Study Tips and Techniques


Study Tips and Techniques

When it comes to studying or learning, every student prefers his/her distinct pattern that suits his 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, 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 study plan. First of all you need to acquire some useful study habits to follow a good study plan. Here are the study habits that can help you:

Attending Classes
Classroom knowledge is interactive, as well as important. The amount of knowledge that one can grasp in a classroom is extremely valuable for students. 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 clear out 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 a distinct feature of classroom sessions.

Maintaining Organized and Comprehensive Notes
Yes maintaining your notes is another essential element of studying. One simple process to have comprehensive notes is to include the following steps:

  • Take Notes in the Class
  • 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 right studying. 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 since 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 when you After attending the classes, it is of utmost importance that you have time to review the notes that you have taken during the class as well as try and read more about the subject on your own. Be it reference books, or e-books, try and 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 fins and 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 indulge 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 alike. Group discussions are thus a healthy and a rather informal way of exchanging information and discussing issues. Many teachers encourage the group discussion technique in their classroom as well.

Regular Planning
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 the 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 schedules or any other changes can be taken into consideration accordingly.

Balanced Study
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 the 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 and percentile marking.

Classroom Study Tips: 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 of note-making 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 2 ½ 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 that 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 right aligned. The distance from the major point will indicate the degree of importance of a specific point. The indentions 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 well since it requires minimum thinking. The mapping method also makes it easier to edit your notes by adding numbers and color-coding. Also, while reviewing your notes, the mapping method will require you to restructure the thought processes which will in turn mean that you will re-check the understanding as well.

Self-Study Tips: While Studying on Your Own

  • 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 which will help you understand the things taught in the class better.
  • Attend the classes regularly so you have an idea of what is being taught in the class.
  • Reading the borrowed notes, or textbooks will not match the classroom learning.
  • Make it a point to research the subject further after 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.

by Uttara Manohar.

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