Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Most Common Studying Mistakes

The Common Mistake #1: Memorizing Subjects That Needs to be Understood
I lose my temper when I see guides about memorizing math or physics in Web. Of course, you need to be able to memorize all that formulas and facts for exams. But only memorizing destroys your success in many disciplines.

The problem with memorizing math or some other subject is that to attain success in complicated subjects it is really necessary to understand the connections between the facts and the deeper points they provide. The double advantage of this approach is when you learn many disciplines from this perspective; the necessity to remember goes away. Formulas can be automatically remembered because they’re logically connected with the mental framework you’ve created.

The Common Mistake #2: 
Going to lecture cannot be considered as practice. 
Underlining a course book cannot be considered as practice. Reviewing notes cannot be considered as practice. I cannot say that these activities are not useful, but your studying can suffer when you spend the most of your study time on reading instead of practicing enough.

By practical learning I mean trying to answer a question without seeing the answer first. It means not just learning but performing a skill. You need to analyze whether your attempt was right or not.
It is almost impossible to practice enough. For hard subjects like math or physics, I found that 50% spending of my time on practical learning is ideal. For easier subjects, the number may be less.
You can practice your subjects by self-testing even if you have not much material. And when you are reading a textbook you need to remember for the exam, note questions instead of phrases from your book.

Afterwards, you can use these questions to ask yourself about a subject matter. If you can remember the answer, it is great. If you don’t, go back to material and read it again. The act of reviewing a mistake impresses studying material more deeply into your memory.

The Common Mistake #3: Being a Short-Term Perfectionist
Nobody wants to be exposed. It is like a nightmare when people around you can realize that you are the only one who doesn’t understand the formula, or not able to solve the problem, or speaking with an accent.  
The solution many people undertake is to wait till they will be “ready”. Wait until you can fully practice something before trying to solve it or get a comment on it. With such position you’ll never be ready to start. Fail at the beginning and fail often is a better watchword. Making mistakes makes you learn why you are making these mistakes. Too many misunderstandings are like a hidden torpedo – hidden until you go over them accurately. Only if you are walking that way completely, you can explore them all. Your self-esteem may be hurt, but the advantages exceed the price you pay. 

Finally, try sleeping enough, eat healthy food and working out as college stress directly effect on your studying performance.