Many students and parents often complain about poor academic results despite hard work. Many children complain about forgetting the lessons, when they sit for exam. What factors make the difference between successful students from the average ones? Why do some students who appear to study all the time just achieve pass mark, while others who put less effort do well? I came across many students who blame their low intelligence for poor grades in exam. Is it academic success related to IQ and genetics or is some other factors involved? The truth is that success in school is not so much determined by sheer intelligence as knowing how to study.
Being successful in school requires a high level of study skills. Students must first learn these skills, practice them and develop effective study habits in order to be successful. If you want to be a successful student with high grades in exam, the need of the hour is to change the whole system of learning. First of all, the key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. An hour or two of studying a day, the vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits. So if you want to become a successful student, learn and practice the following tips.
Personal Study Time Table In a seminar about study skills, I asked the 200 odd young students whether they have a personal study time table or not. To my surprise only few students claimed that they follow a personal time table. First of all, make a time table for after school hours. Leave enough time for each of your subjects and
more time for difficult subjects. Set apart enough time for play, recreation and rest.
Daily Review To achieve higher grades in exam, it is imperative to learn the lessons taught in school on the same day itself.
Start at the beginning Many students learn at the eleventh hour ie. Just before the exam. Don’t forget the proverb, ‘Slow and steady wins the race’. Start studying; from the first day of school.
Weekly Review: Review your notes, school work and other class materials over the weekend. Successful students review what they have learned during the week over the weekend.
Study Location: Set apart a dedicated study room or area away from all disturbances. Don’t study where you do anything else. Don’t study in your bed, where you play games (even if it’s your computer), or in front of the TV.
Short study session with breaks: Don’t study for long hours at a stretch. Your ability to retain information diminishes after about 25-30 minutes, so break it up into multiple, smaller sessions. Take a break for 10 minutes to refresh yourself.
Read effectively: Many students complain about lack of concentration while reading. Use the SQ3R Method—survey, question, read, recite, review—to actively retain information. Just reading it is not enough. First of all, have a bird’s eye view of the topic ie. over all review of the portion. Then form some questions about the topic and read the portions to find out answer for the questions. Reading loudly helps for easy memorization.
Take notes: Develop the habit of note taking during your class lecture and during home study. Write down the main points in orderly manner. Note taking would help to increase memory and fast revision.
Organize Your Study Area. Many students failed to keep their study area neat and tidy. Properly arrange your study materials, notebooks, textbooks, pens, pencils, computer, projects, and dictionary and file folders.
Keep notes and handouts in a 3-ring binder. Keep a separate file folder for each subjects so that you can properly arrange worksheets, class tests, maps and other subject documents.
Group Study Proverb says: ‘‘Two heads are better than one’’. This is true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to get help from others. However, study groups become ineffective, if such study sessions are not monitored and organized by teachers or parents.
Start with the most difficult subject first
As your most difficult subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you have completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete rest of your work.
Peer Teaching This is the best way of learning. Be ready to teach what you’ve learned. If you can teach it to someone else, you have a solid grasp on the material. Use the same place for studying. This will help you with your memory when it is time for a test. It will also help you to concentrate better, because you will be in a routine or habit of studying in the same place.
Improve your memory
If you want to improve your memory, here are some tricks you can learn.
Acronyms: Acronyms is when you make a word from the first letter of each word to be memorized is used. Recently I learned from my students such an Acronym. My Very Energetic Mother Just Served Us Noodles is helpful to learn the planets very easily.
Visualisation and Real life Connection: Any concept or idea can be easily remembered, if we visualize it. Draw or imagine a picture of what’s being studied, or find one in a book Also connect the concept with real life situations. The teachers can play a big role to improve the memory of students by using videos, pictures and reference to day to day life situations.
Immediate Review Studying one hour immediately after a class will do more good in developing an understanding of the material as several hours a few days
later. Studies show that as much as 80 % of material learned in class is forgotten within 24 hours if there is no review.
Participation and Effective Listening in class. Effective listening is very important for successful learners. In order to learn more in class, it helps to participate in class discussions. Asking questions to clarify and maintain eye contact with your teacher can increase your participation and your focus during the class discussion. Those students who listen properly find it easy to comprehend the lessons.
In a nutshell, effective studying is an active process. Good study habits include many different skills: organized study, self-discipline, effective reading, listening, memorisation, time management and effort. Remember you do not have to do all of this at once. Rome was not built in a day. So acquire the study skills one by one and make it a part of your student life.