Preparing for studying, tutorial Classes, and lectures

quantum-physics-lecture

With the new college semester around the corner, here is a rough guide for studying in which I have picked up from Study Smarter, Not Harder and will be giving these strategies a trial run for the next few months.

Preparing a study place

  • Make sure it has good lighting and comfortable seat to study for long periods
  • Make sure it has few or no external distractions which include:
    • Street noise
    • Room is too hot or cold
    • Poor light
    • Friends interrupting you

Preparing your mind for study

  • Natural breathing techniques
  • Relax your muscles

Preparing your focus

  • Eliminate internal distractions
    • Have 6 to 7 hours of sleep
      • Sleep is necessary to consolidate memories and make the neural connections that create learning
    • Eat properly, don’t maintain a poor diet
    • Exercise regularly
  • Be aware of your alertness cycles
    • Pay attention to it for at least a week
    • Evaluate your energy levels for each time of the day
    • Adjust your study schedule accordingly to study when you feel the most productive

Preparing your schedule

  • Work backwards from an exam date
    • Give one full day for review and active output practice (recalling and rehearsing your material)
    • Give two full days for consolidation and reviewing notes
    • Use the remaining days to split your reading for the course

Preparing for study materials and reading

  • Map out your route from the assigned readings or professor’s lecture handouts
    • Survey the chapter for cues and memory hooks
    • Look at the table of contents and any summaries given for the chapter
    • Read the introductory and concluding sections first, then read all the major headings and subheadings
    • Examine all the graphics
    • Take 1 to 2 minutes to review and rehearse the main points of the chapter
      • consolidate the framework before going onto detailed reading
  • Be an active reader
    • Eliminate roving eye syndrome by using a pen or finger to trace reading

Preparing for classes and lectures

  • Before class and lectures:
    • Read assigned material
    • Review previous lecture notes
    • Anticipate what is coming up in this class
  • Do not do these before class
    • Eat a heavy meal
    • Wasting time
    • Expecting to be “taught”
    • Expecting to be able to avoid reading”
  • Practice active listening during class
    • Pay attention to the lecturer’s tone and body language that might hint topics of importance
    • Learn to be an “information filter” and focus less on minor details of the lecture
    • Tie what you are hearing with what you already know
  • Enhancing your learning after classes
    • Immediately after:
      • Spend 10 to 20 minutes to review your notes
      • Complete your notes and sentences that you could not finish in time during the lesson
      • Note down what was important and what the instructor is likely to put on an exam
    • Within one week of the class:
      • The goal is to consolidate the essence of previous lectures into long-term memory
      • Spend 20 minutes to go over the previous week’s notes in some detail
      • Test on the level of detail you can recall
      • Recite major points several times
    • Within one month of the class
      • Spend 20 to 30 minutes for an intensive review and further revision of your notes
      • You may do this more often but the recommended minimum is 20 to 30 minutes per month
      • Be active and rehearse important points to yourself
      • Amplify points that were once vague but clearer to you
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