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Back to school.

Back to (study) basics.

It’s been said that what we learn with pleasure, we never forget. To help you and/or your child prepare for September’s influx of ideas, here are twenty tips designed to increase your favorability regarding the learning process.

20 Quick ‘n’ Easy Study Tips

1. Take a moment to skim the material before beginning to read it.

2. Let typographical aids point you to important material.

3. Interact with the material: underline, write questions in the margin, etc.

4. Use “advance organizers.” This is a term coined by Hilda Taba, a curriculum theorist. She believed if you can segment the material to be learned into an outline before studying it, you will be able to comprehend and retain it much more easily.

5. Try to study important information when you are well-rested.

6. Take stretch and mental breaks.

7. Snack on foods rich in beta carotene (apricots and carrot sticks, for example).

8. Visualize. Imagine your mind as a huge filing cabinet, waiting to be filled with

valuable information.

9. Create an environment conducive to study.

10. Have paper and pencil ready to record both relevant and irrelevant thoughts that

occur to you as you are trying to ingest this new information.

11. Before starting to study, determine how much time you can allocate. Determine, too, when you will take a break and how much you intend to cover. Stick to your schedule.

12. Periodically, change the type of material you are studying or change the seat in which you are sitting. When you take a break, try to leave the area and get some fresh air or stop in the rest room and splash cold water on your face.

13. Review what you have learned every 20 minutes or so.

14. John Dewey noted that the first step in learning in confusion. Expect some discomfort when you encounter new knowledge. Convince yourself that you can

plow through.

15. Improve your receptivity toward the learning by reminding yourself of its ultimate importance.

16. Know your chronologically best times for study and try to limit yourself to one

intense hour at a time.

17. Make note of especially interesting facts you come across and share them with a

colleague as soon as possible.

18. Tape a large sheet of paper to a wall. After 15 or 20 minutes of study, walk over to it and write on it the main points you’ve acquired. When you sit down again, compare what’s on the sheet to what’s in front of you. If you’ve omitted any critical points, go back to the sheet and add them.

19. Prior to taking a break, stand and pretend you are addressing an audience of that your boss has asked for a summary of what you’ve learned so far. Without referring to the material, try to capture its main points and speak them aloud.

20. At least once during your study session, close your eyes and silently review what stands out in your mind. Then make notes regarding what you thought about during this time–questions, concerns, additional ideas. 

Get Involved

Benjamin Franklin is remembered for far more than kite-flying and bifocals. Among his many valuable insights is this on the topic of learning: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Interact with new knowledge as much as you can. Involve your brain, involve your family, involve yourself.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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