If you didn’t already know, hi, my name is Ihuoma and I am a college kid now. I’m currently doing a bachelor’s degree in engineering and as we know getting a degree or just going to school in general calls for one thing: Studying
I love learning, seriously! I get excited at the thought of learning new things, but I’m also a teenager and everyone knows it’s hard for most teenagers to sit down and read, not with all these technologies distracting us at least.
Still, as a student, I have to study and even though I wish I could do that by just watching YouTube tutorials everytime, I’m afraid it still entails reading a textbook or a hardcopy material from time to time. This is why I sought out a good way to make myself read effectively and finally came up with a reading plan that works really well for me and I’m positive will work for just about anyone.
This system can be effective whether you’re studying art subjects (that requires more of reading), or science subjects (that will involve calculations).
So without further ado, here is how I study any learning material effectively in five simple steps;
1. Pre Reading/Skimming
This is my first and easiest step. Here, I like to go over the table of contents of the material to know how many chapters are in it, the sub-chapters, headings, etc. This is a very simple and quick step and it doesn’t take much time at all (takes me about five to ten minutes only, depending on the size of what I’m reading).
2. Previewing Chapters
This is skimming over each individual chapter to get it’s main idea. In this step, I briefly go over the headings and leading paragraphs under each subheading to get an idea of what to expect when reading the chapter.
Sometimes I do this a few minutes before I read that chapter, other times I may just do it to get an overview of the particular chapter which I may read perhaps on another day.
This step is extremely important because this is when I tend to figure out the complexity of the topic and decide if I’m going to use external resources (like YouTube) to get some basic concepts before I actually read it for the best understanding.
This is the normal reading process. Recently, I like to read with a pencil to underline key and important points. Prior to this, I usually read with my pen and note in hand to jot down important points, but I realised this method slows me down and is actually kind of tedious, so I stopped.
It’s much more easier to underline key points as you read, than having to stop constantly to write them down in a notepad. Not only is that time consuming, but it can actually wear you out thereby demotivating you so I’d suggest underline or circling important points while reading just like I do, or even use a highlighter if you have one.
4. Note making/ rereading
Here, I take my pen and note (which I used to do in the previous step) and jot down the underlined points I made while reading.
This is also the time that I reread to fully understand the parts I may not have understood at first. If after rereading I still struggle to understand, then I look for tutorials elsewhere (probably on YouTube because I’m obsessed!).
If you’ve read my article on top five underrated study tips every student should know, you would know that YouTube is a very big part of my study life.
YouTube helps me understand topics better especially in subjects like physics and chemistry. One of my favourite YouTube channels (not sponsored btw) is the Organic Chemistry tutor. His videos are so explanatory! He breaks down every single detail of a topic to the simplest basics and gives practical examples too.
Some other YouTube lesson tutorial channels I’d recommend for science students include: Khan academy, Professor Dave explains and Don’t Memorise
It is important to note that when taking notes, you should try and make it as brief as possible by only including the important points. You don’t want to photocopy your textbook into your note as that is extremely unnecessary and probably wasteful as well (Gotta save our trees!)
At this point, I leave my textbook aside and focus on reading and memorising the key points in my note. If I am reading a science subject such as maths or physics, this is also when I tend to solve questions to test my understanding on the topic. If they’re some difficult questions which I fail in this part, then I go back to rereading the textbook again (or watching YouTube tutorials) till I finally get it.
If I am not reading for an exam or the exam is not fast approaching yet, then I may reread using the textbook just for the sake of it, but I find it more helpful to revise with a made note rather than the textbook as this sorts our important information from the remaining content and makes memorisation easier.
That’s it for my study routine. I know it seems long and tedious but trust me it’s actually not! Some times I may accomplish three out of these five steps in one go or even the entire five! (If what I’m reading is easy or not too complicated).
I hope these helped you, if you’re feeling unmotivated to read then you should probably read this article on how to make yourself WANT to study!
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Stay Safe, Stay Happy.