Studying can be fun: 7 tips to aid Effective Studying

Studying Effectively

In the last post, I promised to discuss ways to maximize your university experience. This is it!!!!!

People study for different reasons. It could be for exams, to gain an in-depth knowledge of a topic, to be able to teach that topic, etc. For the purpose of this article, the emphasis will be on studying for a test/exam.

Studying for an exam requires a thorough understanding of different topics in a course as the exam questions will be based on topics randomly chosen from the entire course. These questions can be presented from different perspectives. With a proper understanding of the course, students will be able to answer the questions regardless of the perspective from which it was asked.

As important as studying is, it can also be strenuous. Possible reasons for this are numerous. One major cause could be waiting till exams are near before reading. Most courses have bulky materials and this approach can be very frustrating. The bulk of the topics to be covered, the pressure, and the inability to make sense of what is being read. This article provides 7 tips + 1 bonus tip for studying effectively.

7 Tips to studying effectively

1. Pay attention in class:

Ideally, this is the first stage of the studying process. It facilitates understanding. Understanding the topic is easier if you pay attention as it is being taught. Paying attention helps you process the information and point out areas you do not understand. During lectures, there is usually room to ask questions. So, asking these questions could create a conversation/ discussion from a different angle which provides in-depth knowledge of the topic. Paying proper attention in class can ease the burden of studying by 50%.

2. Review study materials:

So you listened in class. Great!!! You have done 50% of your studying. That seemed pretty easy. Now, the remaining 50%. After the class, while the conversations/discussions of the day are still fresh, while the images are still fresh, pick up that study material and review it. In whatever format it comes: video, audio, note, charts, etc. Studying it, helps it stick more in your memory. You can do more research on the topic to understand it from different perspectives. Researching can also create more questions in the mind. Finding the answer to these questions is also part of the studying process.

You were not in class? Or there was no opportunity to receive a lecture on what you’re studying? No problem. Reviewing study materials can be your first step. Carefully study the materials and take notes.

3. Take Notes while studying:

Yes!!! Take notes. Handwritten notes to be precise. Writing things out helps it stick to your memory and facilitates the understanding process. Summarize and write out the content of the study material in your words. Now, facilitating understanding is not the only advantage of taking notes while studying.

Taking notes also reduces the time required to study in the long run. A good note contains details from the study material in summarized forms. What this means is that the quantity of the study material has been reduced without losing its quality. The notes do not have to be a replica of the study material. It can serve as a mini version of the study material. A concise and well-summarized note should contain most of the information contained in the study material.

4. Use Acronyms and Mnemonics:

One thing that can help reduce the number of your notes while retaining their quality is the use of Acronyms and mnemonics. Mnemonic is a learning technique; it is an exercise intended to help memory. It aids the studying process by simplifying large data/information. Usually, mnemonics are combinations of letters that can be pronounced as a single word, with all its syllables. For example: “MR NIGER D” is a popular mnemonic used to easily remember the characteristics of living things. It is short for Movement, Respiration, Nutrition, Irritability, Growth, Excretion, Reproduction, and Death.

Do you see how helpful that was? Creating mnemonics requires that you properly understand the topic and coin out short phrases or words to summarize it. Words like SMILE, LOGIC, STOP, PRAY, etc. could mean more if you intend to use them as mnemonics. PLAY could be: People Laid  Awake Yesterday.

On the other hand, acronyms do not necessarily have to be pronounced as a single word. The letters can be pronounced individually. E.g. UV, TK, e.t.c.

To other people, the mnemonics or acronyms might not make sense as they do not understand their connection. This is why the next tip is very important.

5. Connect the knowledge to real life:

We live in the real world, it is easier to assimilate and retain knowledge if there is a connection to real life. “2 candies + 2 candies”, will be easier for a candy lover to process than just “2+2”. This also applies to other things.

Learning about “accidents” as a child was easy for me because I got real-life examples. With real-life examples, the teacher was able to differentiate between an accident and arson. It was a mind-blowing discovery for me then. Creating a connection with real life is just like backing up data on the cloud. If you forget the new thing you have learned, the real-life event can serve as a good prompt.

So yea, not only does connect new knowledge to real-life aid understanding, but it also serves as a backup.

6. Draw up a studying schedule:

Draw up a plan and allots time to different courses. This is to ensure that no course is left out. When drafting the study schedule, it is best to allot more time to difficult and bulky courses. This provides a balanced plan. More reading facilitates more understanding. It also ensures that studying is done without pressure.

7. Take practice test:

As you study, test your ability by attempting practice questions. These practice questions should cover the key section of each topic. Doing this helps a proper understanding of the course. It also increases the possibility of solving similar questions before the exam, so no question can take you by surprise.

Bonus Tip: Avoid Distraction:

Study time can be maximized if it is done in a conducive environment devoid of noise, televisions, movies, and too many human activities.

So, as you study, remember that trying to assimilate a large volume of information a day to the test/exam, does not count as studying.

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