Monthly Archives: August 2016
So, you’re sitting in your dorm room, eating instant noodles and thinking to yourself, “Hey, if I recall correctly, I’m here to learn something!” You pull your books out from underneath your beat up futon and try to read a few chapters, only to discover that it’s not going so well.
This is a scenario many college undergraduates find themselves in. It’s no wonder, either. Most of them hardly ever had to study in high school, so now they just don’t know how to do it! I know this was what I experienced when I went off to college, and many of my friends were the same way. Here are a few tips and tricks we learned along the way, as we learned how to study.
Get Out of the Dorm
Living in the dorms is a great experience, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a place conducive to good study habits. There are far too many distractions. People can knock on your door and ask you to go out to a party, or you might find yourself falling asleep on that comfortable futon your parents bought you. You’re better off finding a quiet corner of the library or, my personal favorite, pulling up a chair at a coffee shop and sipping a cup of tea as you get your work done.
All Nighters = Bad Idea
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to most of you, but all nighters are BAD. Not only does it screw with your sleep schedule, but when your brain is deprived of sleep, it doesn’t work as well. You won’t remember most of what you studied during an all nighter. And if you’re writing a paper, the quality will be far less than if you’d done it at 3 PM rather than 3 AM.
Choose Study Groups Wisely
Studying with others is a good idea. Turning a study group into a party group, however, is not. If you study with people you know you’re going to spend most of your time chatting with, you’re not going to get much done. You’re better off studying with a group of acquaintances that are in the same class than a group of friends you’d normally go out on the town with. If you study with people from your classes who you didn’t know prior, the one thing you’ll have in common is that you’re in the same class, so you’ll find yourself talking more about that class and less about who is dating who among your group of friends.
Many colleges have work study jobs available. These jobs allow you to make money and get homework done at the same time. Can it get any better? These sort of jobs might include security monitors, computer lab attendants, or parking lot attendants. These jobs are highly coveted, so don’t expect to come by one too easily, but if you can get one it can be a great motivator for studying. If you’ve got nothing better to do, and you’re getting paid at the same time, why not study?
Turn Off the ‘Puter
The Internet, though great for researching and other homework helps, is a major distraction. Turn off your computer if you don’t need it. Facebook can wait, but that ten page paper due tomorrow cannot.
Learning to study isn’t too difficult if you’re willing to put in the time. Be patient with yourself if you’re a freshman―adjusting to college coursework is tough, especially if you went to an easy high school like I did, where studying was largely a myth. You can get good grades if you put in the time and try some of the tips I’ve given you.
Oh, and one last thing―procrastination does NOT make it happen!!
- Go to class. You’re a college student now, and you can do whatever you want. Get tempted by sleeping? Well, it’s alright if you want to make up it later. But retaining GPA is easier than trying to improve.
- Know how to deal with the courses. It’s better to delay completion time than to over-schedule yourself. Unless you want to brag about how soon you finish your work, it makes no difference between a few months and a year while taking a panoramic view of the situation.
- Get involved. Wherever you go, another state university or a local one, you can expand your hobbies and make new friends. College is a simple way to make contact with new friends. Join fraternities or sororities. You must make contact with others. Perhaps, you seem a little snobbish in some student’s eyes. Someone may get tired of your presence wherever they go. But you can really benefit from those networks and resources.
- Make friends with your classmates who make a high grade. You can borrow their previous tests, notes, and lab reports. This is not cheating, but making the most of your resource and network. Many fraternities and sororities have shared those resources in the database. You can swap with your friends or bake some cookies for their help.
- Buy books online or from your friends. OMG, your college books can fill up a boat. It takes about $100 every term even you sell it later when you finish. It costs less to buy them from Amazon or other online bookstores. You can get a gift card and a reasonable recycle price when you finished.
- Keep in touch with family and old friends. Making new contact in college doesn’t mean taking your family and old friends for granted. Their support and encourage get you where you are today. Give them a call, talk to them with Skype, send them a greeting card, or do something else let them know you’re missing them.
- Learn from mistakes. You must learn from it when ou do something stupid. College is a place where you can learn subject knowledge, how to quote the classics, and how to live. A great part of college experience is getting to know how to come out from your failures.
- Be silly. Hey, it’s college! Leave some room for doing something outrageous,taking risks or being silly during this time. All of these can be beautiful memories when you recall your youth. This is also a great way to communicate with your new friends. But keep in mind that new experiences can be silly, not something that endanger your life, health, or self-image.
- Learn to balance and prioritize. Good time management skills are essential for exploring you college life:various social and school activities, travel, works, and tests. A part of life is to manage our time, and you’d better learn it as soon as possible at school.
- Learn about yourself. Figure out what kind of life you want to live. Maybe, you don’t know it now, but you should think about it when you are experiencing something new, making new friends, or exploring a new world of knowledge.
When it comes to studying or learning, every student prefers his / her distinct pattern that suits their speed, grasping capacity, and other academic abilities. However, there are certain studying techniques that can aid the learning process to a great extent. Taking notes in the class, reviewing the notes, and rewriting the study material can seem too intimidating at times. Here is a step by step guide that you might find helpful if you are in the process of chalking out your own plan. First of all, you need to acquire some useful study habits to follow a good plan.
Study Techniques for Students
Classroom knowledge is interactive, as well as important. The knowledge that one grasps in a classroom is extremely valuable. Make it a point to attend the classes regularly, so that you don’t miss out on the important points and topics mentioned in the class. Often, teachers mention important topics and subjects that might come in handy while cracking the class tests and exams. Attending classes will help you to understand and remember each and every concept clearly and get rid of any doubt that you have regarding the subject. No amount of reading or self-study can match up to the level of interactive study that is the distinct feature of classroom sessions.
Maintaining Organized and Comprehensive Notes
One simple process to have comprehensive notes is to include the following steps:
- Take Notes in the classroom.
- While reviewing the notes during self-study, make your own additions to sum up your understanding of the topic.
- Research further to include additional data to your notes.
A well-organized set of comprehensive notes is the key to studying correctly. Also, make sure the notes are clean in terms of writing and presentation; avoid scribbles in your final notes. It is always preferable that you type your notes and maintain them online or take prints. Having a soft copy of your notes always works well, as you can take prints if and when required and in addition to that you never have to worry about losing your notes. However, don’t worry if you do not own a computer or if you prefer writing you notes on paper, you can maintain files or notebooks as well.
Self-Study and Research
It is a common misconception that self-study can begin only after a particular topic or chapter is taught in class. You should start preparing for the class in advance. It is of utmost importance that you have time to review the notes you have taken during the class, and try to read more about the subject on your own. Be it reference books, or e-books, try to hunt for more information about your subject, so that you have a comprehensive view of the topics taught under your syllabus. Often while reading and self-studying, it happens that you come across doubts or questions that did not occur to you in the classroom. Try and answer these questions yourself with the help of books or the Internet, however, in case you fail to find the answer, jot down these questions so that you remember to clarify the questions in your next class.
Group Discussions, Debates, and Conversations
Yes, one of the important habits that one must acquire to enhance the studying process is indulging in group discussions, debates, or simple conversations about the subjects that you are studying. Group discussions can be a great way to broaden your perspective over important issues since group discussions give every group member a chance to voice their understanding, which might not necessarily be similar to others. Group discussions are thus a healthy and a rather informal way of exchanging information and discussing issues. Many teachers encourage this technique in their classroom as well.
No matter how much people frown upon the planning process and the timetables, it is a known fact that having a clear and detailed plan makes it easier for a person to reach their goal. According to your convenience, make a daily/weekly/monthly planner for your studies. Although the monthly planning process might seem convenient it is always better to have a weekly or a daily plan, so that abrupt changes in class schedule or any other changes can be taken into consideration accordingly.
Yes, there exist some species of students who burn the midnight oil, and slog it out every single day. The studying process should be such that it leaves enough room for a student to indulge in recreational activities and relaxation. Always chalk out a schedule that will not hamper your sleep, your health, your sports / recreational activities, and other routine tasks. Also, studying a single subject at a stretch (like an entire week or so) can get boring, hence plan a schedule that helps you switch from one subject to another in sufficient time.
Build the Right Attitude
Normally, students get too caught up with the grades, the percentage, and the entire marking system. Always remember that if you study with the aim of acquiring knowledge, the grades will be brighter by default. However, if you just aim for high grades, there is a chance you might get the grades, but you will miss out on acquiring comprehensive knowledge on a particular subject. Always study with the right attitude, and you will never have to worry about your grades. Knowledge is way beyond the grades.
Efficient Note-taking Techniques
While you are in the classroom, it is very important to pay attention to your lecturer and attempt to grasp every single thing that is being said or discussed. Since students cannot solely rely on their memory to retain all the information, note making is an essential part of classroom studying. Here are some note-making techniques that can make the process much more convenient and hassle free.
The Cornell Method
This is one of the best methods for writing your notes. It is precise, comprehensive, and most importantly it does not include too much re-writing and can still be clean and organized. While using the Cornell method, all you have to do is, rule your paper with a 2 ½ inch margin on the left which leaves a six-inch area on the right. While in a classroom, take down your notes in the six-inch area. For every significant bit of information, write a cue in the left margin (the 2½ inch area). When the lecturer/teacher moves to a new point, skip a few lines after the earlier notes. Once the class is over, what you will have is succinct notes with cues in the left margin and space below every point, where you can expand the point and jot down the subject in your own words. While reviewing the notes make use of a card to hide the notes, leaving the cues exposed. Now, say the cue out loud, and then reproduce as much as you can of the material underneath the card, and move the card to see if what you said matches the written content. Rest assured that if you can say it, you know it pretty well.
The Outlining Method
The outlining method involves listening and then writing important points in an organized pattern, which is based on space indention. The major points will be written farthest to the left, whereas more specific points will be written following the main point, but will be aligned to the right. The distance from the major point will indicate the degree of importance of a specific point. The indention can be labeled with Roman numerals, or even decimals. Although this system is well-organized, requires minimum editing, and is easy for reviewing notes, it does have some disadvantages. Disadvantages of this system are that it requires strong concentration level in the class to achieve accurate organization and hence may not be easy to use in a speedy lecture.
The Mapping Method
The Mapping method is a rather graphic method to jot down your notes and hence helps you to visually track your lecture. This system can be easily used in speedy lectures, as it requires minimum thinking. The mapping method also makes it easier to edit your notes by adding numbers and color-codes. Also, while reviewing your notes, the mapping method will require you to restructure your thought processes, which will in turn mean that you will recheck your understanding in the notes.
Extra Study Tips for Students
- Make sure the place where you will be studying is free from all sorts of distractions. Ideally, it is always better if you study in a quiet environment, however for people who prefer studying with some music playing in the background, it is better to keep the volume very low.
- Do prepare for your classes in advance, as this will help you understand the things taught in the class better.
- Attend the classes regularly, so that you have an idea of what is being taught in the class.
- Reading the borrowed notes, or textbooks will not match classroom learning.
- Make it a point to research on the subject further, once the class is over. Do not limit yourself to the syllabus; always focus on obtaining comprehensive knowledge of a subject. Shallow understanding can get you good grades by chance, but comprehensive knowledge will enrich you in the true sense.
Breezing through high school involves finding the perfect balance between studies, extra curricular activities, and social obligations. There are a few tried and tested techniques that have always proved effective for learning and can help you achieve that balance.
Tips to Improve High School Study Skills
Create a Schedule
The primary step to effective studying is to make a schedule and follow it. This will include allocating how many hours and which part of the day you will spend studying. Among the vital factors for students, is the ability to prepare a schedule that takes into consideration the time you will spend doing assignments or homework, as well as manage to include some real study time over and above this. Try to ensure that your study time takes place after you have rested, so that you are fresh, alert, and are able to absorb what you study. You will also see that studying at the same time every day will help you to focus and concentrate better. It is also a good practice to study the same portion that was covered in class during the day, as it will be fresh in your mind. It is also important to keep revising this schedule, to make it more effective over time.
Where to Study
It is important to pick a place to study that will help you concentrate. Any place rife with distractions will cause you to waste a significant part of your study time. The spot you pick to study should be austere, without the presence of any jarring colors, pictures, or loud sounds. Apart from the place you pick at home, libraries, study lounges, and private rooms are also good options.
Another key step in creating good study material is to compress a portion of information to about one-third of its original size, including only the important dates. This method, that also applies to study skills for middle school, makes reviewing and revising very easy.
Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review
High school as well as middle school study skills include this method; often referred to as SQ3R. The first step is to survey and involves chalking out all that needs to be covered (make subheads and points) and getting a general understanding of the subject. Next, you can categorize material and learn it as answers to questions such as what, why, how, when, who and where. As you study, ask yourself questions and seek the answers in your material. You are more likely to remember it using this method. You can also make your notes following this format. The next crucial step is reading, which must not be a mechanical process, but a receptive one. Ensure that you include tables, graphs, and illustrations, while reading. The next step is reciting which will tell you how effective your reading has been. One way to do it is read one section, and then explain it to yourself (without looking at your book), to check how much you have retained. The importance of doing this is that information is better retained in your own words. If you have sorted the information into main headings and sub points, they will come in handy here, as they pop up in your head while you are recalling, and help you piece together all that you have read. The last step, reviewing, is often the most important one. It is often said that information that appears before us a few times, gets transferred from our temporary memory to our permanent one. One needs to review and revise any material about three times, before it firmly takes root in our minds.
Apart from these study tips, you can come up with several of your own study skills for school. By making good notes, you’ve won half the battle. Highlighting important text in books has also proved helpful. However, you should know that elementary school study skills, such as reading aloud, have been proved ineffective. Reading aloud or moving your lips while reading, only slows you down. Lastly, remember that time is the most valuable resource you have. All the techniques and study skills will amount to nothing, if you don’t use your time wisely.