Basic studying method (part 2)

  1. Summary


Use the highlighted material and rewrite each topic using your own words. You mustn’t perform this step if you haven’t read before, understood and highlighted the text’s main ideas.


As you rewrite using your own words, you’ll be obtaining concrete and useful understanding. Avoid at all cost memorizing by heart, unfortunately, most students do this.


Complement this new summary along with the notes you took in class.


Your summaries should be the only material you use for revision as you prepare for examination. If you learn how to do them accurately, you’ll save lots of time and effort.


  1. Revision


Revise your summaries and – if you are making use of the reinforced basic method – also revise the possible exam questions.


If you’ve got time, to do it out-loud; Perhaps, reading will be much slower, but it‘ll help memorize as two senses will be involved (sight and hearing).


Whenever you read out-loud, do it while walking. The reason for this is that movement helps brain function; Furthermore, moving will relax the back and neck muscles, which tend to stress the most during studying. Pronounce each word loud enough to hear yourself as if you were reading the news on television. It is recommended to hold a book with one hand and gesture with the other, as if performing an act of mimicry as you are reading. Without a doubt, this will help comprehend and memorize the focal ideas.


Once you’ve done all of the above, try to explain in your own words what you just read, out loud and without seeing notes. If you are unable to do this or remember what you just studied, then it is likely you won’t remember in a few weeks time on the day of the exam. This self-evaluation may be performed as a group, since the best way to exchange understanding is by explaining it to others.


Revision is a crucial part of this method. If we don’t follow and exercise our mind, time and time again, we risk forgetting everything due to the passage of time.


Then, I would suggest you set up a revision in the following manner: the first within the first 12 hours of class, the second revision on a weekly basis, the third revision on a monthly basis and the last revision right before the test.


Make sure to apply this method when taking different courses. I’m sure you will achieve great results before you know it.

Basic studying method

A method is way to do something with organization, something like a procedure or a plan. In this case, we are explaining a study plan for each course you are taking.


Below, I’ll suggest a basic method, which makes use of different techniques such as rapid reading, highlighting, summarizing and revising. I recommend you try this method for a whole semester.


In order to implement this method, you must first know and practice the 5 guidelines we mentioned earlier. The moment you sit down and begin studying, you’ll have already taken notes in class and scheduled a time and place for such activity. Have all that you need (notebooks, books, dictionary…) and ask not to be disturbed during study time.

The method I’m suggesting consists of 4 simple steps, you’ll need to put into practice as you study each of the courses, for the period you have scheduled on your activities program :


  1. Do a first quick reading of the overall content.
  2. Do a second reading, highlighting the main ideas.
  3. Write a summary.


  1. Rapid reading


The goal of this first step is that you get an overall view of the contents in a book or chapter that must be studied.


Quickly analyze the title, cover, back-cover, index, introduction, drawings, tables and pictures.


After this, do a rapid reading of the whole chapter, paying especial attention to the beginning and end of each theme (most authors exposed their main ideas at the start).


While reading, follow the line of writing with a finger.  This technique allows you to read with the pace you feel comfortable with. Furthermore, you’ll discover that it is easier to focus when the body is also involved.


Take it as a “warm-up” session. It is crucial that you understand the overall theme so that you may comprehend the overall text.


  1. Highlight


Search for the main ideas.


After the first reading, take a break and retract to the start of the chapter or topic. Now, read each paragraph attentively.


At this phase, the goal is to comprehend what the author wants to say, separating the relevant from the irrelevant information.

If a learning student doesn’t know or isn’t able to distinguish from what’s essential and what’s not, he/she will hardly comprehend the meaning of a text; In such cases, this information is stored or learned by heart so as to repeat the same words.


You must highlight the main idea of each chapter or paragraph, including all you find interesting. You can use highlighters (these come in different striking colors) or a color pencil/pen (Industrial Psychology states that the color red makes a strong impression on the retina).


Make use of diverse symbols and search in the dictionary to find the meaning of the words you don’t know of.


Use the reading as a way to find possible exam questions, highlight and mark each (for example, write a small “e” next to each). It is easy to come up with questions if you convert the titles and under-titles with words such as: What…? Who…? Where…? When…? Why…? How…? This is exactly how your teachers prepare an exam.


Highlighting is fundamental in any process of study and its purposeful usage requires some training. As some students begin to highlight, two mistakes arise: either they highlight too little or too much. It is suggested to practice a lot in order to overcome these mistakes.

The 5 most serious mistakes while studying

Ignoring the efficiency of studying techniques causes us to make serious mistakes, leading to awful results such as bad grades. Below are the five most serious mistakes:


  1. Trying to learn everything the day before the exam. Students that generally don’t study at all until they come close to the day of the exam commonly make this mistake. The issue with this is that they must cover all the material that was taught over a period months in class.
  2. Trying to memorize the contents of books, without understanding. It is essential to understand what the author is trying to say and being able to explain it in your own words.
  3. Studying while lying down. Either on a bed, hammock, or sofa, in a matter of 15 min you’ll be fast asleep.
  4. Missing or not being attentive in class. Did you know that by paying attention and taking notes during class increases retentive capacity by 75%? This is one of the first steps I am suggesting in my studying method.
  5. Studying while listening to loud music. This is a common practice in young people, studying while listening to their favorite band. However, experts suggest it’s best to study in silence.


Did you recognize one or more of the mentioned errors in your studying? We have all made these mistakes at some point in our lives. But it’s time to correct what we are doing wrong.

Studying habits

What are habits?


A habit might be any type of act gained through experience and carried out systematically automatically. It becomes a practice or custom performed frequently. Ancient philosophers once said that habits are “second nature”; meaning that the nature of man could have either be enriched or impoverished, perfected or dumbed down, through habit.


There are good and bad habits. For example, bad habits we could think of are: smoking, biting fingernails, compulsively talk (without hearing others), leaving things for later or always blaming others. Take a moment and notice that people with these habits tend to do them all the time. For instance, good habits are: punctuality, responsibility, organization and cleaning.


Good habits are fundamental in succeeding in all part of your life. For now, you may use these as a student, but in the future, these will serve you as a worker, professional, entrepreneur or head of a family. If you wish to succeed, you may achieve it by having good habits that will guide you towards that goal.


Good studying habits.


We could come up with an endless list of all the studying habits recommended by experts on this topic, but let’s focus on 5 guidelines that will help your new life as a student and show the difference between the students you were and the one you have become.


I would like to remind you that not only must you to know them, but you’ll be putting them into practice every day so you may carry them out. Habits are gained through the perpetual repetition of acts.


  1. Organize your time, and make up a plan for daily activities.
  2. Pay attention to the teacher during class and take notes of what’s important (attention, this doesn’t mean writing down everything she/he says).
  3. Study everyday, preferably at the same time and place.
  4. Use a study technique (here, you’ll encounter several).
  5. Always have a positive attitude in life, even when problems occur (thanks to this, you’ll defeat the bad habits of fear, lack of motivation and defeat).

The teachers loose the control of the class when using collaborative learning

Even though one needs to give up part of the control in order to give space to cooperative tasks, the success of collaborative learning depends on the organizational ability of the teacher. In cooperative learning, students are guided through structured processes with clear objectives. For the students to succeed, it is necessary to cooperate. The teachers are not less competent when teaching activities of collaborative learning, is just that their role changes, letting them create the ideal environment in which the students can learn through a process of discovery. To facilitate the performance of the students and their abilities becomes more important that proving the students how much control and knowledge they have on the topic.

Collaborative learning means that the students should learn by themselves with little participation of the teacher

Collaborative Learning means that the students help each other to learn while the teacher participates as a facilitator or guide. The role of the teacher is as important as always.

Laura M. Ventimiglia, psychology professor at the North Shore Community College and at Salem State College, uses the technique of taking notes during the group discussion sessions, which ensures that the students learn from her as much as from others. The students are asked to take notes while the others present the information, but leaving enough space in blank to take additional notes. The teacher also take notes and writes them on the board. The blank spaces left by the students on their initial notes, are then filled with this information.

There is not enough time in class to use collaborative learning activities

All the team work activities carried out effectively in class do not require much time.

Richard Felder, chemical engineering professor at the State University of North Carolina, suggests that some of the questions raised during the explanation in class should be assigned to small groups and then they should be given 30 seconds to get the answers (Felder and Brent, 1994). For example, instead of presenting all the material of the class in an explanation, the teachers can give the students some handouts with explanations and diagrams (Felder and Brent, 1994) leaving some blank spaces to fill them out during the class or afterwards. This way, the teachers can use the time that they used to use to write on the board, in other learning activities.

When the tasks are done in a group, some students don’t contribute and they get the credit for the work they didn’t do

Collaborative learning includes ways of assuring the individual responsibility. (Felder and Brend, 1994). Students that don’t participate, usually fail their individual exams, short tests or homework. Another technique to assure the participation of all members is to ask a student, randomly, to expose the solution to the team, and afterwards give the whole group the same grade, based on that person’s answer. This technique is more effective when the teacher makes the effort of not asking this to the top students. These students usually take the responsibility of making sure that the other members of the group understand the solutions.

Another way is to make the students evaluate the other group members anonymously and list the names of those who actually contributed to the activity.

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