I usually take notes during class, and then use those notes and the textbook to review the concepts. Mindlessly doing tons of practice problems doesn't help me at all. Once I get the concept through other's example, I'm set, period. I usually try a few problems to make sure that I'm good though. I also go to my Math professor's office hours frequently to make sure I didn't miss anything important. Basically: I cram the textbook and class notes.
If you marry later, you have to make sure its a stereotypical ISTJ girl in a black leather costume, who daily awaits your progress report on your math skills in her office
"How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect." ~ Oscar Wilde - The picture of Dorian Gray
I take notes. Especially during lectures. Depending on the type of class, I may rewrite my notes over and over again (this is useful for dates, formulas, and other small pieces of important information). Or I may read passages from the text and take notes.
Either way, lots of writing is involved and the goal when studying is to fix the image of the note page into my head. I don't have photographic memory, but what I do have is the ability to compile data and recreate the pages of notes in my head. Since I spent so much time studying/copying my notes, I know roughly where everything on the page was. So when I am trying to remember a piece of information, I draw up my image of the note page I know it's on, attempt to recall where on the page the information was, then recall the memory of what the blob of text looked like. From there, I can usually remember what the information was. If I cannot, I relax and think about something completely unrelated, then slowly work my way back to the notebook image. Sometimes I can recall related words to what I wrote, and finding the right key word will immediately bring up all the information at once.
Uh, yeah, and while all of this is happening, I don't have any music or distractions around me. And I only stop when I start to feel agitated as this is an indication that my brain has reached maximum information capacity and further attempts to input more new information become counterproductive.
I also have a couple of rules (that I sometimes bend or break, naturally):
1. No studying 2 hours before the test. The 2 hours must be used to do something not stressful and generally relaxing.
2. No taking notes out in class before or after the test. If I do not know it 2 hours before the test, I sure as hell won't know it 5 minutes before the test and looking at notes after the test does nothing to help my grade as it is too late.
3. No skipping meals before taking the test, and try to eat so that when I take the test, I am in the state of "not hungry, but not full". This allows for the better concentration (seriously, otherwise I end up thinking about food the whole time).
All that said, I rarely do hours and hours of studying. At most, I may study for 2 hours for a couple of days and then be fine. If I'm really interested in a subject, I may never study at all as I will retain all the information from classwork and reading and taking notes. The whole writing my notes over and over thing is done for really detail-oriented subjects like history where you usually need to remember dates, names, places all in a specific order of events.
"I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
I never taught myself to study and I feel I half-ass it when I do. I think that my textbooks should be rewritten into Wikipedia articles or told to me fireside as if they are ancient tales, and I'd likely retain more than I do now when I sit down to learn.
I can't read mass amounts of information of things I don't care about and retain it (if I love the topic, it's a different story) so I try to read over everything, break it down into sections, make outlines, and then make lists. It's the only way I get anything done.
Physics/Engineering: Night before read relevant parts of the textbook, do practice exams. It seems to all come together in the exam as long as it is in there somewhere.
Maths: Find something more fun to do, study is overrated.
If it is a subject I'm worried about: work out all concepts from first principles so I get them at a fundamental level. Approach exam knowing I can derive anything I don't see straight off.
Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
When I study, I usually hang upside down in the roof beams of my meadhall while I slowly translate the textbook out loud (high pitched screaming) in German. If I really need to learn, I dress out as a Russian hooker on steroids. It makes the studying sessions memorable.
Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come
-I create stupid story that involves the subject. I try to make it funny (to me), because the funnier it is, the better chance i'm able to recall it. I also try to anchor new subjects to things i can remember easy and try to make a story out of it.
(for example, i picture a number 14, with a pair of new rack looking at at herself on an aluminum, while bleaching her hair with a product called Cl17. Guess what subject i'm trying to remember .)
-Also I look at the general idea behind a subject and try to understand the overall concept of what its trying to convey. It's really the only way something can stick in my head for a long time. The above method is for remembering detailed facts (names and words that i'm not use to dealing but is an important piece in the overall picture), but not as effective as understanding it indefinenatly.