Trevor Blyth
Senior, Industrial & Management Engineering, Billings, MT

When reading my suggestions for effective studying please consider my comments given the fact that I view myself as a perfectionist even for an engineer. However, it is my hope that some might find my thoughts useful.

The amount of stress a person is under can have a very significant impact upon how effectively they study and learn. There are many factors that can contribute to stress. The management of some of these factors can help reduce stress and make studying much easier and more effective. Below is a list of causes of stress from my personal experience and also some possible solutions.

Stress reducer #1

Start homework assignments early while the material is fresh in your mind. Working with class material will be easiest while it is still new in your mind. Also, by beginning to work on assignment soon after it has been given will allow plenty of time to work on an assignment before it is due. This will eliminate a great deal of stress and make the work will seem easier.

Stress reducer #2

Plan to set aside a part of the day to devote to homework. Set aside more time that you think you will need. There are always unexpected delays that will rob your time. Simply knowing that you have more than enough time will make studying seem less rushed and will reduce the level of stress. You will actually work faster and learn better because you are relaxed.Separate socialization, and entertainment from studying. Take breaks to talk to people and relax for a few minutes, but don't combine serious studying and socialization into the same activity. It takes at least twice as long to do the same amount of studying if you are constantly changing your focus to participate in a conversation. Also, because you are not focused on the material it will not sink in nearly as well.

Stress reducer #3

Make the effort to truly learn the material and understand it fully the first time. Don't completely move on to another subject until you feel comfortable with the current topic or information. By learning the material well the first time, your mind will actually digest and retain the material better. Reviewing for a test will be quick and easy because you already know it.

Stress reducer #4

In studying for a test the most important thing is to review a day or two before the exam. Most people need time to digest large amounts of information before they truly have control. Cramming the day before a test simply confused me more often than not.

A final thought: double check exam times (I missed the first final exam of my college career and went from an A to a C in that class). However, as I mentioned the importance of stress relief above, I promptly went skiing at Bridger.