Watching Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk about how school kills creativity, I came to know that the well-developed schooling system of the USA that we admire so much, also has room to be criticized and improved. So for sure, there is a need for some pro study guides for college students. Then, where does that criticism leave our system of education which is struggling at the very basics?
Well, I don’t even want to talk about it. But I will say this that a passionate, honest student can find his/her way out of every situation independent of the resources or environment, and be the next scientist, writer, engineer, doctor, artist, or whoever they want to be. But to be there, you will have to do a lot yourself because let’s be honest, the schools aren’t going to be the biggest help.
Although good teachers and a learning-friendly environment help a lot, a student can grow and learn on their own as well once they know the right skills and tips such as Feynman’s Learning Technique. Good grades are always important for students to continue their education in the best of institutes further on, so therefore studying is vital for all students. But we may have been studying in the wrong fashion all this time, where we study long and hard and learn less and shallow. So here are some tips and tricks to help the students in building a conceptual way of learning where studying is actually fun and productive.
Study Guides 1: Break down your study sessions
It aches me to see my friends stress out a week before exams as they start memorizing all the content that they studied in the past 4 months; it is torture. And this is at our university level, in schools and high schools it is even worse where they have to rewind the whole year’s content of all the subject as the exams near. Plus, their whole 100% marks depend on those final board exams. So how can we change this unproductive, rather impossible method of studying? Luckily there are some ways you can change this unproductivity.
Pay Proper Attention in Class
Don’t just study for exams, study to learn what you’re being taught. This means that study throughout the year or the semester. Pay close attention in every class and have your mind present. You learn a lot in the class than you ever could at home having just a book open in front of you. In a class, there’s everyone involved; ideas from every student, new questions, experiences of the teacher and their way of teaching the material. So that’s where you start, learn and study every day.
Review the Material
Then weekly, or monthly, review what you have studied. Build an overall idea of what you’ve learned. Doing so, you’d know the chapters and have an idea about its contents. Then in the monthly test exams, relearn everything you’ve studied so far, but it shouldn’t be a big deal because you had been paying attention all along.
Another thing you could do is that restudy the day’s content in the evening, at night, or early morning next day to better understand the topics and to better remember them.
Treat each subject separately
Treat each subject separately and have your mind pay separate attention to each subject. Know what I will learn from this subject and how important is it for me. You can’t be good at all the subjects, so you better focus more on those that you know you’d need in the future. But meanwhile, it is important for you to build a concept about each subject because you’re in the early stages of your education.
Don’t Stress yourself
Finally, don’t stress yourself near or during the exams. The whole idea of breaking down your study sessions was to divide the pressure equally during the year so that you don’t feel stressed. And learn significantly well than your traditional tuition and near-exam, overloaded study sessions. Following this, at the end of your term or year, you’d have a clear picture in your mind about what you have studied in each subject throughout the year and what I would be able to write, which would boost your confidence and help you a lot in your exams.
Study Guides 2: Your own time-table: Schedule your day, week, month, and year.
I know when the school starts, the year ahead seems long and unforgiving, but that’s because you don’t have anything planned. Agreed, the first month might seem out of sorts because you’re in the process of learning which subjects you’ll study, which classrooms to attend, which teachers you’d be with and all the other school stuff, but once you’ve figured out everything, it’s time to organize them in a way that it doesn’t stress you out through the year.
Schedule Your Day
Start with your day. Break it down hourly so that each hour would seem important to you. Wake up early, have a cold shower and then go jogging and exercise. It is very important. Come back, prepare breakfast, eat healthily. Have a small study session while you have your meal. Leave for school/college early so that you could meet your friends and have time to gossip and laugh. Have undivided attention in each class and build a concept of what you learned today. Use your breaks wisely, catch a friend and talk about what you learned or visit the library to read a novel.
Then, come back home, eat healthily. Rest if you take afternoon naps or else perform your other hobbies. When there’s moderate temp outside, go out walking. Empty your mind, talk to yourself, know what’s happening in your life. Come back, treat yourself with a snack, and get to review what you studied today. Have an hour for media consumption, TV, social media, movies whatever. Prepare dinner, eat healthily and early as well. Talk to your friends and read your novel before you sleep. Sleep early and in peace with a smile on your face.
Schedule Your Week
Weekly plans are just as important. The daily schedule might go as planned on weekdays, but don’t be so strict on it; oversleep someday, go outing some evenings, but don’t worry it moves on. Have something planned out for Friday nights just to start your weekend fresh! During the weekend, have a get together with friends. Have dinner out with friends. Try to refresh your mind and body as much as you can for the coming week. Have a session of an hour or two during the weekend where you’d review what you studied in all the subject in the past week. All in all, try to be happy and busy and spend time with yourself.
Schedule Your Month
Monthly plans help you get a hold of what’s happening in your life and how you’re dealing with it. Something you must have noticed so far that you don’t just study in your life, there’s a lot more than just school in your life. And I want you guys to know that. Family time is just as important to learn basic manners and tighten the bonds; friends go a long way with you, so help them and get their help too; spend time with yourself to know who you are and what is it that you want out of your life; watch movies, read books, you learn a lot from these that will help you grow in other parts of your life. That’s why a monthly plan would help you make time for each of the respective part of your life.
The monthly tests should also help you see if the way you’re learning is being productive or not – if not then you might need to change it. At the end of the month, sit and look back on what you’ve down and appreciate yourself for that; look forward and make plans for the coming month and motivate yourself for it.
Schedule Your Year
Annual plans are rather grand. So have at least a good number of thing planned for the year. A good year at school must be prior than everything, but have things planned outside of school as well. A community service, a new skill, read this many books, watch these many movies, go to trips, start a blog, complete a dairy, save money, buy something valuable, make birthday plans and many more.
The way it helps you is that you get excited about the year and it keeps you motivated and busy with things that matter to you. But here’s the fun part, alongside all these, many more exciting, unexpected things happen along the way that you never thought of – for life is full of surprises, bad and good ones, but there’s more always.
I am sure after reading this, the year ahead doesn’t seem that heavy or long anymore! So start making your plans.
Study Guides 3: Study to Learn
All our childhood we are made to feel that we are studying or going to school for some other purpose and not for ourselves. Therefore, we feel so detached from learning throughout the school years. We may feel like we’re studying for our parents because they make us go to school. They make us feel as if we’re less interested than them to go to school. We might also feel that we are studying for grades once we are in school. Good grades show that you’re a good student, otherwise, how else are you going to prove yourself?
We may also feel that we are only studying and will keep on studying for a brighter (which means money-on-hand and money in bank accounts) future to support our own families. Or we may get the idea of the responsibility of carrying along with our family businesses for which the degrees are the must. All in all, we never actually feel that we are studying for a greater purpose – for our own selves and prosperity. And unless we realize that sense of purpose in our academic years, we’d hardly learn enough or study honestly.
Study Guides 4: Be honest: study when you sit down to study
Let’s break the above problem down into daily routines. We keep duping ourselves that we are studying when actually we’re just turning the pages around or memorizing the sentences in the answers. We would never do the exercises at the end of the chapter, or read extra material regarding the chapter. Heck, we wouldn’t even read what we are supposed to read. That’s completely unacceptable. Rather, when you sit down to read, tell your mind that you’re going to study and that you are not supposed to be disturbed. After that, know what you’re about to study, and then start. As you go along, pause and see if you’re understanding what you’re reading. If not, then don’t just re-read it, but also see what you’re missing.
Also, remember that you don’t have to grab each detail in the book, you just have to get the important points that will help you build a concept about the topic. Because whatever you’re reading will be repeated in detail in further classes so it’s only important for you to build a concept regarding that subject or specific topic.
Pro study guides 5: Practice! Practice! Practice!
If you don’t understand something, read it again and read it differently. If you know something, read it again too so that you get better at it and understand it more closely and comprehensively. Practice whether in sports or in studies helps you master your game. Just like by more practice in sports, you build your muscles to perform the same task time and again until it becomes habitual, so is the case during your studies. The more you read and practice it, the better your chances at mastering that.
Let’s take the example of Math because it needs practice at its core. The more you practice a formula or an equation the better you can apply it to questions and find your way to the right answers. I agree each new question is different and more challenging, but if you know how to apply the formula and other basic operations along with it, you will eventually find your way through. I am not saying to practice the question again and again because our topic is to study less and smart, what I am saying is that know the formula and the techniques to solve the questions – then any question would be easy enough for you to solve.
That’s almost the story with other subjects as well. Read conceptually and read again if you feel like you’ve missed something. Don’t practice memorizing the sentences again and again, you won’t learn anything there – but rather learn what is being told and once you understand that it will be easy for you to write it the way you want. Then, you independent of the materials and stuff; then, it is just you and your concept about the subject or specific topic and how you bring your thoughts to pen.
So those were some of the tips for How to Study Less, Study Smart to Retain More Information aka study guides. We tried our best to elaborate these study guides on our points as much as we could so that the readers would be able to understand thoroughly what is being said and then be able to apply these in their daily lives. I hope there were helpful and understandable, we will make sure to write more about such topics that would help students learn better and more productively.
Also, to stay motivated, read Most Inspiring and Motivating Quotations for Students.
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