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How To Study Effectively - Self-development
How To Study Effectively - Self-development

Video: How To Study Effectively - Self-development

Video: How To Study Effectively - Self-development
Video: 5 BEST Ways to Study Effectively | Scientifically Proven 2023, April

I would venture to say that most adults do not study. After graduating from college, many of us breathe a sigh of relief and stop studying. The first few years of work still offer an intellectual challenge, but over time, job responsibilities become habitual, and we only apply the skills learned a long time ago. Want to learn how to study effectively?

New technologies are everything

If we are talking about successful people, then the picture is exactly the opposite - they are constantly learning. If you work in one of the most advanced and most demanded modern professions, then there is a very high probability that you still have to change it. And perhaps more than once. And before that - to constantly master huge volumes of new information, because the most advanced areas are developing very quickly: "revolutions" occur every few years, and all sorts of improvements, new technologies and new ways of doing things appear almost every month - you will not have time to blink eye, and the competition has already eaten you.

If you want to be an expert in your field, then you need to constantly keep your finger on the pulse. It is not so easy to do this, the opportunities to learn have become much less. Now every hour devoted to study must first be cut out of a busy schedule or taken away from family, friends, or dear hobbies.

That is why the skills of effective self-study are becoming more relevant for us. We didn't really need them at school, when there was a lot of time for study, and most of the knowledge that was pushed into us was never useful. At the very least, we could do without them at the institute. But in adulthood, maintaining the same low efficiency of the educational process has become an unaffordable luxury.


How do you start learning effectively and what you need to understand for this?

Almighty efficiency

Has it ever happened so: you studied a topic with interest, read a lot about it or attended lectures and, as it seemed to you then, you understood it perfectly. But now several years have passed, and your knowledge has considerably dwindled. Now you are simply not able to describe even in general terms what you once understood well.

Why it happens? The effectiveness of the learning process, like most other processes, is determined by the bottleneck. You just didn't have enough time to master all the material, because you read slowly. Or you were inattentive and missed something important in the lecture. Or they all took it, but did not take the trouble to think it over. Or maybe you just do not know how to use your memory correctly or you cannot express thoughts.

Training is a holistic process consisting of several stages

Determine which one is sagging and take the time to tighten it up. But you shouldn't get too carried away with increasing individual indicators either: if you managed to double the reading speed, but at the same time reading comprehension dropped threefold, then there is nothing much to rejoice about.

Efficiency at individual stages should be viewed exclusively in the context of overall efficiency - the ratio of the total time spent working with information to what part of it remains in the head, say, a couple of years later.

For example, if earlier it took you 6 hours to work through a book, and after a year you could remember only 10%, and now - 12 hours, and remember 60%, then the result is good, despite the fact that the time spent on reading, doubled.

Learning stages

To achieve an effective result, you need to go through several stages.

  • Step 1. Determine your goals and select suitable sources of information.
  • Step 2. Identify information that is key for your purposes.
  • Step 3. Link these pieces of information to each other and to what you already know.
  • Step 4. Keep it in long term memory.
  • Step 5. Pass this knowledge on to others.

Each step of the first four is an integral part of an effective educational process; you may never face the need to solve the fifth problem. But the ability to pass on your knowledge to others is a great indicator of how much you figured out yourself. You may feel like you understand everything perfectly, and when you start explaining to someone else, you may notice gaps in your knowledge.

Such different formats of perception

Let's say you order a service by mail. It comes neatly wrapped in bubble wrap, packed in a foam box and a standard postal bag. You throw it all away, wipe the cups, arrange them in a circle on a matching-colored tablecloth around your favorite vase of flowers so that it all looks most advantageous in the photo on Instagram. You will store it in some other way, for example, in two rows on a glass shelf in a sideboard. When the time comes to receive guests, you place it on the table in a suitable way.

The story is exactly the same with information - a certain type of organization of information makes great sense at one stage, but must be changed when moving to another

We like to receive information in the form of a coherent narrative, in which each fragment follows from the previous one and leads to the next. But in our head it is stored in a completely different way - not in the form of beads, but in the form of lace, where each knot is connected with many others. And one of the difficulties, for example, in writing this article is precisely how to put into a linear sequence what I understand in my head is multidimensional and simultaneously.

Write down the most important things

If we are reading or listening to lectures, the problem is the opposite: to squeeze out the water, and what is left, sort and link with each other and with your previous knowledge on this issue. This is what notes and other notes are needed for.

The way of taking notes (spelling dictation at a lecture), to which we were accustomed at school, does not fulfill this task. If you want the knowledge to remain not only in the notebook, but also in your head, you will still have to do this work of push-ups and tying: for example, re-read the synopsis, highlighting the key points with a marker, and then rewrite only them on the cheat sheet.

There are, however, much more suitable ways of taking notes. For example, the mind mapping method proposed by Tony Buzan, or the visual notation method that has become popular recently.

Whichever of them you choose, remember that the main task of the synopsis is not to reflect the maximum of what was said in the lecture, but, on the contrary, to keep only the necessary minimum.

And also about starting to transform the linear structure of storytelling into a multidimensional structure of understanding. So group, link, draw arrows, diagrams, etc. The further you go from linearity, the better. This will help you understand the material.

Understand and remember

Understanding is proportional to the number of ways you can express some knowledge. If I can repeat word for word the explanation given by the lecturer, it does not mean that I understood him. If I can draw a picture, draw a diagram, explain it to my grandmother using the example of cooking borscht and to my nephew using the example of transformers, then this means that I really understood the material.

But the fact that I understood something and can explain now does not mean that I will be able to do the same in two months. Comprehension promotes memorization, but is far from equivalent to it.

Evolutionarily, there was no point in remembering information that we would never need again

And therefore, if we encountered something for the first time, and then did not return to it, then after a while the trace left by this experience in our memory will naturally be erased. In order to "fix" the memory, you need to periodically return to it. For at least the next two years.


"Deep freeze". Alan Baddeley describes an experiment with a stream of students who studied Spanish at the institute and then never used it again. For the first two years, the forgetting curve fell steeply, and during this time students lost a significant portion of their Spanish vocabulary. But what remained in their minds after a couple of years was not forgotten over the next decades. Baddeley calls this "deep freeze."

What is needed in order to freeze our knowledge?

Repeat them. But not by endlessly rereading a synopsis or a textbook, as we did in school. In fact, this "repetition" is only a repetitive perception, which only leads to a better recognition of the material, which we confuse with the ability to remember. Memory is strengthened by referring to it when you seek to extract from it the material you know.

For example, telling someone or repeating information on key issues, or drawing from memory a mind map that you already drew a week ago. So in addition, you will understand exactly which parts of what you learned are deposited in your head and which are not.

Well, now you know exactly how to learn effectively. Now is the time to apply knowledge.

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