How To Study Effectively.

Hey everybody, it’s Bren again and today I’m gonna talk to you about studying. Why its important, how it can change your life and how to do it effectively.

Why Studying Is Important.

Let me begin by sharing my personal experience with you with university and studying.

When I was in my first year of university, I had actually not gone right from highschool. I graduated highschool in 2014 and since i took 4 and a half years to graduate, I ended up taking one and a half years off between that and university.

During that time I was mostly working full time in a grocery store overnights. During this time most of my days were spent alone actually with minimal social interaction and the transition between that to a school filled with people was.. interesting. However this post is about studying, so I’ll expand on that in a future post.

In my first year I had really underestimated the necessity of studying and initiative. By the time I had finished my first semester I had a 2.06 GPA. This means most my classes had C’s and D’s with the exception of one that was a B-.

I was shocked and annoyed at myself to be honest. I’m spending all this money to go to school (all of which is on loan, by the way) and I’m performing so poorly. Why?

I lacked the initiative and didn’t know how to study.

The next semester I had gotten a 2.82 GPA and in my second year, both semesters I actually got onto what’s called the Dean’s list. To get on this list you need to have achieved a GPA above 3.5.

Now some people might be thinking “Bren that isn’t that high, really. Why are you acting like you’re a genius or something?”

Truth is I’m not, I’m just trying to show you the effect that proper studying and dedication has.

I Believe Everyone Has The Capacity For Higher Intelligence.

Believe me, I’ve had grades that are below failing and grades that are exceedingly well. The most recent example is a course i took called Managerial Accounting. Anyone whose taken a commerce program will truly understand how stressful and difficult this course is.

In fact, out of every course I have taken, this one is the most notorious for soul-crushing difficulty.

When we had our first midterm, our class average was 10.1/30 for one section, and the other three sections were very similar. 30% Average on a test that most of us prepared for.

Our professor had told us that if we did exceedingly well on our final, about 20% higher than the mark we went in with, that would be our final mark.

I spent four days basically locked in my basement studying before the exam. Wonder what the outcome was?

I finished the class with an A-. I had gone into the exam with ~50% 

Two Reasons For Studying

There are two main reasons for studying.

  1. For personal advancement
  2. For Academic Success.

I’m not saying that these two reasons can’t be combined. That depends largely on who you are and what you’re interested in.

That being said, if you study for school and you want to know how to study for your own personal advancement, there are some key differences.

How To Study For School.

Believe it or not, studying for school is actually easier than for personal advancement. This is because when taking a course, the professors map out the content and resourcese are readily available for you.

You are given a course outline with dates and topics. They also lay out what content will be on the tests and exams you will be taken. This takes so much difficulty out of learning a topic, its wild.

The Formula.

  1. Open a word document on your computer, title it “(insert course name here) Study notes.”
  2. Create headings for each chapter or section you will be making notes on. Separating these into different sections will clean up your notes and make it easier for you.
  3. Open up all available resources you have on each chapter/section. This includes textbooks, powerpoints, online videos, etc.
  4. At this point, you need to go through all of your resources for one section at a time and paraphrase the information. When you write out information in your own words, or even just write it out, your brain takes it in more effectively than if you just read it.
  5. Once you have created a comprehensive document on all the chapters/sections of your material, open a new document.
  6. Set it up the same way you did the first document, but the difference here is you won’t be rewriting the paraphrased notes. You will be creating, in a sense, flashcards for each point you paraphrased.An example of this is if in your notes document a paraphrased note says: “In order to calculate the break-even point in dollars, you must take the fixed expenses and divide it by the contribution margin ratio”The Flashcard document for this note will say “Break-even point in dollars is calculated by…”
  7. At this point, both documents are now complete. Now you have your studying tools!
  8. Read through the Flashcard document and without looking at your notes, answer each note outloud and for each one you can’t answer without looking at your notes, put an “x” at the end of it.
  9. By doing this you discover which parts of the content you have trouble with.
  10. Read your notes for each section you put an “x”
  11. Repeat steps 8-10 until you have mastered the content.

That’s It!

That is the formula. Some key points to remember when studying:

  • The reason I say to use word documents instead of writing notes out on paper and pencil is for two reasons.
    • When you are on a computer and on word, you can use a function where you press CTRL-F. This opens a search box where you type in some words and it highlights everywhere on the document/webpage that those words pop up. This can make searching for specific things in large amounts of notes/information so much faster.
    • We are progressing more everyday to a digital society and having the notes on your computer will be much more beneficial. You can always print off your notes if you need a physical copy, but to create a digital copy you will need to type it out to utilize the CTRL-F function or copy paste functions.
  • Make sure to take small 20-30 minute breaks every hour or two to give your brain a rest. If you don’t you will burn out and will not retain everything you read and wasted your time and sanity.
  • If you drink coffee while studying, drink coffee while taking the exam. There have been studies suggesting that the similar mind states will help you recall the information.
  • AVOID CRAMMING. Although I am a master procrastinator, it does not help. Use this formula over at least 3-10 days to really maximize effectiveness (however it does work for cramming as well).
  • Make sure to take care of your body, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and exercise. A healthy body is a healthy and effective mind.

How To Study For Personal Advancement.

This is for people who want to learn things on their own time. The list for things you can learn on your own time honestly never ends.

This is largely similar to studying for school but with one difference which I actually brought up earlier.

You do not have the information laid out for you.

You will need to map out what you need to learn, and you will need to find the resources explaining the topics. This can be very tedious and time consuming, and sometimes not cheap.

But, after mapping out what you need to learn and the resources you need, following the formula helps you retain and understand the information.

It’s important that this is largely for conceptual and historical information. However, that does not mean you can’t benefit by doing what I have stated in this post for more technical information and physical actions like working out and playing music.

Understand that when learning math, math is largely learned through repetition. You absolutely need to do practice questions.

In Conclusion.

I hope you enjoyed this article! I have personally used all the information in here both in school and in my other interests and i firmly believe you can use this to improve your life.

A friend of mine is actually teaching himself Japanese right now using these formulas and honestly surprises me with it.

Did you find the information in this article useful?

What do you plan on using this to learn, or if you did use this information, what did you learn?

Comment below and let me know!

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