Study Tips, Part Two

1.Plan two hours of study time for every hour spent in class.

There are exceptions, but this is a good general rule. Students making the transition from high school or community college especially are often unaware of the increased burden. They often underestimate (or misunderstimate, as George Bush said) how long a task will take. Keep in mind that when the Egyptians first started building the pyramids, they only gave themselves a week, which didn’t work out well. (The Great Pyramid took somewhere between 10 and 20 years.)

2. Avoid scheduling overly long study sessions.

When possible, study in shorter sessions. Planning three three-hour sessions is far more productive for most students than one nine-hour session. Do you run 40 miles in a normal workout or 5 miles? If your brain isn’t retaining anything you’re reading, and there’s a puddle of drool forming on the desk, it might be time to take a break.

3. Be aware of your optimal time of day.

Many students learn best in daylight hours. Others are night owls and do better after sundown. Observe yourself and schedule the best study time, especially for your most difficult subjects. The key point is to determine what is ideal for your personality type. Vampires, for example, should not study during the daytime. Or in front of mirrors (they can’t see their notes.)

4. Use boring waiting time as a brush up.

Five minutes waiting time for the bus, 20 minutes waiting for the dentist, 10 minutes between classes, 6 months at the DMV — waiting time adds up fast. Try to have short study tasks ready to do during these times. For example, carry 3X5 cards with equations, formulas, or definitions and pull them out anywhere. Also, use unexpected time to your advantage. When your friend is going on and on about his grandma’s sick cat, whip out your class notes and catch up on the lecture material from last week.

5. Talk to friends about what you’re studying.

Sometimes the topics get too abstract if they’re only comprised of books and notes. It’s good to discuss them with real human beings. Debating the issues that come up or questioning what you’ve learned can re-energize you and bring some passion to the topic. If you’re well-versed enough in the subject to make your debate opponent cry instantly, you’ll probably do well on the exam.

Hope these tips were helpful and stay tuned for the next installment from Omni Tutoring!

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