Liza Rose

Saturday, 7 June 2014

How to study at home

..... and perhaps also, how not to!

Last night I complete Module 1 of my writing course with a reassuring pass mark. I figured that if I cant pass the introductory module, then maybe I wouldn't be cut out for this writing life. So...progress.

It has only taken me two weeks which has completely surprised me - I had to double check the date when I started! It was all down to the excellent advice of other people!

What now follows is nothing new, but it IS a confirmation that these oft repeated suggestions really do work:

1. Clear the decks
  • make sure there is nothing pressing that you have to do.
  • if there is something pressing then make a decision - what is more important?
2. Make sure there are no distractions
  • Turn off the TV - studying IS multitasking (as is driving, but thats a blog for another day!)
  • Turn off the radio, or if you have to have it, make sure it is low and music only, not the kind you sing along to!
  • Make sure the kids are well occupied, understand that mummy is "working" or are tucked up safely in bed. This of course depends on the age of your child, your available time for them, when and where you work, how long a commute you have, how many activities they have etc. But you can usually squeeze in a hour after they have gone to bed (or in the case of teenagers an hour while you wait up for them to come home....)
3. Make sure you are comfortable, and in an environment that supports study
  • Not next to a pile of washing up.
  • Not in a room that blinds you with its brightness, but definitely not in a dark room either.
4. Get your self a nice cup of tea/coffee/juice/water and an apple/banana/chocolate bar/biscuit
  • Being hungry is a distraction 
  • Going looking for food is procrastination
5. If you are stuck try one or all of the following
  • Come back to it later.
  • Move past the sticking point and something else may help you understand the earlier point
  • Re-read later when you are fresh, your mind may have had time to process the information
  • Go back to the previous parts and apply them, see if that helps make sense of the gap
  • Look up the key words on Google (check multiple citations to make sure your understanding is correct)
  • Ask a friend or colleague, a chat room (if its an online course), or study leader
6. Write down the key points, to revise over them later - note that not everything is a key point. A key point is one that leads you automatically onto a group of remembered items.

7. Apply your knowledge, practice makes perfect! Use an example that has meaning for you

  • If you are studying medicine apply it to your current partner!
  • If you are studying math, apply it to your bank account (arithmetic), share scheme (imaginary numbers) or the tiles on the wall (geometry)!
  • If you are studying writing, apply it to your own novel
  • If you are studying french language, get a favorite novel and translate it.

8. Apply yourself. Make sure you put your head down and study. It wont happen by itself!

And good luck!

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