Need advice for studying.

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Need advice for studying.

Postby Individual » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:24 pm

Right now, I have to study for three exams, all next Tuesday: My med. terminology final, a exam for biology, and a second exam that deals with the biology lab (how to use equipment, what various experimental results mean, etc.). I'm a bit anxious about it, because it seems pretty tough.

Does anyone have any advice on how to study effectively?

I make flashcards online here:
http://www.flashcardmachine.com/

I do that because I am a fast typist (over 100 WPM), so I can generate online flash-cards significantly faster than writing it on paper. And they're quicker to use than writing stuff out on paper or using paper flash-cards. On the flash-cards, I will write terms on one side, or some kind of possible question on the test, and the definition or answer on the other side. I create flash-cards in sets (because the brain learns easier in "chunks", see Wikipedia for that term, or "chunking") and then one massive set, consolidating the previous sets, as a final test of my knowledge.

I notice that listening to certain kinds of classical music helps me concentrate. I've got the room well-lit, too, to keep me awake and alert. And I'm loading up on caffeine (not that I'm going to stay awake late, but caffeine helps me focus a bit too).

When I engage in "cramming," like this, after a few hours, I feel mentally fatigued. When this happens, I will take a break. Studies say that this is useful, because the brain works more effectively at studying when you have a decent break every now and then... But how often and for how long should I take such a break?

I also have a terrible habit of getting distracted, either by videogames or TV when I'm taking a break, or by the web when I'm using my computer to study.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby Ben » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:30 pm

Hi Individual
During your breaks, I would recommend that you do some anapanasati (samatha variant), maintaining the object of concentration, the point the breath touches at or under the nostrils, for as long a period as possible. This will help to relax you and develop concentration. Also, get plenty of sleep. And if you need the distractions of the web or video games, reserve them as a special treat once a day, before you go to bed.
Metta

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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby Individual » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:44 pm

Wow, caffeine and drum & bass music go great together for concentrating. I'm like completely in the zone right now.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:15 am

Hi Individual
I love caffeine too, but I don't think its as good for concentration as you may think.
As for music...
I've been telling my son that when he studies he should focus solely on his work and leave the music for leisure time. The reason is that the music and textual input will compete for attention. About ten years ago I was managing a grad student who was placed with me on work placement. I got him to crosscheck the accuracy of the numerical data in tables of groundwater analytes. While he was listening to music while checking the data, he increased the errors in the table.
I've also noticed that when I have attempted to listen to music and read or study, I confuse 'zoning in' with 'zoning out'.

It may feel better to study while listening to the music, but I don't think its a good indication of increased concentration or effectiveness of study.

Something else that is excellent for study is regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Metta

Ben
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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby appicchato » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:31 am

Individual wrote:...so I can generate online flash-cards significantly faster than writing it on paper. And they're quicker to use than writing stuff out on paper or using paper flash-cards.


Faster and quicker doesn't necessarily translate into better (remembering)...(physically) writing something down will increase the potential for remembering that something by many fold...
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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:40 am

Hi Bhante
appicchato wrote:
Individual wrote:...so I can generate online flash-cards significantly faster than writing it on paper. And they're quicker to use than writing stuff out on paper or using paper flash-cards.


Faster and quicker doesn't necessarily translate into better (remembering)...(physically) writing something down will increase the potential for remembering that something by many fold...


That is excellent advice as it is a method that i use.
Metta

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:12 am

appicchato wrote:
Individual wrote:...so I can generate online flash-cards significantly faster than writing it on paper. And they're quicker to use than writing stuff out on paper or using paper flash-cards.


Faster and quicker doesn't necessarily translate into better (remembering)...(physically) writing something down will increase the potential for remembering that something by many fold...


I agree Bhante. I have been a slow learner all my life: A slow writer, a slow reader, a rather ponderous most-thinger. But there's never been a trouble recalling past experience.

Hope you do well in your exams Individual :reading:

:anjali:

Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:36 am

Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:Does anyone have any advice on how to study effectively?


What I did was to hand-write a double-sided page of what I considered to be the most important things.

The very process of considering what is most valuable and synthesizing it in your own words is a valuable part of the process too.

Then I read that piece of paper over and over and over again...

It seemed to work for me - I never failed an exam at university.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby Individual » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:24 pm

Just had my biology exam. I did about as well as I expected... Not terrible, not great. Somewhere in the high D to low B range (hopefully a B and not a D!). The one thing that really threw me off that I forgot to study was the structure of molecules. There were like there or four questions where it was like, "Diagram of molecule: WHAT IS THIS MOLECULE?" and I had no clue. I remembered that lips are strings of hydrocarbons, but that was it.

I'm more optimistic about my medical terminology final coming up later today.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:29 pm

anxiety can reduce recall- try to go with the attitude (not when you are studying- but when actually entering the hall) that you have done all you can and that you are letting go of the results- not trying to please anyone- they can very well take you as you are - and that you are good enough.
Attempt all questions- you will get some marks
divide time up according the marks you get for questions and give proportionate time for each question
there comes a tipping point where you need to maximise clarity to reproduce what you have already learnt just before the paper and stop learning more new things as it would be counterproductive
With Metta

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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby Rui Sousa » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:21 pm

One thing that really helped me was not to study or think about the exam for the half day before the exam, meditation would ne a nice thing to in that time, and then take 15 minutes before the exam for a quick review.
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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby Individual » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:15 pm

Got an A (91.5%) on my biology exam! :D

I did especially well, considering that the average for the exam was a C (76%). The professor said, "Some of you did very well while others did very poorly". I was a bit worried I might be in the second group. He handed me my test face down and I was paranoid that maybe he did that because I did horrible.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Need advice for studying.

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:39 am

Well done Individual... I'm very pleased for you!

:woohoo:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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