HOW TO STUDY IN SCHOOL
A lot of you guys have requested a part two to my previous back to school special even though most of you failed to read the part where I said email me if you want the second part. Any who, I’ve decided, out of the goodness of my heart to post up part 2 of my back to school special. Part one was the importance of time management and keeping yourself busy, part two will be the method I used to study consistently. My whole motto with life and with studying is to be as efficient as possible. I want to get the most out of every second that I have dedicated to learning the material. This is why I was promoting extra-curricular activities versus having lots of time to study. There are two ways to study, one is to spend 8 hours re-reading chapters over and over again hoping that material sticks in your head. This is what most people do who get average marks and complain they spent so much time studying. This is the laziest way to study and those who do it, know that it is. The other way to study is to spend 3-4 hours on the same material, but this time you are making notes, highlighting important information, compressing the information, writing it in your own words, writing questions for yourself and teaching others. Whoa. That sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Well it is, and that’s what working hard is and it’s what you have to do in order to get good marks in the least amount of time. You will learn exponentially more doing that in a shorter amount of time, than reading the textbook for the triple the amount of time. The only thing is people don’t want to put in all that work because it’s hard and tiring. But it’s efficient and it works. It also doesn’t help when there are people who brag about watching TV and studying at the same time or multi-tasking and getting the same grades. Let them say they do that, don’t try to replicate it yourself. There is no substitute for hard work and efficiency. People will always talk shit, there’s that one kid in every class who will downplay how much work he actually does. You gain nothing by taking his word seriously.
If you ever have a question or need clarification about a concept go to your professor and ask for help! That’s their job and don’t feel ashamed or scared of asking for help. That’s the stupidest thing you can do. Also don’t waste your time trying to figure out a difficult concept on your own, just get help and it will save you hours and even days. Spend 15 to 20 minutes max per problem and if you can’t figure it, then write that question down on your “list of questions sheet” and ask your professor.
The way I like to do it is read the practice questions from sample exams or the end of chapter questions so you have a general idea of how much detail you have to go into when studying. A big thing for me is no one should own a solution manual. Solution manuals are a cancer for your grades and understanding of the material. If you don’t get it, go ask your professor or friends for help, just don’t take the easy way out and read the solution manual. It gives you a false sense of security that you don’t have during exams. Plus solution manuals provide a solution that’s only specific to that one question and may include tricks that don’t apply to anything else and you might screw yourself over for learning the concept.
Here is the most important part of the whole studying process and it’s what makes everything else so much easier. You have to PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS!! You can’t afford to skip class or go there and not listen. First of all if you go and talk all class that’s just an abysmal waste of time. Secondly skipping class is also a huge waste of time because you will spend 2 to 3 times longer trying to figure out something the professor explained in 5 seconds of less. Then you will come crying to me saying “zoomg uzair I spent so much time studying and I work so hard but I can’t get good grades”. Don’t confuse hard work with just spending hours doing something that can be done in 5 minutes or less. I suggest auto euthanization for those individuals who claim they are hard workers because they take 5 hours trying to figure out something on their own that can be explained in 2 minutes or less.
Now that we have that out of the way, as a warm up when you first start studying; quickly review what you did previously and the class notes about the upcoming chapter. You don’t have to go into much detail but you do need to have the bigger picture in mind. Plus when you review your notes from your previous sessions it just helps you remember it that much more. This should take about 10 to 20 minutes at max.
Go through the entire chapter (or what he covered in class), and write out an outline of what the major points are (usually each subheading in the chapter).
Read each subheading once without writing any notes and try to figure out what the one major idea is. Then write down all the important ideas in your own words. It’s crucial that you write them in your own words because that way you will truly understand the concept. This takes more effort but you don’t want to come back again looking over the same stuff. Just do it right the first time around. While you’re studying, make sure you write down all the questions you have on a separate piece of paper which you will ask your professor or friend. Usually you will be able to answer the question yourself after you finish reading that chapter.
After you’ve finished writing notes for that chapter you have to compress all your notes into 1 single page and only on 1 side. This forces you to cut out anything that you already know or irrelevant ideas. This is the most crucial part of the whole studying process and the hardest part. You have be careful not to take stuff out that you might forget or is crucial to your understanding and at the same time it helps you find the underlying concept in what you’re studying. Also, when doing this, make sure you combine your classroom notes and handouts as well as your own notes into this one sheet of paper.
Reduce again. By now you should have notes on numerous chapters and once again you have to reduce them to a single sheet on paper. This might seem daunting at first, but the whole process of cutting information out and putting 35 pages of notes on one page is actually where you will learn the most! This is an excellent way to study for midterms and finals as well, instead of relearning everything from your notes, just focus on cutting down everything to one sheet of paper. When it’s time for finals, all your pre-midterm material will be on piece of paper in which you have put in all your most important concepts. Remember the size of your writing doesn’t matter; it just has to be one page.
This is pretty much it; go to class, write your own chapter notes, combine everything into a single sheet of paper. This whole process is actually a lot harder than it seems especially if there’s a lot of information but from my own experience as a student this has been the most effective.
Now I know this has been a pretty quick overview of my process and it might not make sense to you. If it doesn’t you can contact me in by clicking on any of the 4 buttons on the top right of my website and I can explain it better.
For my last part: these are memorization techniques that are so powerful you could literally study for an exam the night before and get an A the next day. I’m not even making that bold claim to be dramatic; everyone who I’ve taught this method to has gotten an A on their next exam! Plus when my blog blows up and I become a New York Times Best Seller I’m going to make money off this method so get it now while it’s free.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.