MYPK wrote:Oh, and eating some minty candy or gum keeps me concentrated. Go figure...
Not so surprising. I read a study several years ago that peppermint seems to boost learning. I was taking a psychology class at the time and pointed it out to the prof. He handed out peppermint candy at all exams after that.
First thing to do is learn how you learn. Search for "learning styles" in a search engine and you will find a bunch of tests that determine how you learn best. Take those and try to tailor your study practices to fit your style of learning. Also as strange as it might sound also search for the term "Learning Disability" because a lot of study skills that work for people with a LD are also excellent for those without. For the LD student they are essential for the non LD they are just good study habits and techniques but they work for both persons.
Everyone else has covered a lot of good study techniques. I'll add some points on study attitude.
Try to find questions in whatever you study. Good learning should create more questions than it answers. If you find a topic that you want to follow up more fully make a note and research the topic yourself. Don't just expect the textbook or guide to give you the answers. That's only the starting point. From there research topics you are interested in or that you seem to be struggling with more fully and a lot of what you studied previously will make much more sense.
One rule to live by. DON'T CRAM!! That might be OK for an elective class in college when you just want a passing grade but if you want to retain the material don't cram. I've never been a fan of the, "You must suffer to learn" approach. Some study skills courses recommend that you use an uncomfortable chair or study in a room that is either a little warmer or cooler than you like but in my opinion that is just one more distraction between you and the subject matter. Get comfy. No, don't take a nap but don't torture yourself either. Find a comfortable chair or take your reading to bed. Whatever works best for you. Allow yourself regular breaks but you don't have to stick to a time table. Be flexible, when you feel you have reached your saturation point take a walk or do something around the house or anything to get your mind off studying. Catch your breath and then go back to the studying. You will find your energy levels stay much higher when you give yourself a break now and then.
If you keep banging you head on something and still not getting it then take some time off or go on and study something else. Often when you let something sit for a while in your mind you can "absorb" it unconsciously and when you return to that topic you will find you understood more than you thought at first.
Try to get "fired up". It's much harder to learn and understand something when you aren't interested in it. Try to find something interesting in whatever you study. Sometimes it can be hard but make an effort and you'll retain it much better.