Study Habits

Where did the time go? How can I remember all of this? What am I supposed to learn? Most people agree that while in class they should be learning something. Obviously, all that the person that asked the above questions, learned is that he or she does not know how to learn. Perhaps, learning how to learn is just as important as learning, itself. Effective study skills should be part of every college student’s study regimen for increases comprehension of study material, increased retention thereof, and increased quality of time therein.

Postpone debate. If something that is said by the instructor contradicts one’s thoughts or beliefs, write it down in one’s notes so that the disagreement gently drifts away, and one can continue absorbing new material. If one has a strong opinion contrary to the instructor’s, then it may be necessary to make a mental note, “This is what I believe to but true, but for this class, this is what my instructor believes.”

I decided to try this to help with handling my sub-vocalization while taking notes. I felt that this would help me to understand what material the instructor would prefer me to learn, making the learning process easier. This proved to be of little help. The fact one does not; yet, fully understand a concept remains. This leaves one behind the class and the instructor. With many new classes, the new material builds off previously learned material. Without that knowledge, it may prove to be very difficult to take notes on what may seem a foreign language.

Writing a question down to ask later or just forgetting about it now, does work. This would help to take notes by focusing to the front of the class, instead of inside of one’s own head.

Ask whatever is needed to help one comprehend the information. It may differ from another student’s needs. However, the purpose is not to impress others, but to understand. It made sense that to learn, one must employ the use of questions. By asking fearlessly, I have been able to understand everything that I wanted to. Besides helping oneself when asking a question, it may clarify a concept for another student. This may open up communication, discussion, and debate, in which everyone benefits.

This has been especially beneficial in math classes. Math is an inanimate object that has life breathed into it when the teacher has the opportunity to see where his or her pupils’ understanding lies, and then changes his or her approach to the needs of the individuals in the class. Asking helps the instructor to do this.

Mind mapping is a procedure that puts the written word into pictorial format. First, starting at the center, write the main idea. Then place supporting details outside of the main point. Next use lines to define the branch. From the supporting details, create more branches that define them. This is done until one runs out of material. Mind map summaries are done without notes or a book; instead, they are done from memory. The action of creating a mind map summary is a review and perhaps an awakening of how much was really learned.

The idea of running through my thoughts and then placing them into pictorial format appealed to me. I thought it would connect both sides of my brain and therefore enhance my memory. I was proved wrong. First, I found it a waste of time to write something down that I already remembered. Even though I was there when I wrote it, it was difficult to comprehend afterward.

The purpose of underling is to create signals for reviewing. In addition, underlining requires physical activity, and as a result, helps build strong neural pathways in one’s memory. In underlining, mark the most important material. Usually this is less than ten percent. Highlighting pens make work easier to read. Write notes and summaries in the margin.

This was a foreign art to me. Others were using the technique with much success. Therefore, I decided it would be no waste of time. Either I would like it and use it or I would not and disregard it. I liked it. It made sense of the text and helped me to create a mental outline of the material. I could also quickly find an important point that required extra attention.

In addition to understanding material presented, a student is usually expected to remember that information. “Writing it down” is a technique that combines the benefits of reading and rewriting the material. It helps even if you later throw the paper away because you have read and written it. It is a good practice for written exams. Once it has been read, all that remains is to remember it and rewrite it once more.

It makes sense to a certain extent. If when we were younger and we threw a paper airplane in class or put a paper clip in the electric socket, we would have to write what we have done on the board, many times. The reason this was done, I suspect, was so that we would not forget. The punishment for such an act was to write it down.

After practicing this technique, I found that writing down something already known is a waste of paper and time. Although writing may prompt us to be more logical, coherent, and complete, the student would be aware that he or she is not writing a report of everything studied. Furthermore, it is much easier to remember something learned with meaning, than to let it flow in and out of the brain. Perhaps the only useful practice of this technique is in punishment.

Recite and repeat is a technique that combines reciting from memory and repeating what you have said. The result is synergistic. Recite the material in your own words. Then, repeat it until you know it. It can be done anywhere and at any time.

This seemed to be too simple. All I have to do to remember something is to remember something. It provided me with a tool I could use in the shower or at the bus stop. I could use it anywhere; combined with other memory techniques I could remember anything I wanted to recall, at any time.

In a math class, I need to remember formulas very quickly for application on tests and homework. By reciting it, the formulas are now coming out of me. It is no longer a struggle against it because I know it; it is a part of me. By repeating them repeatedly, it has become second nature, not a battle.

Learning requires many skills. Comprehension, retention, and increasing the quality of time are among them. It is of little wonder then, that those who have learned to learn become sagacious with their studies.