If you have to study for a test or exam, you often feel overwhelmed by the vast amounts of material. But even if you just want to learn something for yourself: There are so many sources nowadays. It is often difficult to find a beginning. Especially if you don’t know what exactly you need to know.
Here’s the first hack: Sort out everything you don’t need to learn.
Pay attention to the tips the teacher (professor..) gives you! Most of the time he mentions roughly what will be asked in the test when he announces it. Be sure to write it down! If you have not done so, ask someone for this information! This way you can reduce your effort incredibly in advance. So I could save often already about three quarters of the work! Of course, it depends on your field of study and the teacher.
Of course, you can learn much easier if you take notes properly. You should always make your notes from class as clear as possible. For you, not for the teacher. I do very well with different colors in the headings.
Also, I always took notes when the teacher mentioned something I thought was important. This made it much easier for me to understand what it was about afterwards. Make your notes YOUR notes. What the teacher writes on the board is not necessarily what you understand best!
If your teacher announces a test and does not mention any topics, then ask specifically! Try to get as much information as possible about what you do NOT have to learn!
“That means topic XY is not on the test?”
Take your documents and look for topics that you can exclude in advance!
This is important. Now you know you don’t have to go over all the material since the last test.
Nothing is more unsatisfying than finding out on the test that you spent hours of your life cramming something that wasn’t asked at all. And at worst, you’ll be asked something you didn’t learn! So you create enough space in advance for the really important things.
If you want to study for your own interest and not for a test, this means for you:
Make clear what exactly your goal is! For example, do you want to travel to a foreign country and make yourself understood on the street? Order food or rent a car? Then it makes little sense to learn how to talk about the weather. Sure.
Then you should specifically learn what “Where can I find XY”, “How much does it cost per month”, or “I want to book a room” means. And what the answers to these questions might be.