What you need to know about Studying or… “I studied for over an hour last night, but…” I think I was abducted by aliens and my brain was wiped clean. Ms. Harrison’s Study Tips The following information is adapted from the Middle Tennessee State University “Study Skills Help Page” • http://www.mtsu.edu/~studskl/index.html Get on board!!! Studying will take you where you want to go! Interest The brain prioritizes by meaning value and relevance To have meaning, you must understand what you are learning. Interest (cont.) • In order to remember something thoroughly, – you must be interested in it and – think that it has value and relevance in your life. Intent to Remember • Your attitude has much to do with whether you remember something or not. • A key factor to remembering is having a positive attitude that you get it right the first time. • Attention is not the same as learning, but little learning takes place without attention. Your schemas are important Your understanding of new materials depends on what you already know that you can connect it to. The more you increase your basic knowledge, the easier it is to build new knowledge on this background. Selectivity You must determine what is most important and select those parts to begin the process of studying and learning. Selectivity • The mind can absorb only a certain amount of new material at a time. – Choose what's important. – Learn the important things and then build on that knowledge (build a SCHEMA!!). • Make yourself the test maker – Constantly ask yourself,"If I were giving a test on this material, what would I ask?" • Make flash cards – an excellent way to employ this principle. Meaningful Organization You can learn and remember better if you can group ideas into some sort of meaningful categories or groups. Meaningful Organization We usually remember only five to seven items at a time. Organize larger blocks of information in ways that are meaningful to you. – Organize 25 items into five groups of five and you will find it much easier to manage. Sometimes categories are obvious. Greek, Roman, Egyptian; nouns, verbs, adjectives; kingdom, phylum ,class, order; or in the case of a grocery list: meats, vegetables, beverages. Here are some tips when the categories are not obvious: – Search the information for something that is personally meaningful to you. – Alphabetize the list. – Use a mnemonic device. Take the first letter of each item and spell a word or make a sentence. For example to remember the great lakes, remember HOMES: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. – If at all possible, do not have more than seven items in any one category. Recitation Saying ideas aloud in your own words strengthens connections in your brain and gives you immediate feedback. The more feedback you get, the faster and more accurate your learning. Recitation Recitation works for several reasons: • First, when you know you are going to recite something in your own words, you pay more attention. It forces you to employ the principle of intent to remember. • Second, you get immediate feedback. You know if you are able to explain something in your own words out loud. You understand it. • Third, when you hear something, you have used an entirely different part of the brain. Some tips for recitation • Make use of flashcards for anything you need to learn. • When you finish reading a paragraph in your reading assignment, stop and recite. You will soon see that understanding what you read and explaining it out loud are very different. If you can explain something out loud, you are well on your way to learning it. • Find a partner and ask each other questions and answer out loud Visualization The brain’s quickest and probably the longest-lasting response is to images. By making a mental picture, you use an entirely different part of the brain than you did by reading or listening. Mental Visualization • Most of us remember what we see much longer (and better) than what we read or hear. • Visualize everything! Mental Visualization No matter how abstract, determine a way to visualize each new concept : •Will it convert to a chart or graph? •Can I draw it out. •Can I make a mental video of the process? (If you used a mnemonic device to learn something, you might make a mental video of the word or sentence.) •Do I know what each person I am learning about looks like? ( If you can't find out, make it up!) Senten 1 2 3 cost ce time Association Memory is increased when facts to be learned are consciously associated with something familiar to you. Memory is essentially formed by making neural connections. Begin by asking, “What is this like that I already know and understand?” Consolidation Your brain must have time for new information to establish and solidify a neuronal pathway. When you make a list or review your notes right after class, you are using the principle of consolidation. Consolidation • New information takes time to soak in. Most people agree that short term memory will only hold five to seven bits of information. We are usually bombarded with much more information than we can remember. We must, therefore, allow time for consolidation to take place. In fact, we must cause consolidation to take place. Here are a few ways to consolidate or allow information time to soak in. • Taking notes in class • Asking questions in class • Reviewing Notes • Stopping after each paragraph you read and writing a question in the margin which identifies what the paragraph is about • Visualizing • Reciting • Making flash cards • Designing practice tests Distributed Practice • A series of shorter study sessions distributed over several days is preferable to fewer but longer study sessions. Distributed Practice • We tend to remember things at the beginning of a list or study session and things at the end. By using distributed practice, we can optimize our learning. Distributed Practice • Let's suppose that you remember what you learned in the first five minutes you study and you remember what you learned in the last five minutes. Which would be more effective? You study a whole straight hour. You study four different sessions of 15 minutes each. • Compute the amount you would likely learn using each method. Distributed Practice • Distributed practice allows time for things to consolidate and for you to build your SCHEMAS! • It also uses what we know about the nature of short-term memory. [Remember? Your short-term memory can only retain between 5 & 7 bits of information.] Distributed Practice • This is an easy principle with which to experiment and for you to see the effects. Here are a few tips: – Take 10 minute breaks after each hour of study and review what you just learned before you begin again. – Have a scheduled time to study each subject. – Make use of daylight hours and time that you normally waste. – Use flash cards – Mark each paragraph of your text book (or notes) with a question or label. (This way you can read bits and pieces and put them together when you've finished.) – Study immediately before and after classes . So, put these to work! • Interest – FIND something to make the material interesting • Attitude – keep it positive • Selectivity – identify what’s important • Organization – Categorization makes it easier • Recitation – Out loud! • Visualization – Pictures are powerful • Association – Connect (schema building) • Consolidation – Make it happen • Practice - Distributed Practice Wow! There’s more to studying than looking at the text.