Friday, February 21, 2014

The Art of Stuyding

Learning to study isn't really an art; it's more like a science because you're not waiting for inspiration or trying to find your muse.  Studying is something you need to do to successfully get through college.  Remember, you don't just want to get by, you want to do as well as possible.  That is different for every person, but regardless of who you are, it will require some amount of work.

So, back to studying.  Before I get into the other parts, I want to talk about where to study.  Definitely not in your room and preferably not in the residence hall.  If you live a home, either try to find a quiet place at home or head out to campus (or the public library). Find a place that is conducive to studying.  For some people it's in the library -- but not where people hang out.  Others may find success in an academic building on campus.  There are those select few who can work in a coffee shop or something like that.  I must say, personally, that turns into a session of people watching for me and is very counterproductive.  So find that space and use it as much as possible to help condition your brain to go into study mode when you arrive.

Different courses require different techniques for studying, as do different people.  You may want to do an assessment to determine your learning style.  That will help pinpoint the types of learning aids you need or the best way to take notes.  When reading is involved, strategies like SQ4R can be very effective.  If you are solving quantitative problems (mathematics, chemistry, physics, etc.) try to complete assignments without checking the solutions until you are completely finished.  And try some extra problems that aren't part of the assignment to stretch your brain a little, see what you know, and perhaps get some material for asking questions during office hours.  It may take a little while to figure out what works for you.  If you have no idea how to study for a particular subject, don't be afraid to ask your advisor, prof, or TA for suggestions.  Tell them what you are doing and the type of results you are getting.

Getting better takes time.  Overnight sensations really aren't -- that goes for celebrities and successful people.

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