Few notes about learning and studying.
I, to be honest, don’t know many people, who like to study. Don’t get me wrong, studying and learning are two very different things. Learning and being thirsty for knowledge is a constant process throughout life. Even embedded in human nature. Studying, on the other hand, is temporal and feels more like an obligation. At least to a large part of us.
Of course, there are exceptions. If what you currently study interests you or is in a direct correlation to some of your hobbies, then I believe you’ll do good without any guides. And to me, those who’ve enrolled in a programme by their own choice of heart, are the luckiest students among us. But sometimes, even in courses we generally enjoy, there are the occasional rotten apples. By which, I mean certain snobby teachers and some odd subjects. No matter how boring or useless we find them, we just want to get over and be done with them.
So, no matter if you are in elementary school, high school or university, this ”how to study” article is useful for everyone. The …tips below are universal and can be used not just to pass your exams but also with a high score. And therefore get you in that dream school or college!
Tip #1 – Trust the professionals
Now if you thought, that by ”professionals” we mean us from OwlKnow, I gotta say, that I’m flattered. But no, not that kind of professionals. Although you will learn bellow about the ways that have helped us in high school and university, it’s another sort of people I’m talking about. The hardcore pros. People with broad academic experience. People, who’ve gone not just through school, but years upon years of university. Bachelors, masters, PhDs… the entire process.
The motto of the founder of this how to study guide, Dr Marc Dussault is: Get the Best Grades with the Least Amount of Effort. It may sound like a fairy tale to you, I’m sure. So was to me. But while studying for my final state exam after 4 years of Finance class I decided to give it a try. It was said to be hard, but I had no option for failing. Either I take it, or wait an entire year to try again. Not only did I pass, but I also got a nice grade, which will help me when I enrol for my master’s degree. But part of my success I owe to Marc Dussault and his guide.
Basically, Marc highlights a very simple formula and few tools to show you how to study efficiently. These tools are in the form of 6 methods for better remembering of the information in class. He also gives 7 shortcuts for saving time with better efficiency. What is good about this guide, is that Marc has a policy for a refund. So if you don’t like it, you’ll get your money back, guaranteed!
Tip #2 – Understand what type of learner you are
Finding out what type of learner you are will greatly help you in the long run. Because you will be aware of what works best for you and what doesn’t. Sadly, I found out my category way later in my education. According to Oxford Learning, there are four general categories of learners – Visual Learner; Read & Write Learner; Auditory Learner and the Kinaesthetic Learner.
Visual Learners best retain information through watching videos, images or live demonstrations.
Read & Write Learners retain information by both, reading text and writing highlighted moments from the textbook on their notepad or laptop. I like to classify myself as such.
Auditory Learners retain information by audio elements like lecture recordings and listening to the teachers.
Kinaesthetic Learners retain information at best by trial and error, practise and experience.
Tip #3 – Your № 1 enemy? Distractions.
For your information, distractions and procrastination are in a direct correlation to each other. Part of the reasons we like to call ourselves ”procrastinators” is because there is just so much to do around us. Whether it is our phone and its constant notifications from social media or e-mails. The noise of our running computer and the whole library of games, TV shows, movies and videos, beckoning our brain with the much-needed dopamine we get when we play games or watch media.
Yes, we can’t. And how can we, when there are so many more interesting things around us than studying.
What can we do about it?
Firstly, you MUST get rid of the phone. Put it on silent mode or at best – turn it off. I couldn’t count the numerous times I study 2-3 pages and then decide to reward myself with checking my Facebook. And I usually get carried away and 15-20 minutes are wasted forever. My advice here is for you to make social media less accessible.
Like, for example, put long, complicated access passwords on your social media apps and put them away from the home screen. This way you will be less tempted to use them, even when you have to keep your phone on. Try to think of anything that could distract you and, if possible, neutralize it! It’s usually better said than done, but once it becomes a habit of not using your phone or PC during studying, it’s easy.
Secondly, consider the benefits of studying during the night. This is something I liked to do when I was a student and didn’t have a job. Now before I continue, I just want to point out, that this wouldn’t work for everyone and is strictly my own preference. I found the dead of night to be ideal for studying and productive work. Because they are quiet, peaceful and you are less likely to be disturbed by a friend or relative calling or visiting. However, you shouldn’t necessarily do this on the night before the exam.
Tip #4 – Write That Down!
One of the most important how-to-study tip. Even if you are not among the ”Read & Write Learners” we talked earlier, it is something you should take into consideration. After all, it is scientifically proven that by reading and writing down highlights, your brain retains information much better. And for much longer. Because during that process, you are activating more regions of the brain, like motor skills.
It’s easy. Appoint different notebooks to every subject. They don’t have to be large, 80 sheeters, just an ordinary notebook you like, where you can write. With a highlighter marker of your choice, highlight what you consider vital, important or supplementary in your textbook and write it on the notebook. If your exam will encompass a couple of lessons from a textbook, make sure you make detailed resumes of each lesson.
But don’t just copy the text as it is. Try to write it down, using your own words and ways. This will be much more efficient for retainment than no-brain copying!
Tip #5 – Screen vs Paper, pros & cons
A big chunk of people (nearly 80%) prefers to study from a physical sheet of paper to that from a phone or computer screen. Myself included. I can focus more easily and retain information better this way. Not to mention how much my PC or phone distracts me while I read something. It is also scientifically proven, that we comprehend better from paper. As bad as this is for the environment, it’s true.
But can our devices still help us in our studying?
Yes, they can, big time. We own little, powerful computers in our very pockets. Capable of carrying gigabytes of information or thousands of textbooks. And they are far easier to carry than books. So you can utilize your gadgets when you are on the bus, train or metro to quickly go through your notes or simply study. There are plenty of apps out there to help you as well. My how to study recommendation is Anki Cards, which I’ve used many times before. They are perfect for fast remembering of short, difficult terminology, math formulas or even for studying a foreign language.
You can also use time organizing apps to manage your studying sessions. You can also use your phone or laptop to listen to lecture recording or other lessons. With the right usage, tech can be your friend, not your enemy. But if you study at home or in a library, the paper is your best friend!
Tip #6 – Find Your Sweet Spot
By sweet spot, I mean a specific location, where you should designate as a studying location. Don’t do it on your bed or the computer desk (unless you use your PC for study purposes). Because the brain associates these spots with different activities. And it won’t be as efficient in retaining important information. So go ahead and explore your home for new comfy places, where you can just relax and concentrate. Or perhaps go outdoors if it suits you!
Tip #7 – Your Three Powerful Friends – Food, Sleep and Reward
Food is more than just that thing we consume to stop the uneasy feeling we feel in our stomachs. It’s also more than pleasing your taste buds with sweets and delicacies. Most importantly – it’s your main brain fuel. You need to eat right and sufficiently during your exam preparations. Carbs are a very popular choice during studying. A professor of mine once even recommended drinking Coke and eating chocolate during sessions. I haven’t tried that though, because it’s too extreme even for me. But protein is a necessity as well. Especially in the morning before the exam. Don’t go for sweets then, but rather eat a couple of eggs!
Sleep goes hand in hand with proper nutrients intake. If you want to be at least slightly productive, you need a good 8 hours of sleep each night. Or day, whatever your choice of sleep time is. I used to go to bed around 6 A.M and wake up at 2 or 3 P.M. No matter at what time you choose to sleep, just try to get a shut-eye, because your brain literary eats itself if you accumulate a lot of sleep depravity.
Reward is the final of the three powerful friends. By reward I mean for you to give yourself a so-called ”pat on the shoulder” every time you complete your daily study objective. This can mean relaxing after your studying with friends, go jogging or hit the gym, play that new episode of your favourite TV show or ditch the textbooks and grab that good book you’ve been postponing. Whatever it may be, just do it, because it stimulates your brain and gives it a reward for its effort. And not to mention the precious feeling after hours of studying, when you dive into something you enjoy and not feel guilty about it.
But remember to use Reward wisely. If you distract yourself too much during your studying, it will have an opposite, devastating effect. Not only to your concentration but to the information retention ability as well. So don’t deprive yourself of fun things to do. But do them only after you’ve earned them!
I hope you’ve enjoyed, but most importantly found our how to study guide useful! Go check Marc Dussault’s guide as well, you won’t be disappointed!
Until next time, Owknow wishes you pleasant and fruitful studying!