How to Study for Your Psychology Classes

College students studying psychology.
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Studying for your psychology courses can be a lot different than studying for some of your other college classes such as math and history. While you can still use a lot of your tried-and-true study strategies, you may find that you need to try out some new techniques in order to succeed in your psychology classes. Check out some of these tips on how to study psychology.

Make the Most of the Class Lectures

Students sometimes use class time as an opportunity to daydream or nap, but this can be perilous to your grade. Even if you are one of the lucky few that manages to coast by without paying attention to lectures, ask yourself this one question: Am I really getting the most out of your education? The information you are learning now will serve as the basis for far more advanced classes, so building a solid understanding now will be vital to your continued success in school.

Active listening is a learning strategy that involves really focusing on what the speaker is saying, paying attention to nonverbal signals and asking questions when necessary. In order to get the most out of your lectures, always read the assigned chapters before class. As you read the chapter, make note of the questions you may have. If these questions remain unresolved when the lecture is over, ask your instructor for further clarification.

Take Good Psychology Notes

No matter how you choose to study psychology, whether in a traditional classroom setting or in an online course, you should always take high-quality psychology notes. The simple act of writing things down is a great way to help cement the information in your memory, but it also has the advantage of giving you something to refer back to later on.

In addition to having good note-taking skills, you should also spend some time every week reviewing your class notes. One strategy that works quite well is to spend 10 to 15 minutes before class reading through the previous day's notes and then spend another 10 to 15 minutes after class reviewing the notes you've just taken. These brief study sessions will help you retain information better by periodically refreshing the material in your memory.

Teach the Information to a Classmate

One of the best ways to learn is to actually teach the information to another person. If possible, pair up with another student and practice explaining different psychological theories to each other. By doing this, you will have the opportunity to relate information in your own words as well as listen to someone else give their own explanation of various psychological concepts.

One way to accomplish this is to form a study group with some fellow classmates. Each week, assign a certain topic or section to each member of the group and then take turns teaching each other about the concepts, reviewing the material and discussing any questions you may have. This approach is a great way to study the material and ensure that the information is firmly cemented in your memory.

Compare and Contrast Different Theories and Concepts

Studying psychology involves more than just reading and memorizing facts. It's important to compare and contrast different theories and think about how these concepts relate to real life. As you learn about different topics, compare the new material to things you learned previously.

For example, you might create a chart outlining the differences between the various branches of psychology or exploring the similarities between two theories of personality. Finally, by relating the information you learn to real examples in your own life, you will find that it is much easier to understand and remember come test time.

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