The Ability To Learn Is Very Hard Without A Study Technique!

How to study effectively and learn with a proven method.  This study technique really works for the serious student.  As an exam or test approaches, less time is needed for studying.

Most tests or exams want students to regurgitate information from their long-term memory.  I can assure you that this study technique incorporates every proven study suggestion.  It is a very easy process to master that allows you to study less as the exam date gets closer.

There is only one drawback that will likely eliminate many students.  Therefore, only serious students will embrace the technique.  That is a good thing though.  Those that embrace it will succeed.  Our society allows many freedoms - this is one of them. 

It requires being a student, that is, being very serious about learning and getting good grades.  All marginal students will not be successful and all serious students will get good grades and succeed.

It requires daily study (which does not take very long).  And it requires some planning, some organization, and a commitment.  It simplifies the way we study and learn.

Much to my surprise and disappointment, courses on how to study or how to learn are not taught in high school.  I believe students could benefit from such a course in high school or even earlier.

Theories on Learning to Learn are Plentiful!

All are helpful, but they don't get to the heart of the matter.  They emphasize the wrong things.  Our objective when learning is to store information in our long-term memory for a period of time.  Ideally until long after the test date. 

The methods of doing this are incorporated in the learning technique described below.  Every student eventually discovers that having an effective study process is much more important than how much time is spent studying.  This becomes extremely important for any student with limited time for studying.

Researchers recognize that knowing yourself is the first step in modifying your approach to studying.  For example, it is very important to know if you are a visual or auditory learner.  That is, do you learn better from visual cues or by listening.  When that has been determined, modify your study or learning methods to reflect that. 

Determining your preferred learning style is important as it is the way that information is best absorbed into your brain.  As you progress, in your education, this may become more important as courses get tougher, workloads increase, and fellow students get smarter (those less smart students dropout).  Yet, you still desire to get A's in every course.

You will need to determine, first, What Motivates You?  Is it getting good grades, pleasing your parents or spouse or teachers?  I can assure you that if you use the study technique below, you will get good grades and impress everyone and spend a lot less time studying. 

Yes, These Things Are Important!

Most of these things are part of the my study technique, but are not mentioned as part of the technique, because they are universally accepted as smart things to do when taking any course.  For example, not skipping class and arriving early for class is important.  Completing assignments on time and preparing for every class is also important.  Those things are rather obvious if you are a serious student. 

Being a high school or college student, however, can be stressful - even more stressful if you're at the bottom of your class.  Others may be smarter than you, but following certain steps will allow you to get the same grade or even a better grade. 

Yes, you will need to set a schedule, take breaks from studying, reward yourself, select a quiet location for studying, and eliminate distractions(Turn off your cell phone.)  You will quickly learn what the optimum time of day to study works best for you. 

I used the study technique described below, for example, while in my residency for a very difficult course - organic chemistry.  I was able to get a good night's sleep the night before the exam while others were "cramming".  It is almost embarrassing to reveal how I and the other 30 students scored, but I will, to emphasize how well this technique worked.  I scored an 84 on the final exam and the nearest score to mine was a 29.  And many of these doctors were much brighter than me. 

Here It Is!  How To Study Effectively!

I was working, had a family and needed to customize my study methods.  Because of my very busy schedule, I needed to find a learning technique that would suit my needs and save study time.  I was in a desperate situation.  I really wish I would have come up with it earlier in my education because it saved so much time and was very effective.

This method of learning requires some discipline and organization skills.  Here is the learning technique that I came up with (it worked really well for me):

1.  Preview what is scheduled to be covered in class.  The best professors will tell you what they will discuss in the next class.

2.  Using a spiral bound notebook, taking notes in class on the left page only.  Write down only the main points that you hear and can understand during the presentation.

3.  The day of each class, I always recopied my notes on the right page of the spiral notebook, filling in any points that I remembered from the class and from the textbook.  (Recopying notes did not take very much time.) 

Leave a large margin on the left side of the page.  The wide margin allowed room for cues that would help me to remember the subject matter better.  Recopying the notes also allowed me to clarify details and fill in any significant points - as the subjects that I was taking were science classes and often difficult courses. 

For some people, including me, copying the class notes solidified the information (sometimes) in my long-term memory.

4.  When it was time to study for an exam, I had a tremendous advantage.  I had legible notes.  I had learning cues (in the margin) and I had one other very important advantage. 

Very few people don't become bored when studying.  I believe the reason for the boredom is reviewing notes, which consists of material that they have already learned. 

5.  I placed a colored dot next to the material that I did not know.  The next time I went through my notes, I would do the same thing with a different colored dot (only the material that I did not know would receive a dot). 

6.  As exam time got closer, I would only need to review the material with the most recent colored dot.  The result was less material to review - and it was only the material that I did not know.

Often, other students would prefer to review for a test with me - because of this preparation and organization.

One other story about this study technique may interest you.  One of my part-time employees was taking a course in dental hygiene that was very difficult for her.  I explained this way of learning to her after her supervisor told her that she was about to be dismissed from the program.  Her name was Debbie.  She embraced the technique and two years later, she graduated with lots of A's.

It worked for Debbie.  It might work for you, too, if you are disciplined enough.


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I strongly recommend reviewing What is Memory? and What is Memory - Part 2.


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