The A-Z of Unique and Effective Study Techniques: Part 2

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I Thought I Knew It All…

This is the second part of this series. It goes from ‘J’ to ‘P’.

Jokes

You could try to make jokes out of your material to make them sink in, like a mnemonic. To go even further, you can send them as chain e-mails to your study group and get them to come up with their own. On forums, you could have topics that have these listed, and the ability to add more.

Karaoke

You can try and make music out of your own study notes. It can be any style, but rap would work well. You can even put them on the internet for others as mp3s.

Listen

I once heard the saying from my one teacher at school that if you listen during class, then you’ve done half the work. It’s not enough to just listen though as you also have to do the other half, which is the rest of the list of tips and resources right here.

Location

You need to have a quiet place, away from people and noise for a few hours at a time, preferably with a desk, some light, and your books. Studying on the floor is uncomfortable and on your bed will be too comfortable.

Look up words

The one thing about studying is that you need to understand. I’ve heard over and over again that it’s impossible to learn what you don’t understand. It can be as simple as a single word that you need to look up.

Make notes

This is one way to stay actively involved in your studies. It’s not good enough to just read and hope it stays put in your brain, unless you have a photographic memory. Even if you just write down keywords and whenever you see those keywords, you just remember the whole part of what you learnt.

Memory

Your memory is no doubt the most important thing here, as you can use all of these tips and yet if you don’t remember anything, it’s all useless. You need to reinforce your memory by revising your work constantly.

Mind mapping

We were taught how to draw mindmaps in school, and at first I didn’t like them all that much. The thing is that it’s like an addition to your notes, except it’s in pictures or photos. Pictures are worth a thousand words. I still don’t really use them though.

Mnemonics

These serve as ways to remember words or lists. Look at some of the other examples like Abbreviations and Acronyms from part 1, or Jokes from this article.

Not that type of music...
Not that type of music... | Source

Music

There’s the belief that some people have that listening to calm, relaxing music or sounds will help you focus. I have found that I like to listen to music when I write

No distractions

You need to make sure that wherever you study, it’s quiet. You can’t concentrate with loud, intrusive noises going on, just like you can’t sleep with loud, intrusive noises going on.

Old exam papers

These are becoming less relevant in my country what with the changing syllabus into OBE standards. Nevertheless, the way that questions are phrased and how the exams are set out are worth looking at. Trying to do these exams in the required amount of time is also a challenge, and it pays off in the end.

Open book tests

In school, several times we were allowed to write open book tests. This way, you learn the correct answers and don’t try to suck it out of your thumb.

Organized

Have all your stuff like stationery and whatever else you need right where you need it; right in front of you.

"I took a microphone and recorded myself speaking, reading my notes that I’d made. I listened to it over and over again on my earphones for days. I aced the exam that I wrote based on that material."

Podcasts

Plenty of people make podcasts nowadays, and I’m not saying that you need to make one and broadcast it to the whole world, although that might be another idea that you could add to your blog or site. You can make one for yourself and listen to it on your PC, Laptop or iPod. It can be a lecture that you need to revise or even these study tips.

I’ve done this before when I was in high school. I took a microphone and recorded myself speaking, reading my notes that I’d made. I listened to it over and over again on my earphones for days.

I aced the exam that I wrote based on that material.

Posters

I heard someone say that when she went off to university, she would make posters filled with lists and mind maps, and she would only leave the room after she had looked at all of them at least briefly.

Prepare what you need for tomorrow

Save time by having all you need before you rush off to school or anywhere else, like clothes and your stationery and text books.

Pretend you are the teacher

You can use all the other tips and make as though you’re teaching yourself, and not just sitting bored stiff. Teachers should use emphasis and try and stir something within a student (they don’t always). You obviously need to do the same.

Proper food

There are some vitamins and supplements that are purported to help you with concentration and to get the best out of your study time. You need your daily intake of vitamins to give your body fuel. Pantothenic acid is apparently good for you in the studying stakes. Vitamin B also helps with stress, which you might have too much of, especially around exam time. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and maintain a balanced diet. Eating junk food that is nothing but sugar won’t do much good for concentration.

“Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading man, and studying all the various editions of them.”

— Lord Chesterfield

Do you use any of these techniques for studying?

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© 2009 Anti-Valentine

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