Hitting the Books, the Right Way

Written by Naveed Haque

It seems like every day we find a new way to study thinking that it will be the breakthrough method for the upcoming midterm. However, these methods sometimes cut us short.

Too many people look at studying as a necessary task, not as an enjoyment or opportunity to learn. That’s fine, but researchers have found that how you approach something matters almost as much as what you do. Being in the right mindset is important in order to study smarter.

A lot of people make the mistake of studying in a place that really isn’t conducive to concentrating. A place with a lot of distractions makes for a poor study area. If you try and study in your dorm room, for instance, you may find the computer, TV, or a roommate more interesting than the reading material you’re trying to digest. However, studying in the library or at a study lounge can remove these distractions from your studies.

Freshman Jose Sandoval, a Neuroscience major, shared his method of studying.
“In the sciences, it usually works out that I can get away with just listening to what's going on in lecture, because professors usually post all their stuff online, so I don't waste time writing everything on the slides down and rather try to really go for understanding the lecture.

Then when I settle down to study the night or an hour or two before, I go through their slides, whatever homework I may have done, and ask other people questions. Usually it's just sheer repetition that solidifies information for me. “

This is where office hours work out pretty well, because different people ask the same questions, and those questions are usually about the hardest concepts. “So going to office hours,” says Dr. Laude, “really helps with the repetition of the material.”

Freshman Vietnam Mai a, a Civil Engineering major, said that one of the key ideas that helps him stay focus on his studies is being motivated to get things done productively.

“Good motivation is a major part for me to get my work done. For me, doing well means I can make my parents happy and that I will be able to get a job to help my parents financially. For others their motivation can be anything: I don’t need fail this class, I want to go out next weekend, whatever it may be. I try to make it a reward system, and a major part with this system is that you have to stay dedicated on the idea that your quality of work justifies the reward you get at the end.”

The key to being a successful student in college is simply repetition, dedication, and motivation. Your brain won’t find it important enough to remember it if it is only a one-time event. However, if you continuously feed the information, it will remember and solidify in your memory if you are able to keep yourself disciplined, motivated, and dedicated to your studies.

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