What are some techniques to become a better studier?
I recently finished my first semester at Cal State Fullerton and I strive to do better this upcoming spring semester, but I need new ways to study. My old ways didn't get me as far as they did in high school. I am open to about anything. Thanks!
Congrats on finishing your first semester! College can certainly be an adjustment in terms of the amount of studying that you are expected to do. The first thing I would recommend is to stay on top of your daily readings. If you actually read the chapters before class, you will get the most out of the lecture. That way, you don't have to cram to study 10+ chapters at once. The next advice I would give is to find a place to study that is comfortable for you. A lot of what you take in and remember has to do with your environment. If studying in your dorm room has too many distractions, or the library is stressful, I suggest going to a coffee shop or a different quiet area of your school! Lastly, It's important to find the right time of the day to study. Some people work better in the morning than at night, so you can build your class schedule around that. Some things that work best for me are physically writing my notes down instead of typing- I find typing to be too mindless and I would have study guides over 50 pages long with unimportant information! When I would hand write my notes to study, it was more deliberate and I would know whether or not I understood something.
Hope this helps!
I would add four things :
1. I agree with Jodi about the importance of reading a chapter before class. As you read, always pay attention to headings and sub-headings. Make sure you are not skipping these and speed reading through. As you begin reading, first create a structure in your notebook, noting the headings and sub-headings. Then start reading and as you read each section, summarize the information in bullet points under the corresponding headings / sub-headings. This will help you keep track of the overall objective of the chapter. You can also use the Cornell notes method to write notes from lectures as well as summarize chapters - https://pin.it/4IGk2To .
2. This might sound odd, but start by looking at the chapter summary (often at the end of a chapter) and the practice questions (of course you will not be able to answer the questions). I have found that students often dive straight into the information before forming any expectations about the chapter.T This makes reading seem boring and the information hard. On the other hand, getting an overall idea of the chapter, even if vague will prepare you better to take in the information.
3. Sit with a dictionary and a grammar book. If you don't understand a sentence, check the meanings of the words and the sentence construction. Sometimes familiar words are used in different senses in textbooks. A dictionary will lay out all possible meanings.
4. Always ask yourself, while reading , "How is this similar to or different from what I know?" Reflecting on what you read will help you remember the information far better.
All of the above might seem like a lot of work. But this will save you time and stress before an exam. You will remember more easily.
Study time and techniques are generalized. You have to test and find out what will work for you. You can always tweak things until they align with your needs. Much success to you!
What does work for you?
Everyone has different ways that helps them learn best. Try to avoid bad habits and work on building good ones. Personally, I know I am a visual learner. Therefore, when I learn I gravitate more toward images/videos that explain the topic. Try to find a a routine that motivates you. Change your study environment - go to the library, cafe, solo/with friends. Read the text book, look over powerpoint lectures, study the vocabulary, do extra research aside from what is taught in class etc. Find what works and motivates you while maintaining a healthy balance within other aspects of your life.
When you're in college, it is completely normal to engage in what some people may perceive to appear odd including posting up by the local lake with a textbook/laptop, or generating a 20 page masterpiece on Monday at 3 a.m. with 1 to 0 grammatical errors that's due ln Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Have confidence in yourself. Ask for guidance when in doubt, and master the art of email etiquette. It might possibly be the foundation of your entire existence as a scholar.
P.S. my personal favorite source/study buddy hands down is the interlibrary loan. Literally, every type and/or form of what is considered resourceful, creditable, and valid derived from every possible database of research on the globe. I coasted through Graduate school once I discovered the power of the ILL system.
SELF-DISCIPLINE, prioritize, organize, and multitask= degrees. Analyzing techniques of your roommate, sister, dragon etc. will only lead you to learning about how you learn. Maybe you are tactile kinesthetic learner. Figure it out, and emerse yourself in knowledge.
Kelly recommends the following next steps:
Jodi has given you some good advice. I would add to it a recommendation to do the Learning How to Learn online course offered through Coursera.org. https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn It will take you about 9 hours to complete, and you can do it for free, i.e. as an auditing student not seeking a certificate. If you are curious to learn how this course came to be and who is behind it, check out https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/education/edlife/learning-how-to-learn-barbara-oakley.html
Anna recommends the following next steps: