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Study smarter

How you study is more important than how much you study

We live in imperfect world were things often don’t go as planned. Projects miss their deadlines, people don’t achieve what they want to achieve, we fail exams, the list goes on. For some students, it seems like it’s only a dream to be successful.
But success doesn’t come to you, you go to it. And to be successful you must learn to cultivate the habit of learning when others are sleeping, playing, laying about, or wishing their lives were better.

There are several ways to get the most out of your university experience. For example, the dean of the Stanford University School of Education, Dr. Deborah Stipek, states “Researchers have shown decisively that when children study because they enjoy it, their learning will get richer and become long lasting. They are also more persistent, more creative and more eager to do challenging work.” Finding a way to make your classes fun can go a long way.

Another way to maximize your enjoyment is to relate what you are learning to your own life. Author and educator Richard L Wearer writes that “when there is a direct connection between classroom learning and practical experience, there is an electrical spark that turns on the light bulb of understanding.” Along with understanding comes comprehension.


"Within 24 hours, we can forget up to 80 per cent of what we studied. By doing a quick review session a day or a week later, we vastly improve our information recall, even raising it to near 100 per cent."


In order to do well in class, students must also concentrate. While we live in a society where concentrating for more than a few minutes on any one thing seems impossible, individuals can learn to concentrate. Once mastered, concentrating for long periods of time will improve any student’s grades noticeably.

And finally, it is crucial to be aware of how you are interacting with the information you are receiving. It’s impossible to take notes verbatim, so it becomes critical that you are good at paraphrasing what your professors tell you. This will make the information you are learning easier to grasp and to recall later. It is also important to associate new information with information you already knew before the lecture, thus creating a narrative through which to understand the new information. While doing all this, visualizing what you are thinking can create memory aids when it comes time later for exams. But most importantly you need to review what you have learned.

Within 24 hours, we can forget up to 80 per cent of what we studied. By doing a quick review session a day or a week later, we vastly improve our information recall, even raising it to near 100 per cent.

Following these steps might seem like common sense, but to many they are difficult to master. Once students start following these simple suggestions, their grades can be vastly improved and their school experience can be greatly enhanced.

Bethel Vopnu
Contributor

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