The art of studying

Published: 11th October 2012 12:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th October 2012 12:50 PM   |  A+A-

Usha is in the final year in high school and is getting more and more hassled about the large portions to be studied for her term end exams. She is busy with her friends and various sports activities, and wonders how to manage her time.

Abracadabra!…….Wish I had a magic wand that would help Usha study… Oh! Don’t we all wish we could find some easy means to study better? Well, the bad news is that there are no magical solutions to the problem, but the good news is that there are certainly ways in which we can develop better study habits, make our lives less stressful and improve our performance at school.

You may have noticed that we experience the maximum stress related to our studies when we find it difficult to cope with the pressure of meeting deadlines, when we have to prepare for tests or exams and when find it hard to understand certain concepts taught in school. Let us deal with these problems one by one. If you look carefully, you will find that studying well has got a lot to do with organising our time well. Our tendency to postpone work for later (procrastination) is an important factor in this regard. Procrastination not only leads to stress but also compromises the quality of work we produce. Therefore, do not allow your work to pile up.

What can we do to study well? Organise and plan well in advance. Prepare a time table at least on a weekly basis. Give your studies regular, assigned hours each day. It is good to be able to anticipate any problems in meeting the deadlines. Remember, your time table and schedule will work only if it is realistic. Do not set yourself goals that appear unachievable.

Reset the goals if you cannot meet them and introspect as to why you could not achieve them.

Examination time is no doubt a stressful time for all of us. There is so much to study and so little time! While preparing for exams, you should be able to organise your time effectively. Before you get down to actual studying, examine carefully how much you are expected to study and how much time do you have on hand. Identify your strengths and mark the topics that may need more attention than others. Reward yourself with short breaks, eat healthy food and rest well. Study in a place where you are most comfortable and choose an environment that is least distracting. When you decide to take a break, leave the study area completely and go out for a while if possible. If you find yourself feeling stressed, talk to someone. Share your feelings with family and friends and let them help you relieve the stress.

Lastly, let us take up the concept of metacognition. The simplest definition of metacognition is, ‘knowing about knowing.’ In other words, your ability to understand that you are having trouble learning a certain concept or your being able to ‘tell’ that you have gained sufficient understanding of a lesson, is referred to as metacognition. Note how relevant this awareness can be for us. If we are able to identify as we learn, whether or not that learning is being effectively imbibed by us, we will know exactly what we need to focus on. Developing metacognitive abilities is not hard at all. It comes with awareness and practice. Just know that studying well is a skill. Remember,  all of us have the ability to practise it.


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