I need some study tips

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by lamina, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. lamina macrumors 68000

    lamina

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    From Canada, living in Seoul
    #1
    I am pretty close to graduating, and I have to bring my average up in order to do so.

    What tips can yall give me for studying? I have a really hard time focusing. I have a lot of free time during the week, as I only have 3 courses.
     
  2. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #3
    Well, first of all- stop browsing the MR forums. ;)

    Seriously- I would stay shut down the computer and hit the books. The internet can be a huge distraction.
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    Here are some basic ideas ... I don't know what you're studying, so I can't be more specific....

    - If you get easily distracted, create or identify a low-stimulation, quiet place to study. A lot of universities have private study carrels in their libraries for this purpose. When you isolate, also isolate yourself from distractions such as your cell phone and the internet. Also get foam earplugs (~$2 from Walmart or any hardware store). Some people study better with a certain amount of environmental stimulation, though, so if you know that certain music helps you rather than hindering you, that's okay too. If you find yourself singing along in the middle of reading a passage, though, the music has to go.

    - Set reasonable goals and plan in breaks where you can do something stimulating. Do not challenge yourself to study for six hours at once. Instead, study for 60 minutes six times, or better yet, 30 minutes twelve times. Once you know what you can accomplish, you can also try defining your study periods by what you want to achieve, but still targeting goals you can get done in that kind of short time. During your breaks, do things that get either your cognitive or physical energy out -- active things, watching fun, low-demand TV, playing games, etc. Also ideally things that you *like* doing -- they should be inter-studying rewards. Schedule and define the time for your breaks also.

    - Chart out an overall course starting at the end-point, i.e. when you take your exam, and working backwards to today, defining what you want to learn and when, so you have a plan that lets you sustain studying effort over several weeks.

    - Use multiple modes of learning. If you know your strengths, cater to them. But you will learn more efficiently if you use multiple sensory modalities and different techniques together. That is, alternate reading with writing tasks such as creating of visual or textual outlines, flashcards, models, etc, and also using those aids. If you consider yourself fairly intelligent, challenge yourself to transition from studying books (which throw a lot of information and a lot of noise at you) to studying your own notes (which are boiled down) as you near an exam. As above, set reasonable goals. You can memorize a few hundred flashcards or a few pages of outline. You probably cannot memorize several chapters of a book word for word.

    - If study groups work for you, fine, although I personally find them usually pretty useless. But if you go to them, go prepared and ready to review. Don't plan on learning anything (although you might) at the group. Instead, you can use the group as a chance to solidify your knowledge by "teaching" it to peers (and they can do the same on you). That teaching exercise will really help you be able to bring back that knowledge on command in a test.

    - If you're doing the kind of work that has problem sets or something else you can practice, find samples that you can do in addition to your assignments and spend lots of time solving problems. In most of those classes, you learn more by solving problems than you do by reading the textbook.
     
  5. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
  6. jng macrumors 65816

    jng

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    #7
    Everyone has different study habits. You have to find what best works for you. Some people can study on trains, others not. In parks, in libraries, etc.

    But don't just explore where you study, but also when - right after breakfast, before going to bed, after exercise, etc. Different minds focus better at different times.

    Re: techniques, explore flash cards, note taking, etc.
     
  7. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #9
    Overall, it's tough to beat repetition.

    If you have good notes, great foundation. If not, you know where to start. ;)

    A strong outline (especially if you handwrite it as that's one form of v effective repetition) can be v helpful. Have "titles" and "sub-titles" that form excellent quick summaries, and smaller sub-bullets w/ more detailed info.

    So create those awesome outlines, then review 'em.

    If you're lucky enough to have teachers/ TAs that construct study guides, by all means, use that as a foundation for outlines! You're super blessed in that case. You know what to study for. What will be covered on exams.

    Find others in your classes to meet with and discuss the tested material. Quiz each other. If you can explain it to someone else, you're well on your way to understanding and knowing by memory, the key concepts and details.



    You know you're headed in the right direction when the randomest thing triggers your mind and you find yourself thinking about class-related material. *blinks* Or you're just a big fat nerd. :( Same difference, right? :D
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #10
    It's real hard to bring your average up significantly at the end of your educational tenure. One quarter (or semester) of good grades hardly makes a dent in a 3+ year bad average.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    I took advantage of the opposite when I was at Michigan... great grades till almost the end, and then a lot of poorly calculated risks in my last two semesters, chipping me down to just north of a 3.9 after bitching about one class. :D
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #12
    Exactly. You're not going to walk into you last semester going "If I get a 4.0 this term, averaged with my 2.0 GPA, I'll end up with a 3.0". Not how weighted averages work.
     
  11. techlover828 macrumors 68020

    techlover828

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    #13
    this can't help
     
  12. iRachel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    The Soybean Captial of the World
    #14
    One thing that helped me immensely when I was in a similar situation was to make a schedule for the day. If you have lots of tempting free time, one thing you can do is organize your day. From noon-3, I'm going to study. From 3-4 I'll take a break and watch TV/play a game. From 4-5, I'll go to my class... something like that.

    The other thing, as many people have said, is to try and avoid distractions. You already know what's not working. For me, I liked to surf the net when I didn't feel like working, and I also didn't like the dead silence of my room. So now, I go to coffee shops (where there's some noise, but not distracting, and leave the laptop at home (unless I'm writing), so that I'm not tempted to stop reading and start surfing.
     
  13. hartwork macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #15
    So true. The internet is my biggest distraction. Different things work for different people but here are some things I find useful:
    • Break your study sessions up; sitting for hours at a time will do more harm than good physically and mentally
    • Set small achievable goals and reward yourself once you reach them
    • Throw out the distraction (boyfriend/girlfriend/dog)
    • Have a nice clean desk
    • Don't study in bed and try get into a routine of studying at around the same time each day
    • Don't study straight after a meal

    I'm completing my honours year in communications - I've mostly studied part time because of work commitments and I've deferred a couple of times too. Normally a four year degree, it's taken me SEVEN :eek:
    I've maintained a Distinction average throughout (84 WAM) thanks to the tips above.
     
  14. lamina thread starter macrumors 68000

    lamina

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    From Canada, living in Seoul
    #16
    Thanks a lot for all the tips everyone. I see a lot of familiar usernames here... thanks for the continued support... what a great community. :)

    The problem is that a lot of what I need to do is on my computer. I am just gonna have to learn some self-control and **** and do some work.

    I think I'll be ok. I had an interview with the student development center and they gave me some good tips on focus and study habits.

    All of your suggestions have been great too. Thanks so much everyone.
     
  15. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #17
    Why don't you post the tips so other reads can benefit.
     
  16. lamina thread starter macrumors 68000

    lamina

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    From Canada, living in Seoul
    #18
    Good call.

    1) Pick a place to study, and stick to that place. Also, if studying for an exam, study in the room where the exam will take place, if possible. This makes sense when one considers location-based recall (or something like that), which I've looked at in previous classes (I'm a psyc major)

    2) Re-formulate concepts. That is, read about a concept, and re-write it in a couple of different ways.

    3) Find someone who will listen to me talk about it. This kind of ties into the re-formulating thing.

    4) Go over my concepts before bed. Apparently studies have shown that if one studies before bed (but not in bed, nor directly before bed, but about an hour before), the concepts are more fully-absorbed. Kinda makes sense.

    They actually did some testing on me for ADHD as well. I will see the preliminary results on Thursday. Wouldn't surprise the crap out of me.

    I find myself sitting there trying to read something, and my leg is dancing like my mom on vacation. I also find myself just getting up and walking around. My mind wanders from one thing to another.

    My doctor has suggested I go on some pills. Not ritalin, but Strattera. The sexual side-effects are NOT worth it. I took one of those, and let me say... things were not good. I felt like utter crap, and well... highlight over the text below to read about the sexual side-effects...

    I could orgasm, but ejaculation was completely separate from orgasm! Also, after I orgasmed, the pain under my scrotum felt like lucifer himself was escaping through my urethra. Not cool.
     
  17. spoon man macrumors 6502a

    spoon man

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    #19
    the big distractions are Xbox 360 the ladies and booze don’t say I didn’t worn you:D
     
  18. Memeryle.12345 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    #20
    Just spare at least 2 - 3 hours of study everyday.
     

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