Study skills for effective learning

Last Updated 19 March 2014, 15:58 IST

Firm intention The first pre-requisite for a meaningful and qualaitative study is the conviction to study, says R Premkumar.

Ravi is a class XI student, who scores abysmally low scores in his tests and exams. He has high aspirations and is endowed with above average intelligence, but the problem with him is that he lacks study skills. Consequently, he is unable to cope up with his studies. The essentials of study skills, aims to assist students like Ravi who would certainly ameliorate their performance by honing their study skills.

ConvictionThe first pre-requisite for a meaningful and qualitative study is the conviction to study. Many students are unable to develop the study habit as they lack the basic interest and conviction to study. Unless there is an inner urge and a deep conviction within to study nothing can really help a student. He or she must feel deep inside and believe firmly that study is an essential and indispensable aspect in a student’s life. Saying ‘no’ to study is surely saying ‘no’ to progress in life. A regular and systematic study offers knowledge, scholarship and information. It crowns a student with good education and instills a sense of purpose.

It gives a good job, a secure future, and a social status. Doubtlessly, It is the secret of success. Good study habits can take a person too high and far in life. Hence the “study- conviction”, is of paramount importance. It ignites the mind and triggers the entire being. It gives a drive and uplift,  besides opening up the mind and preparing it for the ongoing process.  As T F Hodge Says “You can not build a dream on a foundation of sand. To weather the test of storms, it must be cemented in the heart with uncompromising Conviction.” 

Secondly, planning marks the next essential habit of effective study skills. One must plan to study. If you fail to plan, you will plan to fail. One must plan, and fix the target. “What to study”? “when to study”? and “how much to study”? must be meticulously planned. Divide the study material into bits and pieces. Don’t try to read large chunks in one go. Also avoid long sessions of study. Planning is like a tree that is rooted and grounded. It ensures in fixedness, firmness, and fixity of purpose. A student who fails to plan is like the chaff, which is driven by every wind of temptation and distraction. It lacks stability and direction. A detailed plan of study steers the students to resolve and pursue one’s resolution.

Read, reflect, understand
Thirdly, one must commence by “Reading”, “Reflecting” and “Understanding” the study material. Read the study material unhurriedly, and consciously. The reading habit has to be nurtured with care. With a deep sense of conviction and a well laid out plan, reading becomes easy, fluent and focused.  Avoid cramming. It is a hob-goblin that would reduce learning to monotony and will rob its joy. Try to apply your mind into what you are reading and engage in meaningful reflections. Reading without reflecting and understanding defeats the very purpose of it. Know and concentrate in what you are reading. Allow your mind to think through and process the material that is read.

The next step in the study skills is “Recalling” which is a very important exercise. If you engage in recalling, it is a rewarding experience. Recall the small chunks, the small bits of information, recall the keywords, recall the concepts, recall every minute information. Recall in a systematic and organized manner. Run through it mentally and rehearse it. Visualization and association  facilitates in recalling. Form images and pictures of what you have learnt. Mere reading without recalling is as swallowing food without masticating it. Like the cattle which chews the cud through the process of rumination, you should engage in recalling the material what you’ve read.  Recalling reinforces that you’ve learnt, and assists in its assimilation. Recall as much as you can and as intensely  as you can .  Relish your recalling experience.
ReviseThe other essential factor in study skills is “Revising”. What you can not recall quickly, revise and again try to recall. It is beneficial to repeat the cycle of “Recall and Revise” in order to retrieve the content of what you have read.

The last step is “Reproducing”. It is the process of transferring from the mind to the paper. Reproduce in writing all that you have read. Don’t be complacent to spend time to quickly write down all that you have recalled. Reproduce as swiftly as you can, and as succinctly as you can. Don’t try to produce verbatim, learn to paraphrase in your own words. This “mind-paper” transfer gives you a great sense of relief, satisfaction, and confidence and of course a winning edge. It eliminates anxiety and uncertainty. When you put down in paper, it provides palpable evidence to you regarding what you have learn’t hitherto.  No more doubts only assurance. It gives you a guarantee, it’s a spring board to further inspire you to embark into new vistas of learning and engage in the rewarding experience of studying. 

(Published 19 March 2014, 15:58 IST)

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