October 18, 2008

back to basics, back to nights

I spent the past four hours studying Austrian politics. It so happens that I'm the type of person that learns through writing things down. So before each exam I read and then I summarize by hand. After that everything is a chaotic mess so I'm bringing everything in order in a nice word file or on index cards, sometimes even both. Bringing the information in order helps me understand and see and make connections. I never understood how people could simply learn by heart, I need those connections. At that point the information has gotten really condensed and is sitting there in an almost mind-mapped sort of way. The big pro of that is that the connections show up well and some of the stuff will stick to me in picture form - although I don't have absolute photographic memory some of that is definitely going on in my brain. Not unpractical :)
However, I wish I had a different way of remembering stuff. A less exhausting, but mostly less time-consuming  way. Some people have to just read the material, others listened well in classes and don't have to do much studying after that. Which way do you learn?

Studying my way takes hours... plus: It seems my brain doesn't do shit during the day. No matter how much I've tried to change that, I just work better nights. For instance, I've tried studying during daytime since Monday - because I thought that I too have the claim to a human-style day-night-routine. Yeah... no such luck. I got a lot more done these past four hourse than the past four days. I'm interested: How and when do you study? Night owl or morning worker? Do you have to bother studying or are you one of those people who just know?

I'm going to go read some blogs now and then crash - at 5 a.m. ... what a healthy habit....

4 comments:

Maria said...

Wow. I thought that I was the only one who studied that way. I do the EXACT SAME thing. And it has served me really, really well over the years. You are absolutely right. It takes much longer, but the information sticks to your bones. To this day, I can recite so much information about certain phobias simply because I studied them by summarizing BY HAND everything that I needed to know and then condensed it with notecards.

I am trying to teach my daughter to study that way as well. I think it will serve her well.

mcCutcheon said...

Hi Maria! I don't seem to benefit as well from this method as you do in the long term, mostly because I always study too short term for something to really stick ;)
Maybe this method will be the right one for Liv too, IF she's the type for it. I'm pretty convinced it all comes down to what type of thinker you are (as shown in some NLP literature), whether you think in pictures or sounds or words. I tend to be a mixture, but for instance finn is totally a visual person - reads it and remembers it. Liv will probably benefit from the way of studying that fits her best.

btw: you can easily find out what type people are by looking more closely at their language. do they say "I hear ya" or rather "I see". Totally fascinating...

mcCutcheon said...

uch, I can be such a wisecrack. sorry. but nlp IS awesome.

Rebecca said...

Ok, I'm not going to lie- I didn't study all that much in college. I love to read and learn, but only if I don't HAVE to do it, so studying tended to fall by the wayside. But this is what works for me:

Night owl. Probably 8-midnight are my best hours for studying (also - best hours for tv. Coincidence?).

I skim the text and/or my notes. I write down the information I need to know (over and over), and while I write I read it out loud.

Not spending too much time on it. I take breaks for...anything, and I switch subjects/areas frequently.

Studying with other people. True, we usually end up talking more about America's Next Top Model or Tennessee Williams or Canada than about whatever we're supposed to be studying, but I still end up feeling more prepared and more confident.