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Updated on September 28, 2010


Studying for most of us is either difficult or outright boring, which is not surprising when we look at the kind of effort that is needed to learn something new. But that need not be case if we are ALERT. Yes being ALERT means you have to first of all---

A-TTEND and be ATTENTIVE. In fact the reason why we attach so much importance to attendance is due to the fact that only this gives us an opportunity to interact both with the faculty and peers. College learning emphasizes attendance and even if we happen to learn through distance education, modern technology helps you to interact using video conferencing or instant messaging.  Of course attendance would be futile if we are not attentive. The mind being fickle and prone to wander, we must develop this capacity to focus on issues being taught or discussed lest it strays from the topic on hand.

L-ISTENING without this we would not only lose track of the facts and arguments put forward but may also distort the information due to selective understanding of issues or ideas.  In fact there are two kinds of listening, namely passive listening and active listening. Most of us are passive listeners and do not take the effort to analyze and relate the information being provided. Study presupposes that we apply our mind which calls for active listening.

E-XAMINE AND EVALUATE:  Critical thinking can be developed only if we take the effort to examine and evaluate facts. Clusters of Isolated information do not comprise knowledge. Only when we examine the linkages form a paradigm and compare, we get closer to the picture.  Insight and new knowledge is the result of examining things form a different perspective. Basically what the mind would be doing here is to juxtapose, analyze, re-align and synthesize the apparently disjointed facts.

R-EVISE:  Nothing registers in our mind without revising. Periodic revision is necessary to facilitate easy recall. But the question that always lurks in our mind is when do we have to revise? Most of us take the easy route; we revise just before a test or examination.  Last minute swotting we feel would help us to score more marks, as we would have no difficulty in remembering. But the reality is that this not only confuses us but the facts evaporate soon after the test or examination is over. Ideally we should revise immediately after a class was taken, with follow up revision either before the next lesson or once in two months.  

T-EST YOURSELF: Usually we learn only 25% after a lecture or class. But when we try to put these facts or ideas into words we learn nearly 50% of topic. Testing yourself is a sure way of improving your academic performance.  But then how do we learn up to 75%, the best way to achieve that is to teach what you have learnt to another person. OK so how to achieve 100% knowledge of something. The answer is --- we cannot possibly achieve that, but rest assured that if you do research on the topic you may come close to 85%.


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