7 Study Tips For The Professional-In-Training
It is the job of school to prepare us for life. While there are many expectations placed on teachers and institutions to perform well, all too often there is a de-emphasis on the roles of the students themselves, and that’s counterproductive. Students have to step up if they hope to be successful in life. They need to get their education from somewhere, whether that means becoming self-taught or excelling in the school system. The student must treat his education like it’s his career, because it will ultimately lead to that. To help, we’ve put together these seven study tips for treating school more like a job and less like a burden. Follow these, and you will no longer be a student but a professional-in-training.
Study Tips No. One: Take Notes.
There are layers of learning techniques that, when put together, enable you to achieve mastery of a given subject. Hearing a lecture or doing a homework assignment or working in a study group — all of these things can add enrichment to your education. One of the most useful is the act of taking notes. Whether you’re reading a chapter silently to yourself or listening to a professor go on and on and on, getting your brain and your hand involved in the act of building knowledge is much preferred to simply listening to what was said and hoping some of it sticks. By becoming a more active worker — as taking notes allows you to do — you stand a better chance of becoming a better professional. Few people ever get ahead by allowing everyone else to do the work for them. Eventually, that gravy train will run out and you’ll be left with no marketable skills. Don’t fall into the trap when all you have to do to avoid it is take out a pen and sheet of notebook paper and get your hand moving.
No. Two: Type It Out.
Lectures and handwritten notes can be quite helpful to your success in the classroom, but if you wait too long, what makes sense in the beginning can quickly be lost to memory and messy scribbling. That’s why we suggest taking a little extra time after your class to head to the library or computer lab, isolate yourself in a quiet place with a computer or laptop handy, and type out your notes, filling in any gaps with what you may remember from lecture time. It’s entirely possible that your short-term memory will store all the info you need to get a clear understanding of the study topic. While many suggest recording the lecture and coming back to it later, we think you can save a lot more time and headache by tackling the data while it is still fresh in your head and off of your pen. You may even try to form a cohesive narrative with your transfer to the word processor. You can accomplish this by typing up notes in paragraph form. Doing so activates the analytical side of your brain and helps you solidify bits and pieces of information into a sustained, coherent narrative.
No. Three: Get App For The Challenge.
Mobile apps have done so much to make our lives easier. Duolingo allows you to brush up on your foreign language skills. There are numerous testing apps for specific exams that allow you to delve deep into the subject matter. Many of the classics are available for free on the Kindle and Nook apps. And you can even find math help if you’re having difficulty working out formulas, equations, and word problems. Yes, this is the best time ever for facing challenging material. But in order to capitalize, you have to use your smartphone for more than a texting device.
No. Four: Set And Manage Your Goals.
If your goals aren’t specific, then you don’t really have them; you instead have aspirations. And while aspirations can be nice and well-meaning, they have no discernible path of action. No, if you want to get anywhere, then you must do. That means going beyond, “Learn Chapter 3.” It means understanding all of the individual concepts that Chapter 3 presents. Once you’ve broken those down, it means extracting the nuts and bolts of what make them true. It means your goals must be S.M.A.R.T., or “specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related,” according to Collegian Online.
For it to be specific, there must be something that you can improve upon — something within your control. For it to be measurable, you have to be able to see whether you succeeded. Assignable? It must be a goal that an individual or a study group can take charge of. Realistic? It must be doable. Time-related? It has to be accomplishable by a certain period of time (i.e. the next test day or before the end of the semester, etc).
No. Five: Get Ahead Early.
There are going to be times at the start of the school year where the information and material is less challenging than it will be throughout the rest of the term. Use this time to work ahead and foresee roadblocks, stumbling paths, and challenges. Every professional knows that things don’t stay easy forever. Competition arises or variables become harder to calculate. Forces beyond your control keep you from getting work done. By charging ahead in the first two weeks to one month of the year, you can stay nimble and prevent yourself from falling behind.
No. Six: Clock In.
Come ready to work, and treat your school life as if it is your career. That means you should view it as a 9-to-5 job. We know that can be tough when you’re not getting paid for it, or when you’re not paying the college tuition yourself, but think of college and technical schools as a proving ground. This is where you prove you’re worth the big bucks that you want to make. The majority of students won’t have the same gusto, so if you do, you’re a step ahead of the competition before you ever get that first job offer.
No. Seven: Envision Success.
Have dreams. Grow your confidence. Know you’re going to succeed, and how you’re going to succeed, and it will then become easier to carve viable career paths for making sure those successes are met.
While school doesn’t exactly leave you with a 9-to-5 salary, it does factor in significantly to your future success. At least, it does if you let it. The best thing you can do is to not let your cart out before the horse. Have a plan for the school year and then for the semester. Don’t get overburdened with what may happen five years from now; instead worry about what is happening now, and what you can do to make it better.