your note and discuss the issues you messed with.
If after reviewing the problems you messed with, you can't determine where you made the mistake, talk to your teacher. Ask him to help you analyze the specific problem and to point out where you went wrong
Step 12. Make index cards
The flashcards don't work for everyone, but they are great on terms or concepts with specific definitions, diagrams or charts, and equations. You can write your cards for one of two purposes: to evaluate yourself (the question goes on one side and the answer on the other) or to review ideas (you only use the front of the card).
Don't feel like you have to stick with the actual tiles (that is, the small cards made of thick cardstock). Some science topics are too complex to use such small material. Feel free to use a larger material if necessary
Step 13. Take practice or essay tests
Take as many practice or essay tests as you can. Don't wait until you have to study for your final exam to take your practice or essay exams. You can take those exams during the semester. Ideally, the practice or essay exams should be similar to the ones you will actually take in class; however, any exam where you practice a scientific concept will be very helpful.
Method 4 of 4: Plan and Conduct a Group Study Session
Step 1. For the study group select members who have similar goals
Study groups are supposed to be groups of people who study, not socialize. That means that group members don't necessarily have to be friends, but rather people interested in getting a good grade in science classes.
The ideal group size is 3-5 people
Step 2. Meet regularly
The study group must commit to meeting at least once a week during the semester. The meeting place should be one where everyone feels comfortable and ideally has enough chairs and power outlets for each member of the group. Having a room with a whiteboard is also ideal. Study sessions should last 2-3 hours and should include a couple of breaks.
Step 3. Choose a facilitator for the study group (optional)
The facilitator is a group member who is responsible for coordinating meeting times and places, and also keeps track of the times and makes sure the group follows the overall plan (if they did one).
It is not necessary to have a facilitator, but it is good to have one. However, it is important for that person to know that they are now “in charge” so that they can simply make sure things are organized and stay focused
Step 4. Set clear goals and objectives (optional)
These goals and objectives can be made for the study group as a whole or for each study session. If you create them for each study session, those goals and objectives would include what chapters or topics will be covered during that session and how group members should prepare for that session.
Having clear goals and objectives will help the study group stay focused on what you want to accomplish
Step 5. Take turns teaching each other
Use your own words to teach a scientific equation or concept to a partner. This will help you understand the topic more clearly and will also allow group members to provide input on something that doesn't make sense. Don't just teach the new or unfamiliar items to others; however, use this method to review all the concepts you have already learned.
Step 6. Encourage each other
Study groups are not just for studying, but also for giving encouragement and moral support to one another. Make sure to congratulate your colleagues when they do a great job. Provide feedback with a positive statement. Come up with fun and exciting methods to learn new materials in your group sessions.