Improving Study Skills!

Pad and Mark December 01, 2016

The ability to read, memorise, reason, analyse, research, retain class portions and the contents of text books are considered study skills. Developing these skills are contingent upon the individual’s ability to grasp concepts, their interest areas, their environment of study and self discipline. The following techniques might be useful to hone study skills:

1. Visualisation

The processes of visualisation are known to improve creativity, imagination and cognitive skills. It involves imagery including pictures, diagrams and matching real world objects with concepts that have been taught.

2. Group Study

Group study has been known to boost communication skills, social interaction skills, team work and motivation. Collaborating and coordinating with other individuals can incline one to work harder and achieve results. As part of a study group, members can divide study material for individuals to prepare and later present through flash cards or oral summaries.

3. Writing what you read

After reading certain materials, it can help to remember the fresh knowledge by writing down synopses or short notes. This also helps to improve one’s writing skills, and therefore builds vocabulary and language.

4. Learning by doing

Learning by doing involves applying theoretically understood knowledge and using it in a practical format. Of course, it is acknowledged that not every concept that is taught can be practically executed. While mindful of this, it remains important to provide as much room as possible for the tangible application of key concepts in facilities such as laboratories. Although such experimentation is often suited to studies in the natural sciences, similar scope does exist for socially relevant studies through group experiments and interactions that have the potential to practically demonstrate theories from the social sciences (sociology, psychology, political science, etc).

5. Flash cards

Flash cards care the most common and easy modes of cataloging and keeping track of topics that have been studied. Typically, flash cards are concise bullet points or short notes that suffice for quick referencing. Using flash cards can improve memory by making the individual comfortable with hints and key words from which to improvise the bulk of the content.

6. Mind maps

Like flow charts or diagrams, ‘mind maps’ are a useful technique that is used to link related topics. This method is also useful for brainstorming and creating new ideas for essay writing, comprehension and critical thinking. This method also serves to highlight various linkages and perspectives on a particular set of topics.

7. Group discussion and quizzes

Group discussions and quizzes are a great way for quick revisions for better memory. It also helps with clearing doubts and makes it more interesting. Puzzles and rapid fire rounds, for instance, boost investigative learning and builds communication skills, social skills and team work.

8. Relaxation methods

During periods that require intensive study time, it is important to keep fresh and alert by taking regular breaks or rests to remain relaxed. Getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night is recommended to rejuvenate the body and mind. Additionally, being physically active by playing sports or meditating is helpful to keep a healthy balance between mind and body. Spending quality time with family and friends is also equally important for emotional and social well being, so that the pressures and stresses of study/work life are mitigated.

In short, study skills are both developed exogenously and endogenously, depending on a variety of factors unique to individual ability, their surroundings and what they are provided with. These few general techniques can help students to hone their existing skills and improve their overall performance.

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