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Study Guide

Study Tips

Studying should be carried out when you are bright and alert. Spending forty minutes learning nothing is a waste of time.

Try to study material as soon as possible after it was taught. This can facilitate understanding and long term memory, as phrases and explanations used by the teacher are fresh in your mind.

Choose a quiet comfortable place to study.

Before you start a study session have everything you need to hand. Don't waste valuable time.

Prioritise. Set out what you want to achieve in a session and stick to it.

Many students retain more by studying hard in short bursts (30-40 minutes) with breaks in between. Essay work may take longer.

During your break relax.

The development of effective study skills is essential to success in school. The results of poor study techniques are wasted time, lack of self-motivation, frustration, and consequently low or falling grades. Studying requires hard work: no pain, no gain. However, by using certain techniques, and by applying yourself, you can gain valuable insights into how to understand material, prepare for tests and ultimately, how to learn efficiently. So read on and think about everything you read.

A Study Timetable

Before you even begin to think about studying you must devise a study timetable. One of the most difficult things to do when studying is getting started. A study timetable gives you a routine that must be followed. It takes the anxiety out of deciding what to do at a particular time. It eliminates trivial decision-making and allows you to focus on the important aspects of the learning process.Time is your most valuable asset.
A good study timetable must:
  • take account of all of your needs, eating, sleeping ,work and leisure.
  • use all of your precious free time productively.
  • be flexible. If something unexpected turns up reallocate the study block(s) to a later date. So if you normally study for three hours on Thursday but have to go out on a particular Thursday then re-schedule for the following Saturday or Sunday. You can change the timetable as circumstances warrant.
  • be followed.

The Process of Study

Everybody has thinking skills, but few use them effectively. Effective thinking skills cannot be studied but must be built up over a period of time. Good thinkers see openings where others see only dead-ends. If you're not a good thinker, start now by developing habits that make you ask yourself questions as you read. Talk to other students who you feel are good thinkers. Ask them what it is they do when they think critically or creatively. Often times, you can pick up valuable insights to help you become a better thinker.

The SQ3R method

SQ3R is a well-tried method used to improve study skills. SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review.

Survey - get the best overall picture of what you're going to study BEFORE you study it in detail. It's like looking at a road map before going on a trip. Decide on what topic you wish to study in a particular session and what you want to achieve by the end.

Question - ask questions all the time. The important things to learn are usually answers to questions. Ask yourself questions as you read or study. As you answer them, you will help to make sense of the material and remember it more easily because the process will make an impression on you. Those things that make impressions are more meaningful, and therefore more easily remembered. Write the answers to questions in a notebook and record any questions which you cannot answer satisfactorily, so that you can ask your subject teacher to help you with them.

Read - Reading is NOT just running your eyes quickly over material. When you read, read actively. Read to answer questions you have asked yourself or questions the teacher or author has asked. Always be alert to bold or italicised print. The authors intend that this material receive special emphasis. Also, when you read, be sure to read everything, including tables, graphs and diagrams. Pictures can often speak louder than words.

Recite - When you recite, you stop reading periodically to recall what you have read. Try to recall main headings, important ideas of concepts presented in bold or italicised type, and what graphs charts or diagrams indicate. Try to connect things you have just read to things you already know. When you do this periodically, the chances are you will remember much more and be able to recall material for papers, essays and objective tests.

Review - A review is a survey of what you have covered. It is a review of what you are supposed to accomplish not what you are going to do. Rereading is an important part of the review process. Reread with the idea that you are measuring what you have gained from the process. During review, it's a good time to go over notes you have taken to help clarify points you may have missed or don't understand. The best time to review is when you have just finished studying something. Don't wait until just before an examination to begin the review process. Before an examination, do a final review. If you manage your time, the final review can thought of as a "fine-tuning" of your knowledge of the material.


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