Study Smarter, Not Harder

When you are preparing for the BOC exam, sometimes it’s easy to think, “If some studying is good, more is better, right?”

Unfortunately, our intuition can sometimes lead us astray.

We as students tend to spend more time doing things that are less effective, and we feel like we are actually accomplishing something.  However, it is often counterproductive and gives us very limited benefit when it comes to long-term content retention.

There are evidence-based techniques that can help you retain information for test day.  Most of these techniques were described by Harvard psychology professors as they instructed students on how to retain all of the content they needed to know for test day.

Some of the key tips include:

  • Frequently quiz yourself.  This can be done with flashcards or verbal explanations, especially right after a study session.  The sooner after you study that you are forced to recall the information, the more likely it is that you will retain that info.
  • Space out your studies.  Essentially, this means that you will study a topic solidly on Day 1, but then on Day 2, spend 15 minutes reviewing what you learned the day prior.  Repeat on Day 4, Day 7, and increasingly spaced days.
  • Frequent, low-stakes testing.  Practice exams give you a great opportunity to prove to yourself whether you’ve mastered the content or not.
  • Explain aloud what you just learned.  After closing up your books, find a willing listener (victim) and begin explaining what you just learned aloud.  Make sure to explain the “why” as well.
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