Monthly Archives: December 2011

Developing Good Study Habits

Tip # 14:                               The End of the Chapter

This is the last in my series on developing good study habits, which brings me to the end of the chapter.  If your teacher is not currently having you read the summaries and do the questions at the end of your chapter, then you should do them on your own  The summaries at the end of the chapter highlight the important parts of the chapter.  The questions at the end of the chapter ask questions on all of the important facts and concepts discussed in the chapter.  If you do these, then this is a good review of all that was discussed in the chapter.

By doing the questions at the end of each chapter, you will discover what you do know and what you still have to study.

Yes, studying takes organisation and work, but the rewards are worth all of that hard effort.  As you see your grades improve you will be glad you implemented these good study habits.

Developing Good Study Habits

Tip # 13:                      The Study Buddy System

Friends studying together should not be a time for socialization and just having fun.  Studying is serious business.  But there is a place for studying together and that is the study buddy system.  When do you want a study buddy?  Studying mathematics with the use of a buddy is an effective way to learn math.  The adage, “two heads are better than one” seems to true here.  In the study halls and student lounges at the large university where I worked in Canada, I often saw Chinese students sitting together, discussing Math problems and Engineering and Science numerical problems.  There was a consensus on campus that Chinese students, overall, did better than the mainstream Canadian students in Math courses.  This achievement was contributed in part to their use of the study buddy system.

Dr. Gill, a Mathematics professor at an American university states that when studying Mathematics, students can often benefit from the study buddy system.  He is a product of this study method.  During his high school years he had 2 or 3 good friends with whom he studied.  All were Grade “A” students.  They would get together to study and discuss math problems together.  Where one student may not fully understand the concept, or equation, another buddy would.  This way they worked together to achieve a common end – high grades.  They were also competitive.  They all strived to outdo each other in exams.  This friendly competition could result in Dr. Gill, , as a high school student, complaining that he only got 96% whereas one of his buddies got 98% in a math test.  So next time the one who got the lowest strived to outdo his high scoring buddies.

Some things just have to be studied alone.  But there is a definite place in studying Math and numerical problems with a buddy.  If you are fortunate enough to have a friend who makes decent marks, see if you can’t study together to discuss, coach and teach each other math.  You might just be glad you did because your marks will show the proof of this study method.

Once in a Blue Moon

“I only get a day off once in a blue moon.”  Have you ever heard someone say something like that?  Have you ever used the expression ‘once in a blue moon’?  What do English speakers mean when they say once in a blue moon? How often is a blue moon anyway?

We would love to hear your thoughts and answers on this trivia question.

Developing Good Study Habits

Tip # 12:                      Review, Review and Review

There are two main places you should review.  One place is during your study period.  Review the lecture notes you took in class.  As you redo your lecture notes, this will be a good review.  Once you think you have finished preparing or an exam, review what you have studied.  Make a summary of all that you have studied.  Get that overall or macro view of your subject material, be it Math, Science, English, or any other subject.  If you read a chapter, an essay, a short story, whatever, before closing the book; review what you have just read.  You should have an overview of what is important in the reading.  Know the main points of what you just read.  This is a very central part to effective studying.

The second place to review is during the exam.  Being the first one to finish the exam isn’t necessarily a measurement that confirms you are a genius.  Once you have finished your exam and you still have time to review what you have written/answered go over the exam.  Check your answers.  Did you forget anything?  In your Math exam, did you remember all the steps to solve the equations?  Check for possible omissions or errors.  This is the time to fix them before turning in your paper.  Did you answer all of the questions or did you forget to answer something?

Now you have checked everything over and you are satisfied that you have answered everything to the best of your ability.  Now turn in your exam.

Developing Good Study Habits

Tip # 11 Practice Makes Perfect

Does Maths frighten you? Is it your worst subject? Is it the one subject that you are failing, or if not failing, then it is that one subject where you have the lowest marks?

Maths requires a good teacher. A good teacher will go through plenty of examples in class so the student can see the process themselves and the student will have the opportunity to ask questions so they can understand the process. They will not leave the student to do ‘self-studies’ just because the answers are in the back of the Maths textbook. Secondly a good teacher will give lots of assignments prior to an exam so that the student is forced to practice.

If you are not so fortunate to have a good Maths teacher, or if you are still struggling in spite of having a good teacher, you can still learn better study methods for maths.

Math is logical. There is a method, a rhyme and reason, a methodical way of understanding the concepts, applying the principles and following the logical steps to solving the problem. Think of Maths in steps – first, second and third, etc. It is essential to understand the concepts. If your teacher cannot help you, find someone who can; a relative, a friend or a tutor. (At Alberta Rose Education Centre we provide meaningful learning so the student understands the concepts.) Then do the problems. Once you have mastered one problem, don’t leave it. Try doing a full exercise of 10 – 20 or more of the same kind of equations/problems. If you run out of problems or equations to solve, try the Internet. There are some excellent Math sites that not only explain the concepts but also give you exercises with answer sheets so you can do a self-study. One that I recommend is www.emathematics.net, but there are other good ones on the Internet as well.

Dr. Gill, a mathematics professor at a university in Pennsylvania, USA says that the best way to learn Math is repetition and to study hard. By sheer repetition you will have the formula, the method, the principles embedded in your mind and you will not forget how to do your Maths. By the way Physics and other sciences also have numerical problems. The same principles can be applied to your Physics as well as Maths.