As the school calendar is reset at this half-year, it is time to get back on track with education. Here are 5 ‘smart’ learning hacks that will hopefully make this new start as smooth as possible.
1. Use text-books
It’s a fact. Most of us do not buy textbooks in the upper classes. We don’t use them at school. So why should we buy those big, stuffy books? While teacher-given-notes are reliable enough to pass our examinations, it’s a whole other business to learn those notes by heart for exam day. We often then find ourselves, cramming in the days leading to examinations, attempting to commit every single line to our brain precisely as they are written in our notebooks. If ever we don’t remember one of these lines on D-day, then it’s just too bad.
On the other hand, textbooks contain an extensive and comprehensive study of every chapter by people who most probably have doctorates in these fields. I have found – somewhat a little too late even – that textbook materials explain the concept behind every topic clearly, and straightforwardly that makes every teacher-given-notes clearer and more relatable – if that makes sense. Understanding concepts allows you to be able to formulate answers in your own words. This, in turn, makes you less likely to miss out on the opportunity to get an answer right. Understanding concepts will allow you to use your logical abilities to find the correct solution even in situations that you’re not very comfortable. Besides, while you are learning, it is better to get a more complete picture rather than just the one dictated by a syllabus. So, go get your textbooks today.
Note-taking can sometimes become bulky. Economic concepts can sometimes require students remembering half a dozen long paragraphs on one subtopic. Often, it gets crazy trying to retrieve from our brains all the complicated mechanisms and steps to synthesize a complex molecule from a simple one in Organic Chemistry. One of the most effective solutions to ease learning such dynamics is to create mind-maps. Mind-maps are summarized versions of all information contained in lengthy paragraphs. Rather than learning word-for-word everything written, students might find drawing mind-maps more interactive and easier to remember. Another tip here would be to add color and small drawings to your mind-maps. Our sub-conscious mind more easily processes and categorizes information through color and illustrations, and it gets easier to retrieve the stored information when we need them.
3. Watch videos by passionate individuals in your study fields
No one can better get you invested in something than those genuinely excited about that same field. Today, we have so many resources that help us learn. One of them is the internet. Going beyond our notes and textbooks, we can rely on those who are first-hand acquainted with the topics we are studying. Listening to those experts talk so passionately about their research or their take on the matter at hand can effectively transfer their zeal so that you, in turn, get interested and committed. This works not only through watching the actual videos but also by just listening to the person talk. You may also listen to podcasts or debates about the discussion. In so doing, one broadens one’s horizons and understanding. Such platforms offer an edge that can further break the discussion into yet more straightforward parcels and explain that a teacher might not necessarily have the time to cover in a class setting.
4. Don’t take learning as a burden
While it’s true that we are surrounded by many distractions, learning should never become trivial. Education is one of the best investments one can make in oneself. It takes several forms, but you need to determine the best type for yourself. That may be self-paced or undertaken with careful planning. Cramming knowledge is undesirable. A piece of good advice here would be to spread your workload over several days with clearly defined and set goals for each of the days. Make these goals realizable and stick to them each day. The goals can also be interactive and highly specific. Every one of us is different. You need to find the best formula that works for you.
5. Tutor others
An excellent way to self-evaluate your progress and know whether you well understood a concept is to, in turn, offer explanations to your peers. While you explain the different components of a particular topic, you acquire the confidence that this topic demands. You can share your learned knowledge with friends, siblings, and even parents. Here, we have a misconception that we are educated in an overly competitive system where sharing will be a disadvantage. Yet, sharing knowledge among friends can be one of the most productive things; lingering doubts are cleared, and you learn from them.