By Sidra Miller
Taking STEM classes can be both exhilarating and challenging. As students get into hard math and science classes, the right study skills are crucial. These classes require a combination of problem-solving, analytical thinking, and a strong foundation of knowledge from previous courses. Studies show that reading and lectures are a very small percentage of retention rates. The best study methods are discussions, doing practice problems, and teaching others.
The discussion method teaches students to work together as a team while sharpening their ability to think quickly and rebuttal an argument. These are valuable skills to have because they increase success in not only the classroom but also in the workplace. Through conversations, students absorb and process information which helps solidify the concepts, and they can learn how to have productive arguments about a particular subject. Conversations also help them to speak more clearly and articulate their thoughts better. In addition, exchanging ideas in a group setting helps further enhance their understanding of the concept from different perspectives.
Practice problems are another really good study method because they practice repetition and apply the concept to different situations. It helps reinforce their understanding but also helps with problem-solving skills. Repeatedly solving problems of the same concept helps the person have a deeper level of comprehension since the more times it’s practiced, the easier it’ll become. Consistent exposure to a variety of problem sets improves adaptability, preparing learners to face a wide range of challenges. This repeated trial-and-error process not only shows conceptual comprehension but also instills confidence in addressing complicated undertakings. Practice problems promote a link between concepts and practice, closing the gap between knowledge and real-world problem-solving—a vital skill set relevant to a wide range of circumstances.
Lastly, teaching others is another really good form of studying. In order for someone to be able to properly teach something, they themselves have to be able to understand it. Also, teaching requires them to be able to break down complex concepts into manageable ones and have to be able to articulate them. This forces a deeper engagement because it demands a high level of understanding. Teaching also quickly shows areas of weakness so the person knows specifically what ideas to practice. Like practice problems, teaching helps strengthen knowledge through repetition. Lastly, teaching enforces a sense of management and accountability, helping to motivate students to put time into practicing.
Overall, discussion-based studying, doing practice problems, and teaching is some of the best study methods for STEM classes because they use communication and repetition, which are crucial to fully comprehending a concept. Engaging in discussions encourages the exchange of diverse perspectives, fostering a dynamic learning environment that challenges individuals to articulate and refine their understanding collaboratively. Practice problems not only apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios but also promote repetition, reinforcing key principles through iterative problem-solving. Teaching, as a study method, combines communication and repetition in a unique way.
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