Study Tips and Methods to try
Study and conduct self-tests
At this stage your aim is not to just keep rereading the material. This may be necessary for some areas where you need a better understanding of the material. At this stage focus on conducting self-tests. This will identify areas you already know and the areas you still need to work on. See Practice Questions here
Divide the material into easy to memorize chunks
If your knowledge of the material is limited, divide the material into manageable chunks.
If you already have some knowledge of the material, divide into larger chunks.
Do attempt, to memorize large chunks of information, associate well understood chunks to other chunks.
Use verbal questions and answers for your self-tests
Purpose: This way you are conscious of the specific information. The mind associates well with goals, and a question forms a goal, which can help stimulate the mind.
When not to use words: If the material is visually related, your answers should be visual, represented in drawings. If you are doing a self-test on a skill, formulate a problem and use acquired skills to solve.
Question the material by asking yourself “why or how does this make any sense?” then find answers to the questions to improve memory.
You may have used these form of questioning during your first reading when you tried to understand the material. Using it now is to help you form more strong associations to build your memory. The question is not a form of self-test. A self-test question should be more specific and answers should provide more information than answering why something sounds reasonable to you.
Rearrange two more related bits or chinks of information, study them and form self-test questions
Arrange chunks of information as you expect they would appear in a real test, or applicable real-life situations.
Purpose: Your memory of target information is quite sensitive to the learning sequence. For example, if you studied Point 1 and used Point 1 to trigger Point 2, but face a test question that request you recall Point 1, your memory which is based on your learning sequence will not begin by considering Point 2 as a trigger for Point 1.
Clustering – The Science Back Method
Start with easy and simple – build up to complex – learn more about clustering
Conduct self-tests using look away techniques
This involves closing the book or covering the page, asking a question, giving an answer, then checking the material to confirm the answer.
The time period between checking the material and looking away should be adjusted to suit your level of learning.
If the material is new, read a suitable part of the material, then look away and answer the question immediately.
The more acquainted you get with the material the longer the time of delay between checking the material and asking yourself the question.
In time, you should advance to the level where you can delay for a day after reading the material before answering the self-test questions.
Research suggest that you can be assumed to have learned something, if you can read a material, wait 30 seconds, think of something different, and correctly answer questions based on the material. However, waiting for a day before answering the questions is a better way to test.
This involves studying an item, then studying another, before studying both items until you completely understand them. Now study the third item, and then study all three items until you understand them all. Continue to add an item, studying it alone first, then studying it in addition to the rest. Keep going up to fifteen or more items, after which you can begin a new set.
Study arbitrary, not very important material using cumulative-addition to a set and look away study techniques.
Study the material’s visual and verbal representations of ideas by utilizing study methods that link them together.
Where an analogy is used to interpret ideas, you should use it and relate it to new the information.
Study important material using study techniques that allows you to associate what you are learning with what is already known. Also make use of “make sense” self-questions.
Use mnemonic study methods to study sets and lists.
When setting self-test questions, make use of the fundamental units, scientific reasoning and theories.
Page 6. Studying problem-solving and other procedures.
When you want to study a procedure, begin your study with both the solved-examples and the directions.
Purpose: This helps to link a specific example to general directions to enable you better discern how to handle real test or assignment questions. Research supports the fact that the study of solved work problems is a powerful learning aid.
When working with solved work problems, close the last step to test your memory.
This involves studying the examples just up to the last step. Cover up the last step and see if you can solve the last step. After you master that, study just up to the last two steps and try recall how to solve the last two steps on your own. Continue until you master the whole solution. This methods helps to sharpen your skill in handling similar problems you would meet.
Solve some assignment problems related to the topic you just studied
After studying a topic and working with some worked out problems, you should also study and try to solve problems related to the topic.
Purpose: This helps impress the material studied in your mind as you put it into practice while its still fresh in memory.
If you successfully solve a problem, do not hurry to the next. Take time to review the steps.
Purpose: This helps to consolidate the problem solving steps in your mind. It also helps you form an association in your memory for the steps that you used.
If you successfully solve a problem, take time to praise your efforts
Purpose: This selves as a self-reward for getting the right solution and also serves as a positive reinforcement. The nice feeling of accomplishment reinforces the techniques used and create positive associations.
Associate assignment problems
Try to link assignment problems to descriptions, explanations and scientific concepts.
Purpose: Helps link general knowledge gained from the material with procedural skills.
· Practice solving problems repeatedly to strengthen procedural skills.
Practice solving new problems in each category. Working on new problems is brings lots of benefits as it broadens your ability to apply learned procedures to different problems. Resolving past solved problems is also good as long as you can resist the temptation of skipping some steps.
Purpose: Helps to reaffirm the new study skill. Skills are best learned and mastered by repetition and several practices. Ordinary information may be learned after reading or studying the material once, buts skills need to be practiced over time.
Page 7. Remembering science knowledge
This section deals with how to deal with situations that require you to remember a chunk of information in order to answer a question
Switch to retrieval mode.
The “retrieval mode” is a mind condition where you focus your mind to recall specific information using some techniques.
Purpose: Helps you stay focused on not give up easily if the information to be recalled is not remembered quickly.
You need to be patient. So condition yourself to be patient. If you are patient, you won’t give up easily, instead you would look for alternative methods to recall the information if the first doesn’t work.
Relax your mind and switch off all strong emotions. Condition yourself to relax. Stress-related emotions would overcrowd the working memory of your mind and make it harder for you to recollect information.
Be focused on your goal and block off all external thoughts. Concentrate inwards.
Stimulate your mind
Trigger your association process
This you can do by thinking of anything related to the target information. Could be a feeling, an information or even images. If you are getting a blank space or a hole in your mind where the target information may be, do not focus your attention there. Focus on things that can trigger the memory. Think of things associated with the information you see. If you do this right, you suddenly see the target information appear in your mind.
Ask yourself; what other facts did you study along with the target?
Can you imagine the page where you read the target information?
Can you remember the particular lecture where the instructor taught the information or any related ideas?
Can you imagine any images or mental associations you formed when studying about the information?
Would it be possible to trigger a memory using lists, stories or feelings?
Can you remember any personal experiences, lab experiment or demonstration on the subject? This can trigger your episodic memory, which is very strong.
Can you remember the room, where you sat or any other related stray information?
Can you remember ever making use of the information to solve a problem or for scientific reasoning?
Asking and finding answers to these questions would stimulate your association process. It may not produce instant results, but thinking about things associated with the information or learning the information would dig up any buried memory.
Take note of images and thoughts because they can trigger a memory
What thoughts or images crossed your mind when you first read the question? Take note of such images and thoughts as they contain elements associated with the target that can serve as memory triggers. Even when thoughts and images are not the exact answer being sought, thinking about them can be useful.
Give it time for your associations to bring desired results
Where possible, give your mind about 30 to 60 seconds to dwell on associations and retrieve the desired information. If you are dealing with a timed test, you can blink your eyes as you think of triggers and also shake your head. Another option is to skip the question, attend to other questions and return to the question. Most times, the target information would surface.
Having learned the importance of using associations to trigger memories, it is important to form associations whenever you study. Take notice of several things you can associate with the material or information so that you make use of them when you need to retrieve the information.
Page 8. Getting the most out of science demonstrations and lectures
Understand that your goal is to get as much as possible from your science lectures
When you get the most from your class lectures, you save the amount of time needed to study. You would also find it easier to prepare for tests and handle assignments. Never underestimate the importance of paying attention in class to get the most from lectures.
Follow the steps earlier prescribed to be carried out when performing the first reading of your textbook.
Begin with a preview of the lecture from the written material where possible. This warms your mind and makes it open to learning. Think over passages, units and headings. Mark out the things you do not understand. As you listen to your instructor, make mental images of the information. Associate and link images and words from the lecture.
Pay rapt attention to get the meaning of the words.
Purpose: This helps to form associations with what you hear, stimulate your mind to process the information and build memory and understanding.
Pay attention to the instructor’s body language, gestures, volume and voice tone. This is important because many speakers and instructors use body language and gestures to communicate speed, importance and size of phenomena. These gestures can also be useful in forming associations.
Pay rapt attention to experiences and demonstrations given by the lecturer
Purpose: To help create memories and understanding based on personal experiences, which are more powerful than just hearing the words. People understand better when they feel or experience so be careful to take note of experiences and demonstrations you have in the class. When you are trying to retrieve information, you can make use of experiences and demonstrations to trigger the right memory.
· Program you textbook reading to suit your lecture
It is best to read through your textbook just before the same material read is to be discussed in class, or just after discussing it in class. Do not allow long delays between the time of reading the material and discussing it in class. A couple of hours to a whole day is appropriate as it keeps your memory fresh and makes it easy to form associations between what you read and your class lectures. This promotes understanding and builds strong memories.
Purpose: To help avoid forgetting important points that is very likely to occur when you do not keep notes. Taking notes is beneficial because writing down helps build memories and your notes can be used to reconstruct the class lecture several days after.
Make notes on things that would naturally be hard to recall like formulas, arbitrary facts, names, dates, reasoning steps and procedural details.
Take down notes on anything that would help you retrieve information or reconstruct the class in your mind such as charts, stories, demonstrations, analogies, examples and others..
Be sure to go over your notes before the memory of the class lecture fades, and so as to rehearse and imprint the memory on your mind.