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Studying advice

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Studying advice

Unread postby Scotty » December 28th, 2007, 9:21 am

This is a question for the educated out there.

Ive never been a studier, I hated school and got out sharpish at the first opportunity. Now, over 20 years later, I have a family and no job. So decided to study for my MCDST in the hope of making a little money supporting home-users.
But nothing seems to be sinking in when I am faced with practice tests.

Does anyone have good advice on how to study or should I give up? :(
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby turn 5 » December 28th, 2007, 3:21 pm

This is a question for the educated out there.

Well there's no way in hell I'm in that group. :D

I always read before I go to bed so it sticks,otherwise I'll forget the next day.Read things your not sure of a second or third time you will get more out of it.

When I read Cosmos(the book)I didn't get a whole lot out of it the first time so you are not alone.
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Drewcat » December 28th, 2007, 3:38 pm

Not the most typical suggestion but you might ponder them

Changing the environment that you study in - go to a library, outside in a park, etc etc

Meditation/Yoga - practicing regular meditation helps the mind :) . Yoga combines meditation like state with relaxation exercise
or even just a 5 minute relaxation session prior to study

Study in the morning - sleep improves things (need more sleep?)

Vitamins, if youre deficient in even one that can impact how well your brain is operating - especially b vitamins/b12
Might get and take a vitamin b complex. It also will improve energy, take b complex in the morning or you might be up all night!
Multi vitamin isn't a bad idea either.

I was deficient in b12 for many years. At the lowest point I couldn't do simple math + -.

Don't give up!
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Simon V. » December 28th, 2007, 3:49 pm

When studying, if you don't understand something, investigate. Nothing is better than finding the answer yourself, as most of the times you'll never forget that. If it's with computers, most of the things you can try out yourself, a lot can be learned from that.

When you finish the chapter or part of the course, think about what you've learned. Create a general picture. When I'm studying and I do that, most of the time a little detail comes to my mind that I don't fully understand. I then get back to the part of the course where it is explained, to fully understand it. You can also read to the chapter diagonally, for instance reading the headers, or quickly reading the text. If it feels familiar, and you can tell yourself what's it about, it's in your head. Explaining it to someone else helps too, if you find someone who wants to listen ;)

Sleep is important, as Drewcat says. Don't keep on studying when you're tired, it won't work. I sometimes just lie on my bed for 5-10 mins, without sleeping, just closing my eyes. For me, it helps to stay fit. Eating chocolate helps too :D

I hope that helps, if you want more tips I'm sure I can dig some up. Best of luck!
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Scotty » December 28th, 2007, 7:24 pm

Sleep could be the key point here. Im a teeth grinder, so Im either woken multiple times a night or find myself scrunched up on the couch. :evil:

Getting fit is another good point. But that's for my health. Hoping to stop smoking this year.
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby MYPK » December 28th, 2007, 8:56 pm

Building off of Simon V., I find when I interact with the material, it sinks in a lot better. Sometimes I sit down and make little diagrams that remind me of key topics and ideas. Works if you're a visual learner.

Oh, and eating some minty candy or gum keeps me concentrated. Go figure...
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Orac » December 29th, 2007, 9:17 am

Scotty i find writting notes as i study (using pen and paper, typing them doesnt seem to have the same effect for some reason) the best way of getting something to "sink in".

It also gives you a good reference point when its time to start revision ;)
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Drewcat » December 29th, 2007, 11:46 pm

As far as grinding your teeth goes there is a few solutions to try.
Going to a dentist they can provide you with a guard which will prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. One of the suggestions I remember is to work your jaw before you sleep by eating/chewing gum etc. If you have jaw pain these may not work for you.

I'm sure theres plenty of other medical/natural advice on grinding you could find off google. Herbal sleep relaxants like Valerian you could try to see if that helps you sleep better. Again certain vitamins improve sleep, energy, and brain functioning all at the same time (b vits!). If you are deficient in one due to say malabsorption the blocks can be stacked against you until you get enough. It's not uncommon and the only way to tell is to take them for a month and see.

Trying to sleep at more regular times can help too.

Something like a bit of yoga could be perfect because it is both exercise and relaxation. These 2 things lower stress and helps focus, which helps you sleep, which helps you learn. Even 10 minutes of yoga before bed or in the morning might be really good for you, its really easy to learn from pictures on net or in a book. Just don't try the headstands right away! Image

If you're not sleeping well and grinding your teeth overall thats a pretty good sign that you're taking on too much. Be careful not to drive your body over the edge because once that happens it's rather difficult to climb back up. Maybe it is good for you to think about if this course (or other things) you can let go for the moment to give yourself some relief. Maybe you just need a week or two "off".

And I need to practice what I preach lol. I need to start sleeping at regular times. For me heavy stress or sleeping irregular brings on grinding.
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby ndmmxiaomayi » December 30th, 2007, 12:10 am

I read through a lot of times till I understand it. If financial situation allows, I go grab some materials and try out to understand how things work. When you experience something, you have a tendency to understand it better. If you make mistakes along the way, you learn from it and try not to make it again.

A good foundation matters too. A lot of topics are built on foundation topics, so getting them right matters.

Other than that, having enough rest and a good health matters.

Also find a time that you can study best. I'm a night owl, very active at night and goes all the way till past midnight until 4 or 5am before I sleep. Find a good time, make good use of it to study. :)
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Elrond » December 30th, 2007, 1:31 am

Using a highlighter or underling what is important is a useful way to point your mind to those points when you go over the material a second or mre times. I find that understanding and if possible having done the things in practice is really helpful. Breaking down the material into logical and managable pieces also helps. Then you can build the answers from small units and you do not need to know the whole picture.

By the way I worked as a HomeUser and HomeOffice consultant for ten years and never had any examsat all. What is important is to really know your home computer and the most common programs that you will find on it. Exams are nice but knowing the stuff in practice is much more important. You will always run into situations that are not covered by the books. Being able to visualize what is going on at the moment is a real advantage.

Good luck Scotty.
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby chryssi2001 » December 30th, 2007, 4:36 am

Scotty, just something which might be usefull to you.

When i was at school, and i was studying my homework at
home, for several lessons (example History) i realised i had to read the lesson loud, so i could hear and absorb the informations.

Till today, even now i am studying at the Uni, although my English are good enough i can say, sometimes to understand something and help it sink in, i read it loud so i can hear it.
Probably my ears help knowledge go easier to my brains.

You can try it for the difficult parts. ;)
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Gary R » December 30th, 2007, 5:20 am

There's an old mantra somewhere that goes something like.

I read it ............... I forget
I explain it ........... I remember
I do it .................. I know

The secret is persistence. Stick with it and find out what works for you.

For me, I'm lucky and I comprehend written information quickly, but on the minus side I also forget it quickly.

My breakthrough at college came when I started helping a fellow student. I understood concepts more quickly than he, so he often asked me to explain them. Explaining things to him lodged them in my brain. Also he questioned everything more than I did, so finding answers to his questions deepened my own understanding of the subject. We complimented each other's learning styles, and both profited from the experience.

If you can, try and find a study partner, bouncing ideas of each other is a great way to learn.
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Scotty » January 3rd, 2008, 4:03 pm

Lot's of good advice. Ill take it all onboard.

Re: the teeth thing, I did get a guard from the dentist, but it doesnt seem to stay in very long once I fall asleep, so Im still getting punched awake a few times every night. :D
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby Drewcat » January 3rd, 2008, 9:10 pm

Re: the teeth thing, I did get a guard from the dentist, but it doesnt seem to stay in very long once I fall asleep, so Im still getting punched awake a few times every night.


Yea, I just remember waking up with my jaw hurting from it. Like my jaw wasn't able to move at all, all night. It was a rather expensive piece of worthlessness.
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Re: Studying advice

Unread postby MattNW » January 6th, 2008, 3:05 am

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. :lol:

@Scotty

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.
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