Jun 112007

I am indeed back to school, and I thought I’d write a quick update about it, and some of the stuff I’ve learned:

1. I’m doing fairly well but not as good as I would like to. However, I am grateful for my marks so far.
2. Reading is an active process, not a passive one.
3. Photoreading works best for me when I have a deadline, otherwise I have little incentive to read quickly. I must find some way of either creating an artificial deadline or something. I’m still not photoreading fully to do my readings, but I think I will start to put more trust in the process with time. I had a good experience last night where I skipped over a paragraph, but then went back to read it and it didn’t contain anything new or useful.
4. Read to understand, not to memorize. Deep semantic understanding is necessary in university, not just spouting back what you’ve previously read. And I like that, a lot. It’s more challenging and fun.
5. Pay attention in class and try to understand and memorize the stuff when it is first presented.
6. Memory techniques are very helpful for me, such as the link system and substitute words system. The Memory Book is a great book for learning those sorta things.
7. The key is routine and habit. If I do something at the same time everyday for the same duration, I’m more likely to keep doing it. I’ve been having trouble finding a consistant time and I think that has hurt my performance, however, I have now picked a time before class, between 9 and 10. I think that extra time will help me. 🙂
8. Study with frequent breaks. Even if I take a 15 minute break after 20 minutes of studying, if I feel I need it, it’s very important because I will learn best when my brain is running at an optimal level.
9. Sleep and diet are crucial. Eating good, energy filled food causes me to feel clear instead of hazy. I’m avoiding simple carbs and foods that cause me to crash. Sleeping is very importnat to studying and test performance.
10. Procrastination doesn’t work. The Now Habit is a good book for learning how to overcome it, I’ve found, and I’m not even all the way through it. One of my strategies to beat procrastination is to establish routines and habits, like I said above.
11. Relax. Learn to relax by learning deep breathing or meditation or whatever. What will happen will happen, and you will learn less if you are not relaxed, as well as perform worse. There’s two components for test performance, I think: Pre-test Preperation and Test Performance. Studying is importnat before a test and then making sure you are performing at your best is importnat during the test. Relaxation also promotes remembering better, so it’s really important.

All pretty obvious stuff, I guess, but when I’ve applied it, the effects have been tremendous. I am more relaxed, calm and doing much better. I still had to beat having high expectations for this test (causing me to procrastinate) but I think I did ok there. I will have to come up wtih a more permanent solution to my high expectation problem. 🙂

I have a test today.

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