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Study Hard? 2 Tips for Learning to Study Smart by Roger Lewis Fischel





Study Hard? 2 Tips for Learning to Study Smart by
Article Posted: 08/15/2017
Article Views: 593
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Study Hard? 2 Tips for Learning to Study Smart


 
Education
So many people tell us to study hard and success in school will follow. Study hard, however, is a vague term filled with pitfalls. I can envision telling a student to study hard after a poor test score. In the student's mind studying hard is not the problem. Comprehension, the clear understanding of material is. So studying hard fails to make an impression. What makes more sense is a complete change from study hard to study smart. In this article I suggest two ways to make that shift, a shift that will bring success to any student.

Tip 1: Develop a Passion for Learning

It doesn't matter whether you are a gifted student or an average student. I doesn't matter that you would rather be playing a video game. You determine how successful you will be in life as you develop the habits for success in school. Long before there were schools, children learned their life skills by playing games. Shoot the arrow through the moving hoop, for example, taught boys hunting skills. Learning was a survival skill made fun and engaging. Everyone knew that you had better learn the skill or you wouldn't survive. Somehow we lost the aspect of learning that made learning fun. We crossed a line that insisted on institutionalizing schooling. By removing curiosity, engagement, and fun from the classroom learning became hard work. Hence the idea that one must study hard. Here's the thing, studying hard is work. It is tedious and lacks engagement. It is something done, not from a sense of purpose, rather from a sense of fear of failure. Learning to study smart is a matter of adding a sense of fun to the process of learning. No matter what the subject, find something in the material that you are passionate about. Focus on that passion by extending beyond the assignment. As you develop a sense of real interest you'll begin to understand the foundational aspects of the subject. You'll comprehend the subject better than you ever thought possible. To make this change don't try to do to much at first. Take baby steps. Start with a subject you already like and find the passion hook. Then move to your next favorite subject until you finally arrive at your least favorite. That way, as you develop the skills for studying smart, you'll be better able to apply them to subjects you don't like.

Tip 2: Become a Taker of Notes

I urge students to take good notes. I don't much care what format one uses. Notes become a memory tool, a roadmap to understanding. I am partial to the Cornell Note Taking System and I'll write about that later. For now take notes in way you feel most comfortable. Taking good notes is only the first step toward studying smart. You must follow-up with your notes daily (including weekends). Read those notes every day from beginning to end. That repetition will embed concepts and factual data in your mind it becomes hard to forget. This one basic idea carried me through graduate school with a straight 'A' average. It helped me comprehend. Once it became second nature, I realized I was studying smart, not studying hard.

Final Words

I thought about flip-flopping these two tips. I thought that taking notes was a way to develop a passion for learning. The more I considered the possibility the more I realized that passion needs notes while notes do not need passion. Hence, I put them in this order. Oh, by the way, when one actually adopts a study smart attitude, one is actually studying hard.

Dr. Roger Lewis is the owner of Effective Study Tips where he introduces parents and their children to the most effective study habits we know of. Dr. Lewis is a career educator teaching in both middle-school settings and in university departments of education. His specialty is in the teaching of reading methods for k-12 students. He is now retired concentrating on sharing his knowledge with a broader audience.

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