Sun 22 Nov 2009
Everyone studies in unique manners depending on the way in which we learn best. Luckily, at this day in age, resources and materials to study and prepare are at our fingertips. Bookstores, libraries, and education centers provide a vast array of books, materials, and other resources worth utilizing. Various companies provide study guides and practice exams at nominal fees. Although some falsely advertise lofty promises and unrealistic guarantees, there are some quality companies that are worth considering. Finally, of course, there are endless amounts of information available on the internet.
With so much material to be found and studied, how does one actually begin to study? While some techniques work for some, they may not be as effective for others. Preparing for the FTCE Test will no doubt require ample amounts of time studying, so the question boils down to how to study.
A few main tricks to studying include:
Many attest to the helpfulness of flash-cards as a study-aid. They are a great way to take major concepts and boil them down to important key points to be written on paper. Flash-cards allow you to quiz yourself or be quizzed by others. The cards are small and portable, which makes studying more accessible. Instead of hauling around heaps of textbooks, FTCE test material can be reviewed by simply going through flash-cards during downtime. An important part of writing out flash-cards is keeping the amount of information written to a minimum. Too much writing proves to be ineffective and encourages memorization rather than learning. Even the process of writing flash-cards incorporates learning, as you will have read, written, and recited the material throughout the entire process.
It is not uncommon to come across a profound statement in a textbook or paper that sums up important information, and to underline or highlight it. By “land-marking” your reading material you are simultaneously reinforcing important concepts and keywords. This process challenges you to choose the most important and relevant facts provided. Keep in mind that often the most important information is found near bold and italicized key words, and other sorts of charts and graphs. Remember to not go high-lighter crazy, as when the entirety of the paper is covered in bright yellow, it becomes ineffective.
It has been proven that a great way to learn any material is to both read it and write it. Note-taking takes highlighting to the next level, by identifying the key pieces of information and writing them down in the text’s words or your own. Information retention is vastly higher in comparison to simply reading. Despite having multiple study guides, books, and papers, key information can be easily combined and put into one single set of notes.
For people who are visual learners, outlines are a great way to visualize the content on various levels. Similar to note-taking, outlines involve the key information arranged in a way that indicates its importance and relationship with other subject areas. Flow charts, diagrams, and other visual representations are great in helping to understand difficult or intangible concepts.
Naturally, practice tests are the closest form of studying for the FTCE. By practicing with a mock test (or even a question or two!), you will become more comfortable and familiar with the structure of the questions. When reviewing material it is easy to believe you know the answers, but a practice test is the truest indicator of whether or not you know the material. Practice tests and questions can be found in various books and resources, as well as from study aide companies online. It is often worth the money to utilize these resources made from people who are familiar with the format of the FTCE test.
Studying, regardless of the method, will pay off in the end. Each of these study techniques provide great benefits, so go ahead and utilize the resources around you and create a studying routine that works for you!