Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good study habits

10 Tips For Efficient Learning

Learning is a lifelong skill. From birth and throughout life, a person goes on a journey of acquiring knowledge. How this knowledge is gained varies from one individual to another because each one is created unique.

There are some people who make little or no effort to learn and yet they do well in school. Others spend endless hours over their books but do not excel at all. Genes may have something to do with this, but more than the hereditary factor, it is the attitude towards learning that increases one’s ability to perform well. How one efficiently studies makes a capable learner. Here are a few tips to make the most out of learning:

1. Take care of your health

People, like machines, also need downtimes. Stress and fatigue due to studying for long periods of time render the brain less effective to absorb data. Hence, adequate rest should be taken. A healthy mind needs a healthy body - see to it that proper nutrition and regular exercise is always maintained.

2. Develop a passion for learning

One should have a thirst for knowledge in order for learning to take place. Attending classes every day, reading and studying for hours, and accomplishing assignments do not guarantee positive results if you do not have that craving or focus to learn. Self-esteem somehow triggers this passion. The higher your self-confidence is, the more challenged you will become to learn faster.

3. Find a study environment that is conducive

Elements in the environment play an important role in one’s quest for learning. A specific study area with ample lighting, privacy, and complete supplies and reference materials are but some essentials for a smooth and stress-free study time. A set routine should also be imposed. Assign a specific time during the day for study. Don’t just "fit it in" your schedule or else you’ll have no time at all.

4. Set goals and targets

In order for each learning experience to be realistic, it is wise to set goals for yourself - goals that are measurable, achievable, time-bound, and flexible. Prepare weekly schedules, taking note of deadlines. For example, to get high grades, extra effort must be taken in studying and preparing for exams.

5. Take breaks in between study sessions

The brain needs to be recharged once in a while as this is when it absorbs all data obtained from studying. Overexertion causes it to repel information and makes studying futile. Do not go on a study marathon. Instead, study in short but frequent sessions and take breathers in between.

6. Engage in study groups

Two heads are better than one Рso goes the clich̩. Learning with a group is synergetic. You get to share your opinions, ideas, and views, and at the same time it is a venue for clarifying mind-boggling matters. It is also more interesting and challenging because you gain different perspectives or outlooks.

7. Understand concepts instead of memorizing details

Most of the time, students pass exams and quizzes with flying colors. But after a while, their knowledge of the subject matter would already slip their minds. This is mainly due to a wrong approach to learning – that of memorization. Memorization is only short-term "disguised learning". If one develops the habit of understanding concepts rather than focusing on details, the learning process will flow smoothly and will have a long-term impact.

8. Use shortcuts

Applying shortcuts to your study habits maximize your learning skills. You accomplish more when you abbreviate in note-taking, when you focus your notes around ideas instead of taking them down verbatim, and when you put everything straight into your computer. In this day and age, we need to pack a lot of information into a very limited timeframe.

9. Manage your time wisely

Learning is an ongoing skill. Hand in hand with your goal-setting is allotting and managing your time for things to be done – projects to work on, homework to finish, and term papers and theses to submit. Time properly managed is time well spent. Even your time for socializing should be taken into consideration. Remember – all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

10. Reward yourself

It is important to make the learning experience enjoyable whenever possible. Try out things that may spark that craving within you to learn – listening to music, perhaps, or engaging in a delightful snack – whatever may inspire you. Continuous hours of studying will not only make you weary but also make you lose interest.

The above tips show that devoting long hours to study does not necessarily yield productive results. Studying efficiently and effectively are the key factors to learning better.

This is an excerpt from Mark Patterson's award-winning book "Secrets of LazySmart Students" - every student's guide to getting better marks by working smarter instead of harder. Mark's book will give you incredible tips for time management, self-motivation, will teach you how to kick the procrastination habit and doing great in any exam or written assignment. For more detailed information on what you have rea, check out his book now at:

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