This sounds a bit odd at first, but it’s a very valuable study hack. Here’s how and why it works.
1. CREATE YOUR STUDY MATERIAL. Just as you normally (well hopefully) would. Create your usual study materials extracted from your messy class and/ or text book notes. eg. flash cards, mind maps, audio notes, diagramed notes etc.
2. TIP. Make sure these study materials are chunked and categorised per topic and sub-topic. This is fairly obvious.
3. TIP. Make sure your study notes are associated and are able to answer and address a number of questions that could be asked. ie. Teacher-type questions that would be found on a test.
4. TALK YOUR NOTES OUT. Go to a private place where you feel comfortable talking out-loud to yourself. Study your notes, and then recite and talk them out aloud. Because you’re so focused on talking them out correctly, your brain naturally triggers more memory pathways in the brain. It creates a physical context and memory association to the information, which in turn helps when you need to recall that information in a test.
5. EXTRA TIP. Even better than ‘talking your notes out’ is teaching someone else the information. It has a similar effect, but it probably keeps you a lot more focused on the task, because when you’re involving someone else, you inadvertently try even harder and ultimately learn the information even faster and more efficiently.
Hope this is helpful.