- Organise information from the general to the specific.
- Make the information meaningful.
- Create associations with prior knowledge about the topic.
- Be an active learner by using as many modalities as you can while studying. (read, write, draw, recite)
- Create visualisations. Using pictures allows more of the brain to become involved in the learning process.
- Study in locations free from distraction.
- Revisit new information regularly by undertaking regular review sessions.
- Distribute learning over several study periods, avoid cramming in one long study session.
- Think up mnemonics to help with formulas etc.
- Develop a positive attitude about the subject.
Take your own notes. Do not simply copy down other peoples notes. Make sure you understand your notes and that they properly cover the information. If in doubt, get clarification. Try to summarise your notes, extracting the key features and forming a brief review (possibly of bullet points).
Convert notes to concept diagrams. Make sure that all of the detail in the notes is contained in the concept diagram and that the concept diagram can easily be changed back to notes if required, without loss of information.
Use a tape recorder to tape lectures. Listen several more times to the tape and then try to extract the main points as notes or as a concept diagram.
Review each lecture on the same day. Review the material again within two days. Continue to review the material after increasingly longer intervals until you are happy that you understand it. If you don’t understand the material, review more frequently.
Motivation is a key factor in learning.
- Do you want to learn the material?
- Are you interested in the subject?
- Can you concentrate and avoid distraction?
You need to answer ‘yes’ to each of these questions if you are to be truly successful.
Managing your time:
- Plan your study time in advance. That is, in advance of taking a programme of study or attending a course.
- Allocate regular and where possible, fixed periods to review your work. Make sure that you know what you are going to achieve in each study period. For example, you may set yourself the task of summarising a set of notes or creating a concept diagram from some other information source.
- Plan to study when you know that you will feel best. Avoid times when you are tired or when you have just got up in the morning.
- Use a calendar. Start by entering important dates such as holidays, examinations, assessments etc. Then enter your fixed study periods and plan well in advance when you will begin revision for examinations.
- Start revision early and use many short study periods rather than a few long ones. For longer study periods, take frequent tea breaks.
- Carry brief notes and summaries with you so that you can look at them when you have a spare moment.
- Review the material
- Summarise long text.
- Question each point made (be critical).
- Consolidate study periods by reviewing what you have achieved before you finish the session.
- Change subjects or task every hour.
- Obtain and answer typical question (from past papers).
- Devise aids for difficult material. (Think up mnemonics for numbers, dates etc.)
- Start revision in plenty of time.
- Make sure you have enough rest and are otherwise alert and attentive for the test.
- Above all, be an active learner, don’t just read notes.
The Open University provides a good reference section