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How to study efficiently

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Maseybaby, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Maseybaby

    Maseybaby Bit Poster

    Hey guys!

    I hate studying. I could never get motivated or retain any of the knowledge I had read pretty much because when I read a page, I'd realise my mind had wandered off and would have to re-read the page. I can imagine pretty much everybody is like this and as you know it wastes an insane amount of time. So I thought i'd read up on the art of studying, I've read quite a few books from a lot of different authors such as Paul Mckenna, Derren Brown (not really a book on learning at all but his book does have some useful advice) and Colin Rose. Below is pretty much all there is to studying effectively in a nutshell.

    1) First off you need to get yourself in a relaxed and positive state. Why? Simply because when we learn we create a neural pathway in our mind. The more we repeat the topic or action the thicker this pathway becomes, so after we've repeated it several times over and over it's pretty much stored in our long term memory. When we are relaxed and positive, our body released endorphins, which make us feel great but also they create bonding in the brain, so when we study the topic it has a greater impact on our brain and we retain more of the knowledge first reading.

    It's really easy to get yourself in this state, first off, sit down comfortably in a chair, spine straight and close your eyes. Do some deep breathing for about 2 minutes WITH a smile on your face. The smile is important it tricks your brain into thinking that everything is ok. So, slow rhythmic breathing with a smile on your face for 2 - 5 minutes and your in a good state for learning. Oh and when your deep breathing, if a thought comes up just let it go and carry on with your deep breathing.

    2) You need to get motivated. A lot of people suggest thinking about the reward at the end, but this never helped me, this is Paul Mckenna's method and I found it better than anyones.

    Think of something you really enjoy doing, it could be a favourite book, sport, hobby or anything that truly fascinates you. Try to vividly imagine and feel yourself enjoying the subject of your choice. When this feeling reaches its peak squeeze your thumb and forefinger together. This is an associational link between the feeling of enjoyment and the squeeze of your thumb and finger. Do this about 10 times to start, and practise it every now and then to keep the link there.

    Once you have done this, next imagine yourself studying, but this time, when you begin to imagine yourself studying, squeeze your thumb and finger together and feel those feelings of enjoyment. Do this about 10 times as well. I found this really helped me to enjoy and get in the flow of studying, especially for learning boring material.

    3) Ok this is the concious part, techniques to help you remember stuff.

    Fold an A4 piece of paper in half from top to bottom. Then where the fold is (trying to make this make sense :P) use some scissors and cut it. So basically in the middle horizontally of the paper use scissors to cut it in half.

    Then after each page you read, make a small summary sentence on the small piece of paper you made. So for a chapter with 20 pages in, you'll have 20 small summary sentences. Of course you can't stick by this rule as for some pages there are many notes I need to take like basic facts or figures, but I still try to make the notes as short as possible so I'm not just rewriting the whole book. Basically only take notes of what you need to remember, cut out all of the jargon, try to make your notes as short and precise as possible and write it down in your own words. Oh and read your notes outloud once you have finished a chapter so it helps to store the information in auditory as well as visual. Writing out notes in your own words is also a form of kinesthetic learning so this is 5 senses your using to store information.

    4) Tony Buzan made an excellent technique called mind mapping. After you have finished writing the notes out on your small piece of paper, rewrite them out in the form of a mind map. This is basically a spider diagram. A link below shows you what a mindmap looks like:


    Ofc adapt it to however you need. I don't just use one words on my mindmap but sometimes string a small sentence together so I can glance over and remember it all.

    What you're trying to do is make your notes as small and short as possible and as pleasing to look at as possible.

    Ok that's it, all of this stuff has truly helped me so far with certifications and will hopefully help me in the upcoming 3 years of my Computer Science degree. Just thought I'd share with you guys.


    P.S. If it doesn't make sense it's because im at work and kinda rushing :P Any questions just ask and I hope you all try it out!
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: Computer Sci, MCDST, MCITP, CCNA
  2. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    About a year ago I went to a seminar for NLP, with Chris Howard, and the 2 day course covered most of this.

    This is my friends site, you can enrol to go to one of these, free of charge (she gets a referral, not in cash but in points).


    I am a lot more determined and organised since i did that, and its no coincidence 90% of my exams have been passed since then as well.

    Ive also cleared "nearly" (down to 1K from 11K) all my debt, and started exercising and eating healthier.

    Im not saying that event was the key, but it certainly was a useful kick up the backside.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  3. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

    Determination and relaxation has helped a lot in terms of concentration and priority. A good time management and disipline also helps as well.
    Certifications: MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003 Messaging, MCP, HNC BIT, ITIL Fdn V3, SDI Fdn, VCP 4 & VCP 5
    WIP: MCTS:70-236, PowerShell
  4. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    One good method I like is using/implementing what you've studied, this reinforces what you've just learnt :)

    Certifications: CITP, PGDip, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: MSc in Tech Management
  5. AArcher

    AArcher Nibble Poster

    One thing I will add is your enviourment..... make sure that where your learning is free from distractions if you can. As in TV etc but maybe a window to a garden is ok helps relax. Make sure where your studying is clean and clutter free ....tidy desk tidy mind
    Certifications: None
    WIP: CompTIA 2006 A+
  6. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Wow, that seems like an awful lot of extra effort. Personally, I'd just rather study, but I enjoy it, so it's not a chore to me. But hey, if it works for you, then it's absolutely worth doing! :)
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  7. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

    I can semi see where you're coming from. I hate distractions and can't concentrate if there is a TV on in the background (for instance).

    However, as for tidying your desk... no. That's never bothered me. :p
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  8. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

    That's a great post Masey, with some good info on mind-mapping (which is a technique I tend to use).

    But as for the environment... I think you have to chalk that one down to personal preference. lol.

    For example, me and my other half both study at home. We have to study in separate rooms. And a lot of the time I have to shut my door.

    He requires a clear desk and almost zen-like silence to study.

    I often have a movie on (watched the 300 yesterday whilst studying 70-271) or at the very least music. I cannot study in quiet; I absolutely abhor it, which is why you'll also never find me in a library. Conversely, I find silence more distracting - that being, when there are little to no noises, and some background noise kicks up (neighbours, sirens, etc) then that distracts me away more. If there's a movie on, I generally have the gyst of what's happening, so that can stay on without being a bother.

    Yes, I know, I'm a freak.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

    Amen to that!:thumbleft
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  10. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    There is some merit to the idea that different people have different learning styles. In a nutshell, it means that the standardized classroom learning model may not be a good fit for everyone. It also means that the smug jerk sitting next to you in Algebra class who got all "As" may not necessarily be smarter than you...he or she may just tend to learn better in a standard classroom environment.

    There's probably more than one way to write this article, depending on how your target audience learns. People like Michael can just pop a book open and study. Arroryn can listen to a movie and study (which would make me nuts). On the other hand, I can listen to jazz and study just fine.
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  11. Gary B

    Gary B Nibble Poster

    Certifications: MCSA 2003
    WIP: You tell me
  12. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    Excellent post !

    True, it will not apply to everyone as each may have ther own "method" but some good clear concise help given.

    +1 rep given
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  14. Maseybaby

    Maseybaby Bit Poster

    Hey thanks for the rep guys.

    Nice extra points added yeah I forgot about the environment and stuff. The best thing I found is the relaxed and positive state, when your in this state learning seems to be a beeze.

    Keep adding the extra points.
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: Computer Sci, MCDST, MCITP, CCNA
  15. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    Just to say I've now watched the first of these (1 1/4 hrs) and it was very good. Sorry to see the guy passed away at end of July. He made some really good and useful points which will (hopefully) help transform the way I study/work.

    Thanks for putting the link
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)

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