How to Get the Most out of Studying: A Summarization of Questions Following Dr. Chew’s Video Series
In this blog post, I will detail the important things I took away from Dr. Chew’s video series “How to Get the Most out of Studying.” In the first video, he listed some common beliefs that make you fail and upon reflecting on my study habits, I realized that I had some of these beliefs. For example, I often forget that learning is not fast and that fully comprehending a subject takes time and effort. I get frustrated easily when I don’t understand things immediately and I often underestimate how much time and effort it will take to fully master a certain topic. I feel as though I have a pretty good metacognition, but my laziness sometimes persuades me to disregard how poorly I understand a topic. For example, last year during many physics units, I thought I could survive without fully comprehending the logic behind the equations. The result was a bit disastrous. This year I know that I will have to work a lot harder at learning many topics if I want to succeed.
In the next video, I learned some major keys to effective studying. What you think about while studying and “deep processing” are the most important. In order to develop a deep understanding of a topic, it helps to make deep connections with concepts by applying them to your own experience. To accomplish this, I can minimize distractions by creating a neat study environment where I try to put my phone away while I am studying. I can also get real with myself about how well I actually understand a topic. By recognizing when my understanding is weak, I can work hard to process the information on a deeper level and improve my comprehension. One way to accomplish deep processing is by practicing retrieval and application. I can do that for physics class by doing multiple different kinds of practice problems until I have mastered a topic.
In the third video, I learned six important aspects for optimizing learning and how I can apply them to improve my learning in this class.
1. Elaboration: making meaningful associations between the concepts being studied and related concepts. I can consider how new topics relate to previous units to create a foundation for new understanding.
2. Distinctiveness: clear contrast between the concepts being studied and other concepts. I can work to confidently know the differences between important concepts that seem similar by making an effort to understand the differences.
3. Relate concepts to my personal experiences. By staying on top of blog posts this year, I can take what I have learned and apply it to the real world.
4. Appropriate retrieval and application of material. I can practice real world problems and review and recall information from the videos and textbooks.
5. Automaticity: a process so highly practiced that it can be completed without any conscious effort. I will need to make a conscious effort to practice better study skills so that I can get the most out of studying.
6. Overlearning: continuing to study beyond just knowing the information to where it can be recalled quickly and easily. This year I cannot underestimate the amount of time and effort that is necessary to fully comprehend information. I have to work hard and keep practicing.
In the fourth video, I learned that it is important to generate questions about a topic. The questions should force you to compare and contrast, make connections, generate examples, recall facts, analyze concepts, or address key ideas. I learned that note taking is important even when watching videos because it helps you stay actively engaged in the material and limits distractions. I also learned that study groups can be very effective if everyone makes important contributions that help everyone learn and improve.
Finally, the fifth video discussed recovering from a failed exam. Here are some things to do to in the aftermath of a failed test:
· Don’t panic or go into denial
· Examine how you prepared and be honest with yourself
· Review the exam
· Talk with your teacher
· Examine your study habits
· Develop a plan
· Commit time and effort
· Minimize distractions
· Attend class
· Set realistic goals
· Don’t begin to slide
· Don’t give away points
DON’T PANIC AND GIVE UP!! Having good study habits that improve your learning will take time and effort and there may be setbacks along the way.
Since watching the Dr. Chew videos, I have unfortunately come close to failing an exam. Despite all that he said, I still did exactly what he said I would. I went in to the test feeling confident, thought the test went well, and was surprised to see that I had done so poorly. So this is what I have done so far and what I plan to do to get a better outcome next time.
1. I did panic a little at first, but I am trying to keep calm and carry on.
2. I realized that I was scrambling right before the test to finish all my work. I did not have enough time to thoroughly go over the information I learned to check for understanding. I also did not have enough time to do practice problems and develop automaticity.
3. I examined my study habits and found that I was not consistent and only did what I felt was the minimum amount necessary to succeed, which was clearly not enough.
4. My new game plan is to actually take the time every day to watch videos, read the textbooks, practice problems, ask questions, develop a better metacognition, and take the time to overlearn so that I can deeply process concepts and develop an accurate and complete understanding of topics as a whole.
5. I am going to use as much free time as I have to get the most out of studying and avoiding putting things off until the last moment possible.
6. Any time I am feeling discouraged or find myself at a major setback, I will not panic and go into denial. I will come back to this post, recollect myself and keep pushing forward because I believe in myself and I have the will power to succeed.