Which popular study methods should you choose?
Which are the best study methods? How is any student supposed to know what exactly to do with any given subject? Quite often the word studying is thrown around without much additional explanation. We hear our parents and professors tell us things such as “You have to study to get a better job” or “If your grades are failing you need to do more studying”. But how exactly are we supposed to study? Lets consider some of the more popular study methods:
Basically, this is for people who remember information much more easily if it’s presented in a visual manner e.g. a video or an infographic/presentation. I happen to use this method a lot. For example, when using this method, to learn a new word in a foreign language, I try to visualize its spelling. That way, whenever I have to recall that word I think of how it “looks”. For example if I had to remember a phone number I would do much better if I saw the number written down. If I just heard the number I would probably forget it quite soon.
Also, when I read about new concepts and ideas I often remember them by associating an image with them. It is hard to remember whole passages from a chapter based only on the text. When there is an image association, I find it much easier to recall what I have read. Diagrams, photos and other visual cues in the chapter also help me immensely
Additionally, whenever I am shown something e.g. an experiment or a practical application of a theory or principle, I tend to remember it more easily.
The SQR3 Method
Next on the list is The Survey Question Read Recite Review, or SQR3 method for short. It is one of the most popular study methods and it consists of the following steps:
- Survey (or skim) – survey the chapter i.e. skim through it to familiarize yourself with it. That means you should read all the titles, subtitles introductions and summaries. Also, you should pay attention if there are any graphs, formulas or images. The idea here is to get your mind thinking in the direction of the text you are reading.
- Question – simply ask questions. What was the chapter about? What did you learn? Turn the titles of the chapters into questions etc. What are the key points?
- Read (the first “R”) – while reading, look for the answers to your questions.
- Recite (the second “R”) – recite the main points, and what you have just read, write a short summary of the chapter. The idea is to figure out how much you have remembered.
- Review (the third “R”) – this relates to reviewing all the information you have gathered i.e. listing keywords, main points, evidence for main points etc. and also look for things you have missed.
In contrast to the visual learning method, this technique relies on your hearing. Some people are better at listening to speakers or lectures. Such people have an easier time remembering most of the information heard in class or during a lecture. If you are such a person you one cool thing you can do is read out loud your notes and record them using your phone/laptop and then play them back. That way you become your own teacher!
Bonus tip: since hearing your own recorded voice is usually somewhat strange, you could ask to record a friend/family member of yours while they are reading your notes.
Alternatively, you can record during class but make sure to ask in advance. Depending on your country or the person talking, it may be inappropriate and/or illegal to record somebody’s voice without their permission.
This is what most students do and it is not very effective. It consists of sitting down and rereading their notes or textbook chapters in the hope of automatically remembering the content. Rarely does this work, because it is a non-engaging method. While doing it, most students lose focus because they get bored or the material is difficult.
In general, memorization is a bad studying technique because it does not promote critical thinking and questioning of the information you have absorbed. Avoid this as best you can. Although it is generally bad advice to memorize your lessons, memorization does have a place. Depending on the subject, some memorization may be required e.g. medical doctors, engineers, mathematicians etc. There are some facts, descriptions and formulas that you have to know if you want to practice a given profession. You wouldn’t want to go to a medical doctor who had to consult his/her notes before examining their patients.
Having said all that, the best method is the one that you practice consistently. Once you have found out what works for you, make sure to practice it regularly for the best results. None of the above study methods can help you if you don’t practice. Which of the above methods do you like most?
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