When you study, you devote your time and attention to gaining knowledge and skills in a subject area. This often requires discipline where you need to do research, reading, identification of important information and note taking for the purpose of increasing your knowledge and skills in the topic.
By carefully examining a subject matter of a published report, online article, book, or journal, you are able to practically apply what you have understood during assessment effectively and perform certain tasks you have learnt.
Committing to study often occurs before employment or during a break from a person’s usual work. With the right study tips and process however, you can juggle study loads and normal work and family routine.
Learning how to study effectively is an important skill. When it is difficult to balance commitments, students can feel stressed and worn out from their life, work and course requirements and often ends up struggling with learning, begrudging assessments or ultimately dropping out of a course.
The purpose of this guide is to help you organize how you study best and study tips that you can use to be successful in the course you are undertaking. The following sections provide a general understanding on the processes involved in effective studying that you can apply, particularly in a vocational education environment where apply skills and performing tasks is as critical as knowledge of a subject area.
Studying is a skill that you can acquire through proper discipline. Here are some practical study skills for success.
Schedule a certain time of the week devoted mainly for studying. Make sure that your space for studying is uncluttered and free from any distractions. You may choose a corner of your house or room mainly for this purpose. Make a weekly list over the subject areas that you need to study. A planner or a calendar is helpful.
Prioritize subjects that are challenging for you and allocate more time on these. Participate in a study group if this is available other’s viewpoints will give you a fresh perspective when studying. Plus studying with others can be motivating!
PLAN AHEAD OF TIME
Make a list of your priorities and when you draft your schedule, make sure not to draft it too tight! Make room for emergencies because you will never know when it might happen. At least you are prepared in case something happens.
Socializing is important but make sure to keep it minimal, especially if you have a tight schedule. You can meet your friends or do your not-so-important activities after you have done your important tasks.
FIND YOUR RHYTHM
It is important to find your rhythm when you study. You will also gain better focus if your body and mind are in unison. It would be hard to concentrate if your body keeps doing other activities (such as checking your mobile phone) as your mind tries to focus on studying. Your body and mind should be doing things that can help you study better.
PRACTICE HEALTHY HABITS AND LIFESTYLE
You need to give your body the right sustenance it needs to stay fit and healthy. You need to rest when it is time. Don’t stay up late! You need to be asleep at a reasonable time such as 10.30pm. As you sleep, your brain is busy converting all the information you gathered for the day into long term memory.
READING AND COMPREHENSION
Skim: Start by clarifying your purpose when reading a material. This will ‘set the tone’ for your reading and comprehension. Skim the title, summary, and main points of the chapter. The headings and subheadings will high-light the key ideas in the text.
Question: You might devise questions as you progress through your reading based from the headings and sub-headings. This will help you concentrate and test assumptions you might have of the topic.
Read: Budget your time over how many minutes you will devote for each chapter or section. Recite or visualize. For some topics, these approaches are helpful for retention and memorization. Take time off from reading and recite key points or ideas that you remember. For practical skills, visualize a person performing the task or job correctly – what is the person doing at each point to make sure the task is successfully completed.
Review : Read summary sections of the material where available or note your own summaries. These will be useful when reviewing the section in future for assessment.
Remember that reading and comprehension are two and different things. So is understanding and memorizing. It is important that you comprehend what you have read and what you take as notes as this will be retained in the long run.
When note taking, write down only the most important points or key words, and elaborate them in your own words. This aids in developing your understanding of the topic. However, be careful to retain technical words, jargon or acronyms as they are given.
Date all notes and use proper headings to assist in your review of the notes at a later date.
Never crowd your notes. Focus on keywords that are important. Unnecessary information will just confuse you. Using different colours for note taking can help to retain the most important aspects of your notes.
Review notes within 24 hours of taking them. This will assist in your recall of the information in future.
ASK FOR HELP
If there is something that’s bothering you or something is not clear to you, then it is fine to ask for help. You can ask your facilitator, friend, classmate, or family to help you out, especially if you can’t find a clear answer from your book or the net.
Instead of wasting too much time trying to find the elusive answer to your questions; it is best to ask!
PREPARATION FOR ASSESSMENTS
Make sure you know what the requirements of the assessment are in advance, and also any options that might be available to you. Identify areas of weakness in your skills or understanding so that you can devote your time more on subjects you are not familiar with.
Make flashcards of key information for every subject area of your notes.
It is not ideal to ‘cram’ before an assessment. The most effective approach is to review topics progressively until you have comprehended or memorized all key information.
MOTIVATING YOURSELF TO STUDY
Motivation is helpful for our daily lives to achieve positive results in any activity. This includes with studying. A motivated student finds it easier to reach the extra mile and all the necessary steps that are needed to be successful. Greater motivation will assist you to learn and study more with focus and concentration.
Procrastination is a number one enemy!
Create a goal: Goals and objectives are very powerful motivation setters. These can either be short-term goals or long-term goals. They will keep you on track and stay positive to reach your goals.
Start studying now: This may sound cliché, but difficulty in studying has a lot of causes. These includes watching TV, social networking, being distracted by friends, and more. Stop wasting time!
Therefore, to start studying, is just to start studying itself. Boost yourself to get started, or you might force yourself to study for now and eventually learn the basics. It is all worth it!
A comfortable environment: This is vital. Even if you are well motivated, if you are in a crowded and noisy place, your concentration level will drop. It adds to your motivation when your environment is relaxed, quiet and conducive to study.
Reward yourself: Celebrate when you achieve a goal or finish a difficult topic. Rewarding yourself for small achievements on an ongoing basis will assist with motivation and support your hard work. Your enthusiasm will overcome the initial hindrance and obstacles to motivate yourself.
DO THE MOST DIFFICULT TASK FIRST
When studying, your mind works at its best if you are full of energy. Make it a point to do the most difficult task first when you still have ample amount of energy. You need to determine which subject or task is most difficult for you and start with that subject first.
USE YOUR FREE TIME WISELY
You might need to devote your free time searching for other resources that can help you with your study. Don’t make room for other activities, which are not important, until your work is done. Keep in mind that it is easier to enjoy fun moments if you don’t need to worry about overdue course or study matters.
Brainstorming is a technique to boost your mind’s creativity. If you are using this for problem solving or for group work, all you have to do is to list down as many ideas as possible. There is no such thing as a right or wrong idea so go ahead and list everything.
Once all ideas have been noted, look for the most appropriate idea or common threads. This will assist to achieve the task or solve the problem.
Remember if you aren’t ready to learn this tips will just look uneasy to follow. A good motivation to start can lead you to the end.
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY READ, WRITE AND PASS AN EXAM
The only difference between you and a guru is determination. The people you call scholar or you’re looking up to are human, they aren’t born with that brain but work towards it. Many people have failed lot of examinations because they were not prepared. To achieve something, you have to start from somewhere as a baby does not grow a day. Here are some tips that might help you to secure a better score than you do.
Set a Goal
Achieving a goal starts with setting the goal, making good plans on how to achieve the goal and carry it out. For you to pass your exam, you will have to put all of you into the exam, let the exam be what you think of and you develop the strategies you need to read and assimilate. Thousands of students read and don’t assimilate because they didn’t make their plans well for the exam and they don’t focus on achieving the goal they’ve set. Be very specific about what you want to read and when, setting deadlines for finishing each topic in a book keeps you on track of what you are reading. Do not set goals that are too ambitious, it leads to failure and discouragement, choose a deadline and work towards it.
Don’t Despise your lecturer:
Yes I mean what I said, don’t cultivate the habit of hating your lecturer or his course. If you do this, you’re one step closer to failing the course. It is said that when you hate a lecturer automatically, you hate the course which may results to failure in such cause. To pass an examination well, you have to make your lecturer your friend irrespective of the behavior of him/her. Not just affecting the probability of you passing the lecturer’s course, it affects your grades as a whole. Because it serve as a form of distraction to your studies and hatred from other lecturers. You wouldn’t want to be the focus of all negative talks coming from a particular lecturer if not all of them. So my dear to avoid poor grades and scary school life, try to tolerate the attitudes of your lecturers to gain the knowledge you tend to have.
Get Yourself required textbooks:
If you don’t have materials, you can’t proceed to do anything. Preparing for an examination without textbooks is like a farmer going to the farm without his farm tools. Before you can proceed to reading, you must get all the required texts for the exam you want to write and start reading them day and night. Having textbooks is also one way of passing because it will guide you in your learning.
Know The Best Time To Read:
Look within yourself and ask yourself when is the best time for me to read. Find when you can read and assimilate. Someone like me read anytime I want and assimilate everything have read, but I make sure I read in an environment that’s silent. Knowing the time you read, learn and assimilate fast is one thing that you need to understand. Look within you and you will get it. It can be early in the morning, late at night, in the midnight or during the day. Some people can read in the market and assimilate, some can read while listening to music, etc. Just find the perfect time you can assimilate and read because reading without understanding and assimilating is just like wasting of your precious time that you could have use to hang out with your friends.
Know Yourself before you dive in the pool of reading:
Before engaging into hard time reading to pass exams, know the type of a reader you are. Ask yourself these questions.
- How fast did I grasp what I read?
- How many hours can I spend to read?
- What am I reading for?
• How fast did I grasp what I read?
There are certain students that grasp what they read within the blink of an eye likewise there are some that may took them a while to understand what they read. Ask yourself what category did I fall on? Knowing your category will help you lots on planning what to read, when to read, how to read and where to read.
I have a friend that we almost always read together but whenever we had a plan that we are to read at a certain time I used to be one hour late. I used to give him the gap to read ahead of me because when I arrive I’ll not spend as much time as he do to understand what I read. He’s a slow learner but he catch up easily because we both knew what we are capable of and we work towards it.
• How many hours can I spend to read?
On average, it is advisable for a student to read at least two hours a day. Make a plan on the duration you are to spend on your book. You have 24hours in a day and it is recommended of you to at least read two hours a day. Take it to your advantage, draft a plan and a timetable for your activities don’t just follow the crowd and carry books wherever your mates are hanging around.
Schedule your own time for personal reading, research and practice. Read for at least 30-40 minutes and take a break, then continue at your convenience when you believe you had some rest. If you can do overnight reading, you can embark on it, just know how long you can read and learn. Don’t just read, understand what you’re reading very well.
• What am I reading for?
Have you ever asked yourself before you read this question, what I’m I reading for? Yes knowing the purpose of your reading solves almost half of your problem. When you carry a book or handout know what you’re carrying it for. Are you reading for test, exams, assignment or leisure or are you reading for fact checking?
If you can answer these questions in your mind then you’re good to go. My reading habits depends upon what I’m I reading for. The kind of dedication I give for test reading is different from that of exams likewise when I am conducting a research. But also, when I read at my leisure, I make perfect use of the time so that I won’t loose two things at a time.
Brainstorm with Friends:
Whenever you read don’t just hang around your mates and do unnecessary talks. Make sure you bring a topic on what you read along your conversations. The idea behind this is to generate more ideas and views on the perception of different people. But I will advice you not to bring a topic just to throw challenge or test how far you read ahead of them, that will sabotage your relationship, ask in a polite way. Also, don’t bring in a topic that you understand very well, bring topics that you’re finding it difficult to understand so that you can learn from them. The interesting part of brainstorming is that you’ll never forget what you’ve discussed with your mates.
Get Past Questions:
Their is no exam in existence presently that hasn’t been done before. Try getting the past questions that was used by the old sets, revise them so that you can be familiar with the way the questions are been set and the way you answer your questions.
Have Reading Partners:
Reading alone sometimes can be boring, look for friends who want to achieve same goal as yours, friends who would risk their nights to read than going to the club or playing video games. Learn from them as no one knows all, meet them for unclear topics so that they can explain it to you.
Summarize What You’ve Learn:
Making notes is an important foundation for reflecting and integrating what you read into your mind. Summarizing what you’ve learn from the long hours reading is another way to assimilate and know if you’re good to go with what you presently know or you still need more help. When you summarize what you’ve read, it is believe that you already know what you summarize and it’s already stick to your brain. To summarize what you’ve read so far, start by writing a short summary of each chapter and transcribing any meaningful passages or phrases. If you are unsure how to simplify your thoughts, imagine that someone has just tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to explain the chapter you just finished reading. They have never read this book and lack any idea of the subject matter. How would you explain it to them?
When you want to read and understand, you will focus on the book and nothing else. No quick Twitter checks, no quick WhatsApp check, no emails, no cell phone, no TV, no staring into midair and no internet. Understanding and absorbing a book requires deep focus, especially if the subject matter is dense or complex.
If you can. Make best use of the above points, their is no exam you won’t write perfectly and have an A.