Developing Good Study Habits

Tip # 5:                       Categorize Vocabulary

Whether you are studying Social Studies, English, any of the Sciences such as Biology, Science or Physics there will be vocabulary words to learn.  Even in Maths there are mathematical terms to learn.  When we are presented with a large number of words and terms to learn, how do we best learn them?

If you try to learn vocabulary just by re-reading again and again a large list of words or terms, you will not be able to recall many of these words.  People learn new information better if they categorize them into groups.  Once they have done that they can associate these words with some meaningful grouping.  Breaking the words down into smaller units makes it easier to recall them.

For example if you have just covered a chapter in your textbook on the different kinds of trees, you may be required to learn not only their common names but their scientific Latin names and whether they are coniferous or deciduous trees, etc.  Maybe you also need to know where these trees usually grow.  Put your vocabulary list of trees into categories such as:  temperate zone, alpine zone, arid zone and tropical zone.  Then list your trees.  For example the spruce tree (Picea) is a coniferous tree and is most often found in temperate and alpine zone.  So you could put it under your Alpine Zone category or both categories.  Beside it write the letter C to stand for Coniferous.  In the same way add a D for Deciduous.

By breaking it down into smaller units, you will find it easier to remember the terms or words, you will remember them by important categories (that you need to know anyway) and you will remember all the important details you need to know about trees because you have made a table of associations.

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