my masterpost | my studygram | ask me anything
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[transcript under the cut]
Other advice posts that may be of interest:
How To Study When You Really Don’t Want To
Active Revision Techniques
How To Do Uni Readings
How to Revise BIG Subjects
You find a comfortable spot to study and refuse to move ever again. You don’t even think about taking a break—that would be a waste of time and your due date is super close so you can't afford to do that
Whether you’re doing this because you think it’s efficient or because you left everything until the last minute, you’re not going to learn much. Our brains need rest time to process information. Planning ahead is the key here. Instead of focusing only on your deadlines, work backwards and figure out when you need to start working on a project. Take into account how long each part of the work will take you. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more able to actually learn the material, as opposed to just cramming. If you’re really in a pinch (hey, it happens to everyone), try out the pomodoro method: 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off, with a longer break every 4 circuits. It holds off exhaustion and keeps you feeling refreshed over long periods of heavy work!
You try to study by reading the textbook, but somehow end up highlighting everything and remembering nothing.
Turns out, passively re-reading a textbook is pretty useless. Just because you’re holding a highlighter doesn’t mean you’re actually engaging with the material. Learn how to read actively by taking notes as you read, which will force you to decide what parts of the reading are worth remembering. Come up with practice questions or make flashcards. The more of the 5 senses you use in your studying, the more likely you are to remember the information. If your exam includes an essay portion, think about what kinds of themes your professor might ask about and make some possible outlines. Even if your practice questions don’t actually show up on the exam, you’ll be in the right headspace!
You are studying at the same time that you are watching the newest show on Netflix, texting a friend about what happened last Tuesday and cooking a three-course meal.
People are actually really bad at multitasking. While we think we’re focusing on 2 things at once, we’re actually switching between 2 tasks very rapidly, meaning that our brains never have time to fully adjust to working on either one. Unfortunately, the only way around this one is to plan ahead (weird how that keeps cropping up). Make a study schedule ahead of time and figure out which days you’ll devote to which subjects. You’ll be able to process the material more efficiently than you would if your attention was split between tasks, and ultimately you’ll have more confidence in what you’ve learned.
You only ever study in solitude and refuse to ask anyone else for help.
Studying on your own is fine (sometimes even preferable), but having people you can bounce ideas off of can be insanely helpful (even over Zoom!). Convince a friend or family member to let you “teach” them the material—the gaps in your understanding will become more obvious when you try to explain a topic to an uninformed party. If you have no one available, you could even teach to a pet or toy. Most importantly, take advantage of your professors or teachers and contact them if you’re confused about something. You won’t regret it.
You sit down to revise for an exam and you look through all of the notes from your class in chronological order.
In addition to being a very passive study strategy, it also puts you at risk of running out of time to review the material you learnt most recently, which is often emphasised more heavily on the final exam and can also be some of the most difficult concepts to master – especially for classes like math and languages that increase in difficulty throughout the semester. You will also probably be reviewing information you already know. Instead of studying in chronological order, try studying in priority order, spending the majority of your time on the information that will be most important for you to know for the test.
Memorising, Rather Than Understanding
You know that you need to know facts in an exam so you study by trying to memorise all of the facts from a class, rather than truly understanding the underlying concepts.
Memorising can work well in some classes, especially in earlier stages of school, but it often backfires in more advanced classes. If you’ve memorised a definition but don’t really understand what it means, then as soon as the information is presented in a slightly different format, or you’re asked to apply it to a new type of problem, you will have no idea how to proceed. Rather than memorising the information from your classes, use study strategies that encourage you to understand it. Explaining ideas out loud in your own words, or teaching them to someone else, are great examples of study strategies that promote understanding.
Not Practicing How You’ll Be Tested
You have a study method that you use for all of your exams no matter the subject or the format of the exam.
It’s great to have a study method that supports your revision but often they can be limited to specific skills. For example, flashcards might be a great strategy for a test that is mostly multiple-choice and matching questions, but they might be less useful for essays. If you want to be prepared for your exams, you need to make sure that the way you are studying for your test is similar to how you will actually be tested on the material. The best way to do this is by doing practice questions. Numerous studies have shown that students who test themselves on the material they are learning remember the information better than students who do not take practice tests. Practice testing also helps you avoid “illusions of competence”: situations in which you think you know the information better than you do.
Not Using Active Revision Techniques
You study by re-reading over your notes or perhaps rewriting them.
Unfortunately, this approach to studying is not very effective, in large part because it is extremely passive. Students who use this approach will readily admit that they can read over a page of notes and not remember what they have just read! If you don’t remember it right after you’ve read it, how could you possibly hope to answer questions about it on the test? Choosing more active study strategies that require you to engage with the material will enable you to learn the material more effectively and efficiently. This includes: mindmaps, flashcards, past papers, study groups, and many more.
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managing your time is something v v important! especially now that we're all at home, it's really easy for us (or for me, at least) to lose track of time. with this, here are some of the time management techniques i've tried including what worked and what didn't!
i very vaguely explained each time management technique, so here are some additional links you can check out if you wanted to know more about them:
time blocking method by werelivingarts
flexible time blocking by eintsein
calendar blocking // time management for students by mariana's corner
getting more done with calendar blocking by amy landino
energy management by @eintsein
the one productivity system you need: time vs energy management by rowena tsai
5 tips to manage energy for higher productivity by mariana's corner
pomodoro technique 101 by werelivingarts
the pomodoro technique by mariana's corner
time management for college students and the eisenhower matrix by mariana's corner
how to be more productive by using the eisenhower box by james clear
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