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How can I review and study?

People seated around a table made of chalkboard with mathematical diagrams written on itBuild a weekly review. If you focus on note-processing during the week, take time over the weekend to review and master the topics presented in your course. It is important to actively learn and engage with the material. Try a few of the examples listed below and meet with your STEM learning specialist at the ARC for more ideas on specific courses.


Benefits of Flashcards

Flashcards come in many different forms. Whether digital or on paper, they provide an accessible tool to review terminology, biological pathways, or chemical reactions. Make your own flashcards to process the information from lecture. Add drawings or mnemonics to help you remember specific details.

  • Practicing active recall helps build stronger neuronal connectionsicon two blank index cards with a question mark on the top card
  • Spaced repetition will help with recall of important course information
  • Flashcards are easy to transport and study more on the go

Click here to watch a video on ways to make flashcards.


Focus on Application & Practice

To really understand the concepts in STEM, you need to dig deeper and analyze the topic from different angles.

Tip 1: Think about purpose and function

How? What? Where? When? Why? What happens when an enzyme cannot perform a function in a chemical pathway? How does one organic chem reaction compare to another? If you change one variable, how would the equation change?

Tip 2: Link problem sets to the lecture learning objectives

Think about the questions in detail to help strengthen the ideas.

Use a textbook, discussion questions, or practice exams and carefully go through the problems to dissect what is being asked and how you may approach this problem. Do not go straight to the answer. Take the time to think through the process and cover up any given answers to the end!

  • Look for problems that go with the material you are working on in class.Try to work though some of the problems as you study the problems. This will help you apply the concepts.
  • Do not leave all the problems to complete until the last minute. Work a few questions a day. This allows you to ask for additional help on any tricky material.  Distribution of the material will help you build on previous concepts.
  • Use the color-coding technique mentioned in tackling problem sets. You will think more about the steps to the problem and have a roadmap to reference when studying for an exam. Make sure to allocate more time to the concepts in the second or third color.
  • Try problem dissection and problem manipulation described in this handout.

Mix Things Up!

If you don’t have a lot of practice problems or practice exams to use for studying, you can “refresh” them again!

    • Upload or import them into a tool that can randomize them for you.
    • Print blank copies of old tests, quizzes, discussion problems, and chapter problems. Cut them up and put them in a box. Pull out a few to do under timed conditions.
    • Pull all your material together and pick random problems to do.
    • Use problems that had been particularly challenging to solve and redo those a few times to reinforce the process.
    • Compare and contract problems/reactions based on the same or similar concepts to see how the prompt and solutions differ or are similar – this also develops processing fluency and improves question analysis.

Try Spatial Processing
icon whiteboardConsider using a white board to work through difficult STEM equations or concepts.

  • You can summarize topics, walk through an equation, or visually represent ideas with drawings.
  • Take a picture of your work to include in your notes and then erase the board for a clean slate.
  • Stand up and walk around your workspace to stay engaged and retain information.
  • Say the material out loud as if you are teaching a friend. Speaking items aloud boosts long term memory formation of the topic.

Create a Study Guide
icon page with circles and linesStart a study guide from your notes and add to this as the semester progresses.  Be careful not to add your entire note set to this guide, instead think through the important concepts and work on connections between these topics.  Look through the learning objectives as you create your guide and link assignment questions as well.  Add drawings, charts or pathways to help you visualize the main ideas.

Considering joining other students from your class to bounce ideas around and work through concepts from lecture.  Need help finding other students from your class? Try Study Connect.


You don’t have to learn alone. Check out the resources listed in Where can I get help