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In the Name of God بسم الله

How To Learn Something Effectively

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  • Veteran Member

This is how you study to takes tests and these tips are quite effective, unfortunately, not much is retained as you move past the exam date.  The only real way to learn is simply have a genuine interest in the material, or as a stepping stone to some other related material that interests you.  This sort of exciting learning most of us have very little time for as we are bombarded with examinations/assignments and eventually the busy work life. 

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Just like there are 'Dos' of a certain things, there are 'Donts' as well. In my first post I shared the 'Dos'. Now this post will contain the points which you should avoid while you are trying to learn something in an effective manner and which can disturb your way of understanding a certain topic.


1. Passive rereading Sitting passively and running your eyes back over a page. Unless you can prove that the material is moving into your brain by recalling the main ideas without looking at the page, rereading is a waste of time.


2. Letting highlights overwhelm you Highlighting your text can fool your mind into thinking you are putting something in your brain, when all you’re really doing is moving your hand. A little highlighting here and there is okay—sometimes it can be helpful in flagging important points. But if you are using highlighting as a memory tool, make sure that what you mark is also going into your brain.


3. Merely glancing at a problem’s solution and thinking you know how to do it This is one of the worst errors students make while studying. You need to be able to solve a problem step-by-step, without looking at the solution.


4. Waiting until the last minute to study Would you cram at the last minute if you were practicing for a track meet? Your brain is like a muscle—it can handle only a limited amount of exercise on one subject at a time.


5. Repeatedly solving problems of the same type that you already know how to solve If you just sit around solving similar problems during your practice, you’re not actually preparing for a test—it’s like preparing for a big basketball game by just practicing your dribbling.


6. Letting study sessions with friends turn into chat sessions Checking your problem solving with friends, and quizzing one another on what you know, can make learning more enjoyable, expose flaws in your thinking, and deepen your learning. But if your joint study sessions turn to fun before the work is done, you’re wasting your time and should find another study group.


7. Thinking you can learn deeply when you are being constantly distracted Every tiny pull toward an instant message or conversation means you have less brain power to devote to learning. Every tug of interrupted attention pulls out tiny neural roots before they can grow.


8. Not getting enough sleep Your brain pieces together problem-solving techniques when you sleep, and it also practices and repeats whatever you put in mind before you go to sleep. Prolonged fatigue allows toxins to build up in the brain that disrupt the neural connections you need to think quickly and well. If you don’t get a good sleep before a test, NOTHING ELSE YOU HAVE DONE WILL MATTER.


Source: The above material is taken from the book, A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel in Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra), by Barbara Oakley.

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