Active studying is a very important skill to have because it will significantly increase a student’s ability to retain information. If used properly, active studying will drastically decrease the amount of time a student needs to spend studying.
Students often spend long hours studying but feel that they can only absorb a small amount of the material. By constantly rereading the content, the student may start to lose motivation because of their inability to retain. In order to ensure that the student manages their time wisely, they are encouraged to study actively! Here are some good tips regarding the nature of active studying.
Take Notes in Class
Many teachers provide handouts, PowerPoints and notes on the material. Regardless of this, the student is encouraged to write down their own notes because this will significantly increase their ability to recall the information in the future. To increase their note taking efficiency, students should consider drawing diagrams or using short forms for words.
Organizing information in a chart or a table is another great way to present material in an easy to understand manner. The goal of this is to assist the student in the retention process by ensuring that they are actively processing the information as it is presented to them.
To ensure that the student has a strong understanding of the material, the student should periodically test themselves. One way to do this is to pick a topic, close all texts and notes, and write down everything known about that topic. They can then cross reference this with what they have in their notes. This is a great strategy as it gives the student a good idea of how much material they can actually retain rather than what they think they can retain.
Study in a group
When a student studies alone, they may begin to day dream. In order to avoid this, the student should consider group-studying. In a group, students can actively discuss the material which usually results in a much more thorough understanding. As open dialogue is a more interactive form of thinking, group studying is recommended because it can raise their understanding significantly.
Extend your attention span through small breaks
Switching to another activity will help extend your attention span. Sometimes, students tire of studying for a long period of time. Evidently this will hinder their ability to retain the knowledge as their mind may begin to wander. Research shows that individuals can only focus for about 45-60 minutes. If the student studies for longer, they are advised to take a break and recharge.
Reading a solution manual will not help
Oftentimes, students will just look at the solutions and assume that they understand it. This is called passive knowledge and is not an effective way to study. Instead, students should do the problems by themselves and then compare the answers because then they will be able to learn from their mistakes. As this is a much more active method of study, the student’s ability to understand and retain the information will be dramatically increased.
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