Effective learning: looking for the best academic skills and techniques
February 20, 2014 1:04 PM Subscribe
What are some effective academic skills, techniques, and tools for effective learning and succeeding academically? — Looking for uncommon
, highly effective techniques that aren't the oft-repeated ones ("don't procrastinate!") but more like "use spaced repetition software to review the major concepts all throughout the semester". — I'll share some of my own.
posted by markbao to Education (22 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
I've just returned to college after a few years, and I've picked up some effective study techniques in my time away from college, such as using the Cornell Notetaking Method combined with spaced repetition learning and other techniques of that type.
I'm looking for the best academic skills and techniques. What was essential for you in college? Were there any techniques that you thought were crucial? What advice do you wish you could give freshman-age you?
Note-taking systems? Interacting with professors/TAs? Studying techniques/plans? Anti-procrastination systems? Routines? I'm interested in any advice around succeeding in college—especially uncommon techniques. Some examples of my own are below.
Some of my own:
• Convert class notes into Anki documents and review them throughout the semester. Don't just take lecture notes and read them before the test; convert them into question–answer format and review them to keep them fresh.
• Learn and consolidate. Learn during a lecture, consolidate the thoughts after class in the form of a summary. When finishing a unit, consolidate the overarching ideas from that unit. On Sundays, consolidate your thoughts on the week—what went well, what didn't, and things to change for the coming week—to constantly make progress.
• Plan your day, down to the half-hour. Don't just assume that you'll "get to stuff" — actually plan when you'll get to it during the day. I use my phone's calendar to set out all the stuff I want to do during the day, and I adjust as I go. This gives me awareness of where my time is going, and lets you be honest with yourself about how much work you can actually get done.
• Use the absolute best tools. OmniOutliner for notetaking. iStudiez for organization. Anki for memorization.
• Constantly identify weak points in your understanding of a subject—deliberately at first, like a weekly review—and use any opportunity possible before class to get those weak points strengthened and any questions answered. Without a routine, things get in the way and these weak points don't get addressed and then show up on the exam.
- Before diving in to a week of studying, identify the study techniques to be employed. In a large survey/introductory course, an understanding of both facts and concepts are important, so I know that I have to attack it with a general summary of the conceptual ideas and techniques in that unit (so I need to type up a document for that) plus a hard-core internalization of all the vocabulary (define the vocab on my own, compare to textbook definition, correct mistakes, and dump into Anki).
- SQ3R method, Cornell Notetaking, get ahead, plan things out early, etc.