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Old 06-21-10, 11:21 AM   #1
mikeybikes
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Study Tips

I'm going back to school after a break away, and I need to change my studying habit. I fear the reason I did so terrible previously was my lack of ability / will to study and do homework.

So, what kind of tips do you current/former students have for studying?
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Old 06-21-10, 11:32 AM   #2
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I've been back for about a year now, taking one class at a time while maintaining a full time job, a baby (and another on the way), and some semblance of a balance with skiing and cycling.

It ain't easy.

But it's worth it.


My motivation has changed; it's a career-limiter but also an example for my kids; it's a little hypocritical to require college when Daddy doesn't have a degree. The most important factor for me to be successful is scheduling the time. For example, Wednesday nights and Friday nights/Saturday afternoons are for homework. I'm also in a 100% online program (Regis, btw), which means there's no commute time to get to class or anything like that, which helps.
I'll do homework after the kid goes to bed and we're just hanging out. I have a better discipline about it this time around, but it's also one class, which makes it a little more manageable.
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Old 06-21-10, 11:33 AM   #3
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I figured out whether I remember best by writing stuff out, listening to it, or just reading. I have to go through and re-write (well, summarize) my notes in order to have a 100% grasp of the material. I also find paying for classes out of pocket increases my motivation to pass. Setting a schedule - i.e. going to the library for 1 hour after class to review, helps. Also when your friends say that they're only going out for a beer or coffee...they lie. 'Tis never just one.
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Old 06-21-10, 11:51 AM   #4
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Have the mods ban you from this forum. The internet is for some a huge distraction to schoolwork, especially now that so much schoolwork is online. I've done it before.
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Old 06-21-10, 12:14 PM   #5
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Have the mods ban you from this forum. The internet is for some a huge distraction to schoolwork, especially now that so much schoolwork is online. I've done it before.
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Old 06-21-10, 12:21 PM   #6
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Different things work for different people.

What worked for me was taking as much notes as possible. I remember things better when I write them down, in my own words. I would paraphrase things the prof said, too. If I needed more details, that's what the book helped with.

I would read over my notes a few times, especially right before a test. I would think, 'oh yeah, I remember writing that' as I read it, and it just sort of cemented it in my memory (well, at least long enough for the test!).
Yep, there are different learning styles. Mine happens to be kinesthetic, or muscle memory. So like oakback, I found that if I wrote detailed notes and then just copied/summarized them later, I'd retain the information. You might be an auditory learner so recording lectures and then listening to them again might work best.
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Old 06-21-10, 12:29 PM   #7
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I found that my retention of stuff in books improved a lot if I wrote in them and highlighted important bits. Also, flash cards were fantastic for when I had to simply learn dates, names, formulas or vocabulary.

At work, I've found that setting to do lists and then surrendering to them has made me more productive than I thought possible. It's kind of cool, actually. If/when I go back to school, that is definitely something I'll try to implement there, too.
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Old 06-21-10, 12:43 PM   #8
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no TV; no internet & no cell phone

like excercise - just do it ...
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Old 06-21-10, 01:05 PM   #9
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Back when I was in school the Physics department allowed students to make up a one page cheat sheet. Anything you wanted, normal sized lettering one side of a standard piece of paper.

In hindsight I realize that once created it would at most be glanced at. The process of determining just what was important enough for the sheet meant people learned that material.

My other hint is determine just how hard each class is FOR YOU and adjust your time and focus accordingly. I took some introductory accounting when I had been out of school for a while and was considering grad school in business. Dog easy for me, that meant I did homework while watching baseball.

Also remember in some areas your knowledge may be very rusty. Plan some timne to get back up to speed. Especially if the cost is on a per unit basis consider starting with a light load (which can include required prerequsites that you need more for paperwork than education).
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Old 06-21-10, 01:20 PM   #10
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first of all congrats!

I found that taking a moment to relax myself before studying was well worth it. you focus and remember more when you're relaxed! also, writing helped me a lot... taking notes versus recording lectures, writing outlines when studying textbooks. another factor is how important it is for you, but it sounds like you are invested in this in a way that you weren't before.

many people say that taking regular breaks helps them focus, and that was certainly my experience as well. take a ten minute break every hour or whatever works for you.

good luck to you! school can be an ordeal, but it's almost always worth it.
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Old 06-21-10, 05:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . ,.-'". . . . . . . . . .``~.,
. . . . . . . .. . . . . .,.-". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."-.,
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _\. . . . . ._,-%. . . ..`
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, drink a cup of white-hot boiling water to center your mind before you study.
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Old 06-21-10, 09:00 PM   #12
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Some good tips. Sounds like I just need to focus and find a method that works well for me.
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, drink a cup of white-hot boiling water to center your mind before you study.
I don't think I've ever seen water boil white...
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Old 06-21-10, 10:50 PM   #13
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Always study the day's lesson right after class. Hit the library, lab or student center before going home...on second thought, don't go to the student center 'cause that's where all the skirt's at and you won't concentrate anyway. If you do go home right away go over that day's lesson before you do anything else. Don't ever study right before an exam, it's waay too late and the brain won't take anything in. If you didn't learn it during the semester when you should have, you won't learn it at the last minute.
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Old 06-21-10, 11:55 PM   #14
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Don't ever study right before an exam, it's waay too late and the brain won't take anything in. If you didn't learn it during the semester when you should have, you won't learn it at the last minute.
not true...at least thats how i study...and most of the time it is the day of the test. I wouldnt suggest anyone do that, but it has worked for me up to this point (second semester of Grad School) Now dont get me wrong...I do try to pay attention in class, but always end up studying the day of
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Old 06-22-10, 03:16 AM   #15
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, drink a cup of white-hot boiling water to center your mind before you study.
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Old 06-22-10, 03:32 AM   #16
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Who's the second facepalm? The first is clearly Picard, but I can't make out the second.
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Old 06-22-10, 04:14 AM   #17
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Make studying a job and take it seriously. That means having a schedule and being alert when you start. Don't try to cram, get some studying done every day so the night before the test you can get a good night sleep,which will allow you to be alert enough to figure out some questions you missed.
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Old 06-22-10, 07:38 PM   #18
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Be motivated, have a goal.

Do your homeworks and the exercises a few times, reread your notes and be motivated. I managed to get 94% final average in Chemistry class and the group average was 62%. I'm actually really proud of this average since I never believed I could do so well but I worked hard and I had the motivation to back me up and I worked hard.

Just like I do in cycling, work hard/train hard = Results.

And if you can manage to like what you're doing it'll be even better.

OH! if you've got any questions of any type, ask the teacher, do THAT, even though you may be shy, get over it and ASK. Seriously. ASK. just like we do on a forum. (but the teacher won't troll you)
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Old 06-22-10, 08:12 PM   #19
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Building a relationship with the professor is great. I've learned a lot of what I know not from classroom time, but time spent in the office talking about the subject. You engage in conversation and holes in your knowledge will naturally float to the top.
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Old 06-22-10, 09:50 PM   #20
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You engage in conversation and holes in your knowledge will naturally float to the top.
I'd rather the holes in your knowledge stay where they are, lest they destroy all life on earth.
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Old 06-23-10, 09:19 AM   #21
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I'd rather the holes in your knowledge stay where they are, lest they destroy all life on earth.
Then I guess it'll be me instead of Picard facepalming your dumb comments.
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Old 06-23-10, 10:31 AM   #22
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Here are a couple of things that I found helpful:
1) Take good notes during class. Use a different color of pen or make a mark next to things you have questions about.
2) Ask questions as they come up during lecture. If there's not enough time to do that, ask the questions during office hours or via email (however the prof handles that)
3) Have a running list of questions and make sure to get them answered by the end of each week
4) Read the corresponding parts of the book before class.
5) Start the homework after lecture while the info is fresh
6) Make a goal of being ready to take the test 3-4 days early. That way the last few days are spent refining your knowledge rather than cramming.
7) If a test is going to require a lot of memorization, get that out of the way well in advance.
8) When your brain gets sick and tired of looking at a particular subject, that's a good way to tell that you've studied enough or that you've got whatever you are going to get out of the material.

A few other key things:
1) get a course "bible" if one exists. If the prof has taught the course before, find someone who took the class and get copies of the old notes and exams. profs often have the same style from year to year even if the questions are different.
2) Get to know the professor by going to office hours. If they know you really care about the class, they might be more motivated to help you and to give you a boost if you are on the borderline between two grade levels at the end of the semester.

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Old 06-24-10, 07:12 AM   #23
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I work with non-traditional students, and here is what we always advise them to do:

1. Schedule your study time, for yourself and those you are responsible for; if your last class ends at 3, allow yourself at least an hour in the library before you have to be somewhere else to do something else. If you have a family and a job, you can't study at home. If you have to make dinner for the kids, you can't study at home. If you have to help kids with homework, do laundry, clean house, you can't study at home.
2. Schedule your study time, for yourself and those you are responsible for; if your last class ends at 3, allow yourself at least an hour in the library before you have to be somewhere else to do something else. If you have a family and a job, you can't study at home. If you have to make dinner for the kids, you can't study at home. If you have to help kids with homework, do laundry, clean house, you can't study at home.

should I repeat that? study time = no music, no phone, no tv - just you, your notes, your books.
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Old 06-24-10, 07:53 AM   #24
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Who's the second facepalm? The first is clearly Picard, but I can't make out the second.
Captain Kirk? Kennedy?

As for study tips, erm...I never really had good ones myself, but I am a tutor and had to learn HOW to teach good study skills to my student. +1 on the cheat sheet approach and the finding your own learning style thing. Finding out what is important to learn and how best to learn it will be your lifesaver.

This one isn't a study tip, but is very important: when scheduling classes take into account the difficulty of each class, just like Keith99 said. For example, if, say, you are taking 12 units (which I assume is full time?) budget the units accordingly so that you have a good balance between difficult and easy classes. I found that roughly half easy half difficult is a good balance for me, but your balance may be different from mine.

Another tip that I tell my students who are having difficulty with budgeting time is that the number of units you are taking should be the minimum number of hours you study and/or work on homework per week for these subjects. So, 12 units=12 hours of study. If you have difficult classes, those get more of the unit-hour budget, and easy classes get less, but as much as possible, try to fill up the time. If you do all the reviewing and/or doing homework in less than your unit-hour budget, great! Now you can spend the rest of it previewing the next chapters or lessons.
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