Do you need some study tips to help out your students or your child? Today I shared some of the study ideas that my students found most helpful. You will hear some stories about how to consciously attach a study technique to your long-term memory when preparing study materials for a test, learning a speech, or memorizing names and dates.
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Do you ever have to help your child prep for a test or prepare for a test? Do you know how to help your child study for a test? What kind of techniques and strategies help a child with a disability? And in particular, a child that's got a learning disability or a memory issue? What kinds of tricks or techniques or strategies do you use to help them make their way through the test today, that's what we're going to talk about. I've done a lot of presentations on study skills, and how to help students study high schoolers, middle schoolers, and college students. And I do a lot of tutoring online through zoom. And I also did a lot of group training on how to memorize material. So today, we're going to talk about how to help your child or your student, prepare for those big tests that they have to take. So welcome to college disabilities, and success. Episode 85, brainstorming some study ideas, with Mickie Hayes, the opinions in this podcast are my own, please reach out to your college physician, or legal services for additional information.
I've always been a fair student, I was never a straight-A student, I usually did okay, but I was never that fabulous. And there were occasions when tests and I really were not friends. And I recall at one point having to take a big test. And I had done quite a bit of studying for it, I had note cards that I had reviewed and notes that I was reviewing and reading chapters in the book, and so on and so forth, rereading things. And I was really, really worried about the test. And this was one of those tests where multiple choice questions were a, b, c, and then d would say A and B, and E would say B and D. And F would say, none of the above. And then there'd be all of the above, you know, the kind I mean, though, the kind of multiple choice questions that you can't fake your way through, you either have to reason through them, or just take a wild stab in the dark, I can remember actually seeing that information in my brain when I was studying it. And I remembered that I had taken a green highlighter, and just started and underlined it and put a couple exclamation points around it. And I said, I have to remember this. I know it's going to be on the test. And that was that I moved on. And I'll be darned if that wasn't the question that was on that test. And I thought about it. And I realized that that was the information that I had put the green highlighter by. And because I remembered that I was able to retrieve that information, and actually analyze and logic my way through the questions on the test. And I know that I got it right, I was pretty confident that I chose the correct answer. But the only reason I was able to do that do that was because I remembered actually marking it down with a green highlighter. When I was studying, I passed by the way. So one of the first techniques that I want to talk to you about is actually making marks on the study materials. So if your teacher, if your professor gives you a PowerPoint, I would definitely print up a copy of the PowerPoint so that I could actually write my notes directly on that PowerPoint copy, because that way, you have the information that the professor wants you to have right up front. And then you have whatever additional comments or notes or color codes or whatever you want to do to it on the same paper by that same fact. And that would be a very effective study guide, so that when you're prepping for your tests, and especially at the last minute, when you're reviewing materials, that would be a very good review resource, where you can actually just refresh those things upfront in your mind before you take your test. So that's one technique that works very, very well. Another technique that works very, very well is to find an empty classroom with a board that you can write on. And if you can't do that, get yourself a whiteboard for home, they're not real expensive. And you should be able to get a pretty substantial size board bullets and board size, hang up on the wall in your room that you're studying and do your work on the board. Make your notes on the board. This is especially helpful if you have math problems that you're trying to reason out the steps. What you're doing there with the math problem is you're standing at the board. So you're using the kinesthetic technique of studying you're writing at the board. So that's tactile, you're talking it through out loud talking to yourself or explaining it to somebody else. So then you're using the auditory and you're writing it on the board at the same time and looking at what you're doing and seeing the visual so you're using all of the learning modalities to help remember that process in your mind When you go to take the test, if you have a problem, like the one you did on the board, you will actually remember the act of standing there doing that problem and explaining it to somebody at the board. It's a huge, effective strategy, because when you're doing that, you're imprinting that memory so that you can recall it. During the test, I had a former Dean, who was listening to me present one day, and he said, I used to do that. He said, before any test, when I was a college student, I would find an empty classroom. And I'd go into the classroom, and I would just write all over the board. Everything I needed to know everything I needed to remember everything that I wanted to be sure, I could recall. And I would always do that every time I had a big test. Do you mean I was using one of these study strategies? I explained to him? Yeah, you did it instinctively. A lot of people don't realize to do that instinctively. But yeah, that's what you were doing. You were using all of your strengths, all of your modalities to help you remember the information for your test makes a big difference. Now, at another time, I had a student come to my office who was struggling a lot with tests, and he was having a terrible time remembering details. And so I started talking to him and I suggested, well, you could do this, you could put a list of all the terms, dates, people's names, whatever you need to learn, make a big list with just that information, no answers on it, just a list of names, dates, and terms. And then the next thing I do is I would take that list to your professor and say, This is a study guide that I prepared for these are things that I think I need to do to prepare for the test.
Is there anything I missing on this list that you suggest I add to it? Or is there anything on this list I can take off. So could you take a few minutes to look at it. And professors will generally do that, they'll scan it, and they'll tell you, you don't need this, but you want to make sure you add this. And so you're getting really good upfront information directly from the professor with basically just using a list of words and dates. And then you go back and you'd make multiple copies of just the list of words, those will become your study papers and make one single copy with all the answers on it, then you tuck the answer copy away. And now you start quizzing yourself and answering the words on your practice sheet. And you'll know right away if you are firm and solid in information, or if you're just guessing at it. And it's important that you write that down when you're studying. And here's why. So many times, I've seen students who said I knew it before I went in and I got in there and it was gone. The reality is they probably didn't know it before they went in, they thought they knew it. But sometimes studying is like smoke, you can see it, you can smell it, you can taste it, but you can't touch it. And so a study memory is like that smoke, you can almost grab onto it, but you can't quite grab it, you can't quite remember it. And so when you're doing your practice words, on those practice sheets, if you can't write it down, you still do not know it. Or if you can't say it out loud, convincingly, you still do not know it. But if you're just studying in your mind, and you're not doing it out loud, and you're not writing it down, there's no way to know if what you are dealing with is just a smoke memory or a real memory. So you have to at some point, do your work out loud or on paper, just to prove to yourself that you truly do know it. And then during that test, you retrieve that information. And that helps a great deal. Now sometimes, all you need are trigger words. And what that means is there's going to be a single word or phrase from a long extended definition. That's like your key word or your trigger word. And it's going to trigger the memory of the definition, it's going to key in on what that statement said in your material. Let me explain how this works. I had a student who needed to do a speech. And she had this speech do very, very shortly the next day, and she had no ability to retrieve that speech. None zero. She had it all planned and written out. She knew what she wanted to say. But she had no ability to give the speech based on what she had written out. So I told her to write down on a flashcard one fact from each comment in the speech, the whole fact. So she did that she had 15 or 20 facts that she was putting in that speech. And so she had all these postcards or flashcards done with this factor it not one fact per card. And then I said now take that fact in find a trigger word or a key word from that fact that you want to use to remember it and just put that word on another card with a fact. So that happened very quickly that didn't take long at all to do. I said, Uh, now I want you to take those key words or those trigger words, whatever you want to call them. And I want you to put them around the room, put three over here, and four over here. And couple more over here. And a couple more over here, just the key words, just those trigger words, not the fact I said give me the facts in the order that you want to say them, because I needed something to look at to make sure that she was giving me the right information, I said, so now what I want you to do is just learn where those keywords are, where those trigger words are in the room, and you want to group these trigger words in three groups of three or four. No more than that, because any more than that, they're just too hard to remember, you have to study in groups of three or four. So three words here, four words, here, two words here, that's fine. Don't go any bigger than that, take a few minutes, and learn where all these things are in the room. Okay, again, that didn't take long. So what has your child's done so far, your child has taken the speech, broken it down into facts, and for each fact, done a keyword, and then rearrange the key words around their room. Okay, you with me so far? Now, ask your child to give you the speech. And when they stare at you in disbelief. Ask them, What was your first word? Now what was that word associated with. And as soon as they learned to associate that word, with the fact that goes with it, they're golden. So all they have to do is just grab the trigger words one at a time, in order, and then the fact will follow. It's kind of like having a helium filled balloon, and it has a string on it, that trigger word or that keyword that's like the string. And if you want to grab that balloon, that balloon is the fact if you want to grab that balloon, you grab the string, and you just pull it down and you've got the fact with it stay attached to each other in your memory, that it really works, it's a really easy way to memorize a whole lot of loose information in order. And that's actually based on an old Greek way of studying called the peg system where you're actually hanging something on a peg. And what you're doing is you're hanging that long fact on a keyword and that keyword is the peg, and you have the pegs in order. And you just remember which keyword goes first, second, third, fourth, and so on, and the rest of the information will follow. And it really does work, you'd be surprised, is studying by association, I had one student who told me that every time she had to study for a major test, she made bread, because the act of meeting helped her to memorize the words and the facts and the details that she needed to learn, she connected that fact to that physical activity of baking bread. So a lot of studying is how you connect the information to something else in your memory, it's finger finding that trigger, when I did the words around the room, I was finding the trigger for the student, when the other college student made bread and needed bread. She was using that act of kneading the dough to remember the word so she was making that association. So anytime you can associate the information you need to learn with something else, you're going to remember the act of something else, the definition the information will come with it. shooting a basketball is another good way, when you shoot the basketball, you're going to remember if you're shooting it while you're simultaneously saying this definition, when you're doing those two things at the same time, you're going to remember where that ball went, if it went through the hoop, or if it bounced off the backboard, you're gonna remember that and you're gonna remember the detail that goes with it. It's just odd, but it works. And then my final suggestion today is teaching it literally teaching it, teach it to somebody, teach it to yourself in the mirror, teach it to your dog, teach it to your cat, teach it to your child,
teach it to your baby, teach it to the plant in the room, whatever, you gotta teach it to something or somebody and the act of actually saying those words out loud, getting those words out of your mouth without looking at anything, lets you know that you know the information for the test. And so when you take that test, you will remember that moment that you studied it, so you're actually connecting it to that study moment. Let's say you're talking to your dog, and your dog starts wagging his tail and jumping up and down, you're gonna remember that the dog starts barking at somebody, you're gonna remember that if your dog starts scratching at the door to let me out, you're gonna remember that, but honestly, it helps to trigger those memories, because that's what a lot of preparation for tests is understanding what you need to do to lock that memory in. When we talk about memory. When things are in our long term memory. That's where you need to file that memory in your brain so that you can retrieve it. Well. It's one big filing system with a lot of files. So you got to remember where you put it and those It triggers in that act of studying those keywords, those barking dogs, that kneading dough, whatever it is you're doing shooting the basketball, marking it down with green highlighter, writing it down on the PowerPoint, making flashcards around your room, whatever it is, those are your memory triggers that you're going to use to recall the information. So I hope you got some good out of this today, this was just me doing a little bit of a brainstorming session on study skills. Those were the ones that I liked the best. And those were the ones that I have seen students use most successfully, but I'm sure there are hundreds of others. And if you have a suggestion, I'd be more than happy to share it with the listeners. I'm very, very interested in what other people do to help succeed and memorize words and memorize information for college. So by all means, if you go to my website, Mickey teaches.com, that's M I C K i e teaches.com. There's a page in there where you can send me your podcast ideas, you can send me your study techniques as well, or you can send me an email at Mickey firstname.lastname@example.org. And I'll be glad to answer you back. I'd love to hear from you. And just like last week, I'll be more than happy to share your idea on the next episode of college disabilities and success. In the meantime, I hope you have a great rest of the day, and we'll talk again soon. Bye. Information contained throughout this podcast has been gleaned from my own personal experiences, but to ensure accuracy, please contact the Disability Services at the college of your choice to have firsthand information and the most up to date policies and procedures followed for your particular institution of higher education. The content in any of these podcasts is not intended as a substitute for information from legal, educational or medical professionals. Always seek the advice of your attorney or qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have with regards to illegal educational or medical concerns.
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