Studying is boring.
Rows upon rows of academic information crammed within pages after pages of text. Armed with a single-coloured highlighter, you slowly crawl your way through the book in hopes of retaining all of them in your cranium, as a singular word echoes in your head.
As former students who have gone through the rigours of the Singaporean education system, we the teachers of Elevate, understand.
Studying IS boring, but learning should not be. Students are commonly told to “study hard!” with little to no definition nor example of what the term “hard” entails. This common expression has led most students to believe that the equation for academic success must be:
(Books + Revisions + Tests) x Time = A+++
And so most students dive in headlong to their books with a callous disregard of breaks or time so they can squeeze every last drop of information. This leads to burnout, loss of enthusiasm and a general disdain for studying.
Learn, not study.
MIT, the number one university in the world, sends out a comprehensive guide to studying for new students enrolled in their courses. Three key points stand out:
- You can’t study all the time. Studying in blocks of an hour with a ten-minute break every 50 minutes is most effective.
- Plan regular breaks. Our minds need an occasional rest in order to stay alert and productive, and you can look forward to a reward as you study.
- The word “study” is too generic. Be more creative and flexible with how you approach your education.
Students need to understand the differences in nomenclature between studying and learning. Studying is the raw process by which we all receive new information whereas learning is the one in which we understand what this new information means. By understanding and being able to see real-world applications of what they have learnt, this potentially generates interest and significance for the student. We expand upon this with effective learning methods.
Effective Learning Methods
The Pomodoro technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals. Here’s how it works:
- Decide on a task.
- Set a timer to 25 or 50 minutes.
- Work on the task till the timer is up!
- Take a 5 to 10 minutes break.
Known as the Teacher’s Technique, the Feynman Technique places the student as the teacher to identify gaps in their own understanding of a topic. How it works:
- Pick a topic
- Write one or two paragraphs about the topic in simple terms
- Explain the topic to someone else and have them question you
- Identify gaps in your understanding
- repeat step 3 & 4 till you are a master!
The Exposures Technique emphasises on top-of-mind presence, through a constant review of material:
- Review materials before lessons
- Highlight key points during lesson
- Review materials after class
- Practice and constantly review material throughout the period till exam day
- Review materials one last time before your exams!
Ultimately, how one studies and retains information is still strongly based on the individual. This article hopes to push students to be more creative with their studying/learning process so that they could achieve better grades and Elevate their education.