Make use of “read out loud” feature

In accordance with my previous post, when I suggested making audio notes, you can alternatively use “read out loud” feature of pdf readers. It is given under “View” menu in Adobe reader  I use this feature to study descriptive subjects like history and literature.

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However, this method works well for e-books and not the scanned or “captured” notes. Moreover, the pronunciation is weird sometimes and the software reads everything, even the page numbers.

Nevertheless, it is better to hear instead of merely reading. So if you feel short of time, you can use this feature. There is also a provision to control the speed and pause whenever you want, giving you more flexibility.

Let me know about your experience with ebooks and study techniques you use in the comments.

Audio notes: Engage your verbal senses

Today I want to share a common tip which people seldom use. You must have heard about the technique of audio notes but most of you might not have done it. DO IT. Recording your text notes in your own voice and listening to them is one of the best tips I ever learned.

When you read out a passage, you engage your visual as well as verbal senses and the probability of remembering stuff increases by 50%.

One of the best advantage of doing studies in this way is that you can do it anytime: waiting for a meal/line in a grocery store/on the bus etc. Just plug in your player and listen, Nobody will guess you are studying!

Here is a list of five handy apps to record audio notes.

Don’t forget to share your own study strategies in the comments!

Read, Write, Revise: 3 subject cycle

Hey there! Today I want to share a study strategy I use myself. Feel free to experiment and let me know if you improve on it.

I start by selecting 3 subjects, one descriptive(History), one numerical(Maths) and one conceptual(Science).

Step 1: I start by reading a section of history for 20 minutes. Then 5 minutes break. Then solving math problems(at least 10 problems or half an hour) followed by another 5 minute break. Then I try to understand one concept in science.

Step 2: For this cycle, write a summary of what you studied in previous step in history, 5 min break; do 10 sums in math, 5 min break; review the concept in science.

Step 3: Read another section in history(20 min), 5 min break; 10 problems in math, 5 min break; prepare flash cards of the concept you just learned in science.

Every step is about 20*3+5*3=75 minutes.

Now let’s say I’ve got 3 days left before my history paper. I modify my cycle as:

Step 1: I start by reading the summary of a section of history for 30 minutes. Then 5 minutes break. Then solving math problems(at least 5 problems or 15 minutes) followed by another 5 minute break.

Step 2: Review the summary you wrote in previous step(history), 5 min break; Revise 1-3 flash cards from previous day in science or, prepare one flash card followed by 5 min break;quickly go through  section 2 in history.

Step 3: Read  section 2 in history(30 min), 5 min break;  5 problems in math, 5 min break.

Repeat steps 1-3.

The key idea is to mix reading, writing, reviewing and recalling alternatively. If you read one section for 30 minutes, revise another for 10 minutes followed by writing the first section.

Let me know if this strategy worked for you!

Mix n Match: 2-3 subjects in a day

First of all, I know we tend to do everything at the last minute ending up with 1 subject in a day! But, if you start a little bit early, you can pull off the 2-3 subjects thing. I’m not asking to complete all subjects in one day, rather I’m saying that in stead of doing 1 subject each day, you are better off doing a bit of every subject everyday.

wrong way

 

right way

Advantages:

  1. You feel like you did a lot of work in a single day(which you might actually do)
  2. You don’t get bored with monotonous work
  3. Your brain performs a variety of tasks helping you to remember more
  4. Everyday you start with where you left off, thereby revising previous work automatically(less revision)

Caution: Don’t do more than 3. You will only end up getting an overview of each without getting actual study done.

Bonus tip: if worse comes to worse and you’ve got only one subject for the day, divide the syllabus into dissimilar units and do them in a cycle. e.g. lets say you’ve got to do math. You can try solving 20 question of algebra followed by 20 questions of geometry. The basic idea is to incorporate variety.

Read my next post to learn a type of study cycle I invented to get 3 subjects done in 3 days.

Save money: don’t buy textbooks

Hardbound textbooks are very, very expensive. They usually sit in your shelf and get picked up once in a blue moon. You don’t study everyday and your lecture notes and internet are quite enough. I’m not saying you don’t need the textbooks, I’m saying you don’t need their expensive version. 

DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON HARDBOUND TEXTBOOKS

You have alternate ways to access them without spending too much money

1. In the beginning of your semester ask your seniors if they can lend you their copies of textbooks. Usually a senior student is happy to give the book away rather than selling it.

2. Search the internet. Ebooks are much cheaper(most of them can be downloaded free, illegally though) and easily available. They are cheaper, easy to search in and to carry. Softwares like Foxit reader even allow you to underline, highlight or draw just like in the print.

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3. Search the book bank. Usually colleges have book banks for students where you can borrow the textbooks for the entire semester.

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4. There is always the library. However, libraries have some strict policies regarding the lending period and the upkeep of the book. Be responsible and return the book on time and in good condition.

Personally, I like the ebook version the best. I don’t have to worry about book condition or returning it or even losing it. Plus I can carry it anywhere.

I hope you find my tips useful. I post about saving money once every week. Keep reading!

Use distractions to motivate yourself

How many times does it happen that you sit down to study and your phone rings? Or you are searching for something on google and  you “accidentally” type Ryan Gosling?

Distractions on the TV, phone or the internet can be very tempting and consume a lot of  time. I know I completed 4 seasons of How I met your mother in one go because I had to know what happened next. I know I can’t stop myself from finishing a tv series once I start. Therefore, I decided to manage my time watching. I created a chain of studying and watching and thus managed to pull off both.

You can do it too. Use the distractions as a motivating force to help you study. Use them as reward for your hard work.

  1.  divide your work into easy, do-able segments of not more than half an hour.
  2. After completing one bit, watch your favourite drama for 5 mins or read that article about Angelina’s lip surgery.
  3. Get back to study.

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Be careful not to overdo it though. Too much distraction can kill your productivity. When you sit down to study, concentrate only on the book. Forget about other stuff. When you watch tv, only watch tv. Forget about studies.

Some ideas to do during the 5 min break:

1. Watch a drama

Here is a list of my favourite comedies which can be watched without too much stress.

2. Listen to a song

Do you have a collection of songs you need to sort out? Are there any songs you haven’t listened to even once? This is the time to sort them out. Listen to one song at a time and decide whether you wish to keep it or delete it.

3. Read an article on your favourite website

Here is a list of excellent websites which have interesting articles/pictures/videos that you can watch in 5 minutes. Here is my blog dedicated to finding the kind of articles you can read in 5 minutes.

4. Fold laundry/Organize your room

Give your messy room a nice clean up. Fold clothes, sort out your closet or simply vacuum. Alternatively, you can sort out stuff on your laptop.

5. Take a brisk walk

Nothing can beat a good physical exercise. Here is my post about tackling worry through taking a walk. Brisk walk can help organize your thoughts and calm your mind. It burns calories too!

6. Eat something light

Have a trail mix, small muffins, a packet of biscuits or a fruit by your study table. eat them during the break.

Do not eat a full meal, drink alcohol or sleep during the break. It will kill your focus.

There are a lot of other things you can do to motivate yourself. Keep in mind the goal is to find the best way to study. If you don’t think you can go back to your studies after a break, don’t do it. There are other ways to help yourself. I’m going to write about other ways to study effectively in the future, keep checking.