“I don’t write it down to remember it later, I write it down to remember it now.” Umberto Eco
Here are a few of my ideas to help you study, take notes, and learn.
- Take copious and detailed notes, especially in math and science. The more detailed and clear, with diagrams, the better. The process of making the drawing/diagrams and taking the notes will cement the concepts in your brain. It is almost like you are writing on a whiteboard in your brain that you can refer back to when you need it. The reason this works is because you are using multiple senses to learn and you are focusing to do it correctly.
- If you have questions that arise, write them down in your notes and make sure you ask the questions as soon as possible. Interaction with the teacher will help you learn the material and how important the subject is to the teacher. If you can ask the questions during the class lecture time, do so: you will not be the only person with the question, and it will encourage others to ask helpful questions. It is my opinion that the only bad question is the one that is not asked.
- Dedicate a specific time and place for studying. A special quiet place without distractions is best. MaThCliX provides such a place and many of our best students take advantage of the environment to do their work. For many, even if they intend on doing their math work at home, there are a host of distractions awaiting in that familiar environment. In college, we called the distraction of our bed the ‘rack monster’, so we were more productive in the library away from our familiar spaces.
- This is controversial, but I believe, and many studies show, that music causes enough distraction to defocus and make you less productive in studying. It can be used when you take a break to recharge your brain, but during intense study, absolute quiet is best.
- You may not know this, but your attitude have a huge effect on your success in learning a subject/topic. If you go into a topic with eagerness, wanting to learn and master it, you will be a lot more successful than if you do it begrudgingly, not wanting to learn it, or hating the subject. You will do a lot better if you trick yourself into finding something to enjoy in the subject. Finding some other subject that is related can help you find a mental link to hang the new facts on.
There are a lot more suggestions, but practicing these will help you as you study.