Learning how to learn – one of the most important in a successful student’s life. Studying effectively and getting higher grades are directly connected with how we learn things. Moreover, we need to realize studying has never been as terrifying an activity as some of us describe.
In order to study effectively, we need to change our perspective towards studying. It’s not a punishment you’re forced to face. Rather, it’s an opportunity to discover the powers and passion you have inside. Studying is like collecting the food that you will eat in the future! There is a Mongolian proverb that goes: “Pluck your brain now so you don’t have to pluck your fleshes in the future.”
The only person who is responsible for your life is you. Education is the bridge that connects us with countless opportunities we never even thought of! Study well, discover who you are, try your best, and there are many people and organizations who are eager to help you on your journey. We truly do live in an era full of opportunities!
A few tips I would like to share on learning to learn are:
1. Organize your personalized study space
For example, I prefer learning alone in a clean environment. Most of us have preferences and we tend to work best in our favorite spots. However, the biggest challenge is finding out what we like! Change your study place and habits often in order to find the ones that fit you. Be open to all the study options you discover and don’t limit your learning space to a chair and a bare desk.
2. Avoid negative thoughts while studying
I know how stressful school can get, and the worst thing you can do is to make yourself suffer by engaging your negative thoughts. Our thoughts can be difficult to manage, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to not to dwell on them. Habits such as reading instead of scrolling social media or removing toxic/negative people from your life can help you improve your outlook on life – and, by extension, studying.
3. Be your own teacher
If we want to truly do well in school, we should do more than what we were expected to do. Self-study certain topics that you find complicated or interesting! Set a deadline for yourself before the actual deadline and commit.
This pandemic has changed our studying routines as our classes. But, in the midst of the chaos, try to be your own teacher when you feel like what you are learning in school isn’t enough. Don’t forget that credible and reliable sources on the Internet are your best friends.
4. Read more & thoroughly
We tend to forget that most information taught in school is interconnected. By doing extra reading on diverse topics, you can enrich the quality of your learning. As a program that takes a holistic approach to material, the IB is perfect for making connections between subjects!
A few years ago, I found a helpful comment on Naver (Korean News Site) that went along the lines of: “Since I am really curious, I did a lot of research and reading on my own. I even kept a notebook called My Useless Curiosity. This allowed me to have a better perspective towards studying and tests never bothered me again. While creating a habit of reading on various topics, I never pulled the rough all-nighters that my friends used to do.”
5. Get rid of distractions!
Without even realizing it, almost half your studying time goes into distractions. Arnold Glass, a psychology professor at Rutgers University at New Brunswick, and Mengxue Kang, a graduate student, recently published a study in Educational Psychology proving how having technology beside us while studying results in poorer test scores. We tend to think that we are capable of multitasking and not shifting our attention to the notifications we receive, but it’s been proven that our brains can’t actually multitask.
So, turn off your phone notifications, delete applications for a few hours, and block sites on your computer to study better!
6. Start writing your academic goals in a separate notebook
I have a notebook for my school-related aspirations and it does wonders! I call it the “Academic Journal,” and write my academic goals in terms of weeks, months, and years. I even include some teachers’ compliments on my work, which cheer me on on the days I feel stuck. Most importantly, I include all the tips, tricks, and advice I learn from YouTube videos and blogs. This journal helps me to visualize my long-term goals, as well as keep me on track for my daily assignments.
“The pain of learning only lasts for a while, while the pain of not learning lasts forever.”