News How to study - learning skills and good study...

How to study – learning skills and good study habits

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How to study

Studying effectively is studying smart. Effective learning skills and good study habits gives a student more time to engage in other social or physical activities like sports, hobbies and other interests which are an important part of personal development and growth. Good study habit involves good time management skills. It means that you put your time at school/ college to good use and spend less time in studying more. Somehow, it has been grilled into us that we need to study long and hard which may not necessarily be true if we make good use of the various study techniques and methods that are available to us. Most of us practice them, but we may need a better understanding of those skills and a little polishing to make them effective.

Forming good study habits and learning skills

The first and most important step to effective learning skills is active listening. Active listening skill involves paying close attention to what is being taught, comprehension, interpretation, evaluation and responding appropriately to the speaker. Listening with all your senses, cutting out all distractions and side talk, and picking out the key points of the discussion helps you retain 50% of what you heard in your memory, thus making your study time highly effective.

Note taking is an art and a science. Effective note taking implies taking down key points and summarizing them in your own words. Copious notes is not the objective of note-taking. Legible notes with proper headings, sub-headings, descriptions and How to study – learning skills and good study habitsdiagrams make study time and actual learning easy. Note taking allows for further discussions and clarification of concepts that are not clear during the lecture.

Note-making is interpretation of the notes that you have taken down during a class. Underlining/highlighting key concepts, summarising chapters, writing in bold the important elements and adding clarification or additional information to the existing material is what makes note making more effective. Note making makes revisions easier and effective. Note making completes the process of active listening and note taking, enabling you to develop good study skills.

Revisions are an important part of smart studying. Without revisions, most of what you learn could be forgotten. Research tell us that we retain in our memory up to 50% of what we hear in the first 24 hours, but within 48 hours our memory retention drops down to 25%. Note taking, note making and revisions help convert what has been registered in short term memory to long term memory effectively. Revisions do not mean memorising or blindly studying what you have written down, but studying with conceptual clarity and understanding.

Effective reading helps you read purposefully, understand smartly and while saving time. It helps you save time through techniques like selective reading and know when to slow down and when to speed up. Effective reading helps you to go beyond your textbooks and class notes and have a wider and a more clearer understanding of the subject.

Connectivity is the ability to relate new concepts to what you already know. It helps you too conceptually map your knowledge making it easy to remember. Using diagrams and flow charts helps you to remember and understand concepts and connectivity better.

Kinesthetic study is the application of acquired knowledge. No learning is complete without applying what you have learnt. When you put into practice what you have learnt, this practical application of knowledge seals in the concepts in your long term memory effectively.

Use of effective learning techniques. There are various techniques that you can use to remember lists, concepts and ideas like acronyms, stories, anagrams, rhymes, visualization etc. help learn effectively.

Time management skills – Without good time management skills, your study time and effort can wasted. Planning and organisation are an important part of effective study skills.

Forming good study habits. Cramming for exams and learning for tests alone is not a great study habit. You need to have regular hours of study, utilizing your peak ability time and getting the most out of it. Good study habits call for effective planning, proper schedules and discipline.

Good sleep, rest and nutrition. Finally, the most important aspect of effective learning is to give your brain a healthy diet and good rest. There are a wide range of brain foods that can help you increase your brain power. Neglecting your health can cost you much in terms of illness during exams and tests and making all your efforts go in vain . Cramming just before exams and burning the midnight oil isn’t a smart idea. Rest is as equally important for your body as is food. Relax, don’t stress out, work hard and see the results for yourself. Effective study is all about living a smart life and making the best use of it.

How to study – learning skills and good study habits
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.

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