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Author Topic:   help me study better

Posts: 390
From: somewhere over the rainbow
Registered: Jan 2000

posted March 01, 2001 17:07     Click Here to See the Profile for pawn   Click Here to Email pawn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey everybody, I was wondering if any of you out there could help me with a little problem I have.

This September I am going back to school, taking either computer science, or engineering. Anyway, I seem to have a problem with tests. I can study all I want, but when I get in to the test everything I need to know is gone. Can anyone tell me a good way to overcome this? Also can anyone suggest ways to maximize what I learn while I study, eg calming music, types of study areas, ect.

One of the things that gets to me, is that when I study the smallest thing will distract me.

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Migrant Programmer
Alpha Geek

Posts: 255
From: Waterloo, Canada
Registered: Jan 2000

posted March 02, 2001 00:10     Click Here to See the Profile for Migrant Programmer   Click Here to Email Migrant Programmer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Each day, take 15-30 minutes for each class in the evening and study the stuff you learned that day. Read ahead a little (if possible) for the next day as well. This will help you to remember the things you learned, and will make 'test studying' much less of a relearning experience.

I don't do it myself, because I'm a lazy bastard. But I have done it before, and it does work. Give it a try.

Music and study areas, etc are really a personal thing.. try different ways and see what works best for you. Figure out what ways you learn best and focus on those (listening, writing, reading, doing, teaching, etc).

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Alien Investor
Alpha Geek

Posts: 349
From: New York City
Registered: Jan 2000

posted March 02, 2001 00:24     Click Here to See the Profile for Alien Investor   Click Here to Email Alien Investor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's like physical exercise: anything that actually does you good takes effort.

If you get distracted, I'd recommend against music.

Here's an idea: pick a place on campus where you don't normally go, such as the departmental library for a department you're not interested in. Then go there, and while you are there, do *nothing but* study. Don't ever do any slacking there. That trains your brain: "I'm in the physics library -> it must be studying time".

I found that it helped to have some concrete reward after a defined milestone (all problems for one class done -> play some nethack).

I would rather do five hours of homework for one class than one hour each for three classes. Some people are the reverse. Figure out which type you are and schedule yourself accordingly.

Get some decent food regularly and don't pile up too much sleep debt. Anybody can pull an all-nighter, but when I do it, my brain rejects all new input the next day.

One destructive habit I have: looking at the due date and then figuring out "what's the latest I can start and still finish barely on time".

I second what Migrant Programmer said -- read the book the day before class. Then when the prof says something, you are tying it into some framework that you already have half-built in your head, instead of accepting the new input de novo.

For the specific problem of all your knowledge leaking out during tests -- get some practice tests. Check with your prof, your TA, the departmental library, and any academically-oriented fraternities around. Then you can go through the first round of brain leakage in private before it counts.

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Oldguy geek
Alpha Geek

Posts: 306
From: Blacksburg, Va., USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted March 02, 2001 08:35     Click Here to See the Profile for Oldguy geek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really can't relate too much because I've always been a pretty good test taker. However, one time I was worried about a particular course (calculus) I used an old textbook from my brother. It was a different author and had answers to the problem sets in the back. That gave me effectively practice tests to use. I could also read the text, and get a slightly different explanation that sometimes helped.

So, try picking up an old textbook, written by a different author than your class text. A lot of classes and subjects are pretty standardized, so a 10 year old book will have valid information and problem sets.

And, TAKE PRACTICE TESTS! Doing something repeatedly makes it easier, and when you get to the real thing it's not so scary.

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Posts: 361
From: calgary, alberta, canada
Registered: Feb 2000

posted March 02, 2001 12:04     Click Here to See the Profile for octothorp   Click Here to Email octothorp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Corelli's Christmas Concerto!!! Soviet scientists believed that this piece of music somehow maximized human brain-waves, and so it was played in many soviet factories and labratories to help maximize concentration and productivity. I don't know if this has any real scientific grounds, but I find it works well for me. Also, if you're doing memorization work, say things outloud. If you have the time, once you think you have the content down pretty well, go out and get some more advanced problems--it'll force you to really use the initial framework you've developed.


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Super Geek

Posts: 134
From: new york, new york usa
Registered: Jan 2001

posted March 02, 2001 15:28     Click Here to See the Profile for alexandria   Click Here to Email alexandria     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
try studying in blocks of one to two hours, with short scheduled intervals of procrastination to allow your mind to wander. make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat right, and exercise, and limit any pre-test cramming to seven items (which is roughly the limit of most people's short-term memory capacity.) any more than that, and you run the risk of effectively crowding out other information that you need to know.

oh, and most of all: try to relax. the 'mind blank' phenomenon is usually due more to nerves/stage fright than anything else.

... not just a city in egypt.

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Posts: 390
From: somewhere over the rainbow
Registered: Jan 2000

posted March 07, 2001 14:58     Click Here to See the Profile for pawn   Click Here to Email pawn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the tips people. I am gonna try them out over the six months before school starts so I can have a good grip on my study habits.

Thanks for the song name #, I also read somewhere that baroque music aided in concentration somewhat. So i'm gonna spend a couple of hours on Napster searching some out, and burn me a couple of cds. /mumbles something about finding out what the hell baroque music is/

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Posts: 726
From: Midwest, US
Registered: Sep 2000

posted March 07, 2001 17:30     Click Here to See the Profile for Eponine   Click Here to Email Eponine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Baroque? That's Bach, and Handel, and.. oh, who else? A bunch of guys.. it had the most beautiful harmonies, and is my favorite of the classical variety. Lots of strings and woodwinds. It just makes me feel so good... glad to know it's good for the mind too.

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posted March 07, 2001 17:32           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by octothorp:
Corelli's Christmas Concerto!!!

Any particular rendition of it that you'd recommend? (I'm just starting to listen to classical music; gave the whole thing up after being forced to learn the piano when I was much younger )

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