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HOW TO STUDY

CAN HARD WORK BEAT INTELLIGENCE???

By
Fabien Wandi
DEDICATION

To my parents, my siblings, and the rest of my family, with whom i not bounded
only by love but by our blood and ancestral roots.
To my friends all over the nation who have given a listening ear and supported the
realization of this book.
To all the students who are not only willing to study the book but also implement it
in their career of studies.
To you reading it.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Realizing a piece of work of this nature can never be the effort of an individual.
First, I want to sincerely acknowledge God for seeing me through, from the
beginning to the end of this work. I want to say that He is more the author of this
book.
Special thanks go to my mom Mrs. Wandi Mabel, for her educational legacy from
whom I drew the inspiration in writing this book.
It is my radiant sentiment to place on record my best regards, deepest sense of
gratitude to my family, most especially to Mr. Ntah Felix, Mr. Wandi Spartan,
Mrs. Elizabeth Kenoh, Mrs. Kullu Nelly, Mr. Boniface Goneh, Mbekeneh
Seraphine, Fung-koh Manuel, Bonekeh Emile and others who motivated me.
A hand of applause to all my friends who encouraged me in the realisation of this
project.
Many thanks equally go to Miss Agu Alesis for the editing of this work.

EPIGRAPH.
Education
The light of our life
A gift of academic rife
The key to a bright and rewarding future
Glue that joins our dreams like a suture
A path to divine success
A smooth drive to our greatness.

Education
It gives our thinking a different appearance
And helps drive away all our ignorance.
It leads us to the path of prosperity
And gives our tomorrow a sounding security.

Education
The process of teaching and learning
Which will help us in our future earning.

Education
Shaping our true character is its motto
Leading to a successful life is its major factor.

Education
The progressive discovery of our true self
And exploitation of the potentials of oneself.

Education
A better safeguard of liberty than a standing army
A life boat that sees us through the days which are stormy.

Education
A torch of academic brilliance
And backbone of inner resilience.
Education
The key to unlock the golden door of freedom
And stage our rise to stardom.

Education
A life sustaining material
Without it we can’t lead a life which is congenial.

Education
Not all about bookish knowledge
But is also about practical knowledge.

Education
Makes a person stand up on his toes
And helps a person to fight all his foes.

Education
A fundamental foundation
For any country, state or nation.

Education
A thick line between right and wrong
A ladder that takes us to the height where we belong.

Education
Mother of all professions
That helps us acquire all our possessions.

Education
It is our right
For in it our future is bright.
Unknown author

Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that


the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can
become the head of the mine, that a child of a farm worker can become president
of a great nation.
Nelson Mandela
Can hard work beat intelligence?
Hard work will always beat intelligence, only if intelligence doesn’t work hard
enough. You cannot evaluate how intelligent or gifted you are.
What is intelligence?
Is it the ability to memorize a book word by word, Or the ability to rationalize and
be creative in order to create new models for the world?
Intelligence is something that's innate, something inborn. It is the ability for rapid,
sharp, accurate thought processing. You can’t control it. It is generally measured
using the Intelligence Quotient which we all call IQ in our routine life.
What you can control is how hard you work. This is where you need to excel. If
you create an outstanding work ethic, it will compound over time and you will get
further than any person who just bets only on their intelligence.
If a book has a single page that can improve on your performance and grades, just
that page justifies your reading that book, rereading it and putting it in your library.
This book has several of such pages. It will help you study smart and hard.
Working hard beats being smart. Working smart, beats working hard. This book
will help you study smart and hard and that will bring out the genius in you.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination,
and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the
moment you die, is a process of learning”.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

INTRODUCTION.
Study is the devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic
subject, especially by means of books. According to the community of critical
thinkers, all thinking occurs within, and across disciplines and domains of
knowledge and experience, yet few students learn how to think well within those
domains. Despite having taken many classes in school, few students are able to
think biologically, chemically, geographically, sociologically, anthropologically,
historically, artistically, ethically, or philosophically. Students study literature, but
do not think in a literary way as a result. They study poetry, but do not think
poetically. They do not know how to think like a reader when reading, or how to
think like a writer while writing, or how to think like a listener while listening.
Consequently they are poor readers, writers, and listeners. This book is going to
impact learning skills in students and help them know how to study. This will play
a vital role in their thinking.
To study well and learn any subject, is to learn how to think with self discipline
within that subject. It is to learn to think within its logic, to:
• raise vital questions and problems within it, formulating them clearly
and precisely.
• gather and assess information, using ideas to interpret that information
insightfully.
• come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against
relevant criteria and standards.
• adopt the point of view of the discipline, recognizing and assessing, as
needs be, its assumptions, implications, and practical consequences.
• communicate effectively with others using the language of the
discipline and that of educated public discourse.
• relate what one is learning in the subject to other subjects and to what
is significant in human life.
To become a skilled learner is to become self-directed, self-disciplined, self-
monitored, and self-corrective. When you sit down to study, how do you transfer
that massive amount of information from the books and notes in front of you to a
reliable spot in your mind? You need to develop good study habits and methods.
At first, it will take a good deal of conscious effort to change your studying ways,
but after a while, it will become second nature, and studying will be easier to do.
Why is it that some students study really hard, but are not the best in their age
group or get “only” average grades? And why is it that there are other students who
do not even invest half the amount of time and effort into their studies, but get
good or even outstanding results? Here is how you can study smart instead of
wasting countless hours of your valuable time. Intelligence certainly plays a role.
But the way you study can make or break your success. Some students read while
some study and that has a great impact on their performance. Now let us take a
close look at reading and studying.
Oxford Dictionary defines Studying as the devotion of time and attention to
acquiring knowledge on an academic subject, especially by means of books.
Reading might be understanding, but not acquiring, but studying is definitely
understanding and acquiring knowledge. The studying and reading processes
correlate with each other, i.e. reading helps in the studying process. These are two
processes which are totally different in nature and performance; studying is a
process in which you need to completely devote your time to the thorough
understanding and assimilation of the content, while reading is the process of
looking at and understanding the meaning of the content. In this book the word
study and read are interchangeable but the book as whole talks about study.
To study well requires you to develop your thinking about studying and, as a
result, to learn how to engage in the process of what we call close reading. You do
not only need to learn how to determine whether a text is worth reading, but also
how to take ownership of a text’s important ideas. This requires the active use of
intellectual skills. It requires command of the theory of close reading as well as
guided practice based on that theory. When you read, you translate words into
meanings. The author has previously translated ideas and experiences into words.
You must take those same words and re-translate them into the author’s original
meaning using your own ideas and experiences as aids. Accurately translating
words into intended meanings is an analytic, evaluative, and creative set of acts.
Unfortunately, few are skilled at translation. Few are able to accurately mirror the
meaning the author intended. They project their own meanings into a text and
unintentionally distort or violate the original meaning of authors they read.
The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more
places you'll go.
CHAPTER ONE.
UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF IN STUDIES.
When building a memory in the brain, the journey goes through the three stages of
the brain’s memory storage system.
The Sensory Memory (SM): Sensory memory holds sensory information
for less than one second after an item is perceived.
The Short-Term Memory (STM): Short-term memory is also known as
working memory. Short-term memory allows recall for a period of several
seconds to a minute without rehearsal. Its capacity is also very limited.
The Long-Term Memory (LTM): The storages in sensory memory and
short-term memory generally have strictly limited capacities and durations,
which means that information is not retained indefinitely. By contrast, long-
term memory can store much larger quantities of information for potentially
unlimited duration (sometimes a whole life span). Its capacity is
immeasurable.
During these stages, tremendous amount of information is filtered out. Your goal
as a student is to select learning strategies that maximize retention and
minimize loss of important information. Your attentiveness essentially signals
the brain, “Hey, that’s important!” and depending on the way you take the
information into the brain, some STMs will be lost and some will enter long-term
storage. Information becomes knowledge through connections. If you cannot relate
to a complex topic, it will be very difficult to understand it. But when you discover
similarities and link new knowledge with concepts that you already comprehend,
understanding the matter becomes easier. Every one of us is applying different
studying methods; some of them are very effective while others are not because we
have not yet understood which studying method applies to us. There are different
types of ways to easily drive information from the short term to the long term
memory. These include Visual, Auditory, Emotional and Kinesthetic ways. Most
of us are combining these types unconsciously. For you to bring forth great results,
you need to know if you are a visual, auditory, emotional or kinesthetic learner.
Visual learners:

You might be a visual learner if:


• You like to view issues from different angles.
• You prefer to process information through graphs, diagrams and info graphics.
• You have an easy time memorizing visual patterns.
• You are great at recalling faces.
• You like to map out problems.
A Visual learner can study in an effective way when the learning material is
depicted in a virtual way. Imagine the subject matter as vivid as possible. Instead
of recognizing the fact that the material he studies consists of numbers, words, and
sentences, he thinks of it in pictures. By doing so, a visual learner directs a movie
in his mind that will help him to memorize facts faster and for a longer period. For
example in the form of charts, maps or brainstorming. In order to study effectively,
you should try to transfer the learning material into tables, charts or whatever that
suits you most. Another very helpful tip is to highlight important notes in your
study material with colorful markers.

Emotional Learners:

Connecting emotions with subject will greatly help an emotional learner to


internalize the topic. Have fun while studying! It is a fact that remembering things
we associate intensive feelings with is by far easier. Also, if you are really
interested in a subject matter, learning becomes a lot more joyous. Emotional
learners can improve their study skills by associating feelings and emotions
towards their studying material. There are many students that the most effective
way for them to remember something is by associating emotions with the topic that
they would like to memorize. If you are an emotional learner, you easily remember
something you love or hate. Associating feelings of love for a topic, subject, and
teacher can make you remember what is taught easily.
Auditory Learners:

Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. An


auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning.
Auditory learners must be able to hear what is being said in order to understand.
They also use their listening and repeating skills to sort through the information
that is sent to them. An Auditory learner can study most effectively when he can
hear the material that needs to be remembered. Class attendance is very important
to an auditory learner and students. If you are an auditory learner, you should never
miss a class or if you do, do a follow up with other students to explain what was
said in class. If you are an auditory learner, you can study by recording your voice
when reading the most important notes and mentioning the most important aspects
or points of a topic loudly. Afterwards, you can listen to what you have recorded
and visualize the important aspects. After you have finished listening to your
record, you can try to summarize what you just heard by explaining it to another
person. Another very effective way for you as an auditory learner is to join
learning groups where you can speak with like-minded people about the study
material.
Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners can study most effective when they can experience what they
have to study. “Learning by doing” would be an excellent description for a
kinesthetic learner, as they seek for distraction while studying (TV, music, etc.)
and want to experience their studies more physically. This can be achieved by
changing the study place more often, walking around the room or studying while in
activities such as ironing, eating, etc. Besides this, it is important to experience the
study material, which can be achieved by visualizing what needs to remembered. It
is very important to note that the kinesthetic studying method only works for
kinesthetic learners as they tend to distract the other learning types. If you are a
kinesthetic learner, you can study well when you do something you love when
studying. There are very few kinesthetic learners.
CHAPTER TWO.
FACTORS INFLUENCING STUDIES.
There are some factors that when you put them into consideration, they will make
the brain calm and permit it to easily send information to the long term memory.
1. Creating a positive study environment.
A proper study environment can play a big role when it comes to retaining
information. Where you study can be just as important as the study material.
Students taking classes online, generally have more control over a designated study
space compared to on-campus students, but it is still important to find that one
optimal place to study. Everyone has his/her own idea about the best place and
time to study. Whether it is in the bedroom at night or the library after school, you
can find a study space and a regular study time that works for you and stick with it.
A study space should be quiet, comfortable and distraction-free. It should make
you feel happy and inspired and decorated with your favourite pictures or objects.
If you can study with music you should select a good background sound and enjoy
during studies.
Here are some tips to help create a workspace that will be most effective for you
during study sessions.
• Comfortable environment.
Being comfortable in a study space is about finding balance. You should not be so
comfortable that you cannot focus or stay awake. Sitting at a desk or table with a
comfortable chair is usually the best way to go. Doing homework in bed might be
relaxing, but it may send the brain signals associated with nap time instead of study
time. Overall, everyone knows his body better than anyone. You should choose a
place that best fits your current mood. Keeping the study space clean and
organized can also help improve study time. An unorganized or messy study area
can be a distraction. Whether it is not being able to find the right paperwork, or a
stinky smell from old food, a study space that is unorganized will also be
ineffective.
• Diminish the distractions
You should identify your distractors. Minimizing them will help you focus on your
work. Cell phones are great for finding information and staying updated on the
latest news, but they can also be big distractors. In general, you should stay off
your cell phone during study time. If you trust yourself to keep it on, set it aside
and let friends and family know that it is study time and you will talk to them later.
It is typically best to stay off social media as well, unless it is absolutely relevant to
getting work accomplished. Keeping these distractions under control while in a
study space, can help improve focus and information retention in you.
2. Study time and time management.
Everyone thinks they know what the best time to study is, but the reality is that
each person is different and there is no clear winner from a scientific point of view.
There are some people who get more out of studying at night while others find the
best time to study to be in the morning or the afternoon. In terms of objective
reasons for both sides, I researched the following benefits which try to answer once
and for all what the best time to study
• 4 Benefits of Studying During the Day.
1. After a good night’s sleep, you’ll likely have more energy and a higher ability to
concentrate the next day.
2. Society is structured around being active during the day and sleeping at night.
So, by sticking to this norm there are undeniable benefits such as being able to go
to the library or book shop.
3. Most people are contactable during the day, so it is easier to communicate with
your friends or teachers during the day if you have any questions.
4. Natural light is better for your eyes. Artificial light hurts our eyes and can affect
our natural sleep rhythm.
• 4 Benefits of Studying at Night
1. People are more active, louder and intense during the day. At night it is only you
and the night owls so you can study in peace and quiet.
2. If you are lucky enough to live near a library that is opened late, you will notice
that the library is almost deserted when you want to study late.
3. At night, there are fewer distractions than during the day. Most of your friends
are asleep and your social networks will be less active.
4. It is true that things look different by night. The night can increase your creative
efficacy and help you see concepts differently.
Some students work better in the morning. Others work better at night. Work out
which time suits you and plan to study then. You shouldn’t study much later than
your usual bedtime. If you study in the night - pushing yourself late at night can
make you too tired to study properly. Most often the brain is very calm in the
morning and can easily store information. The study time is as important as the
material to be studied also. Study time management is the process of applying
skills and techniques to save time, study efficiently, set aims and reach study goals
effectively. If you apply study time management, you will be able to beat
procrastination and focus your full attention on your studies, which will finally
allow you to spend more time with leisure activities. Applying proper study time
management strategies can help you to save time and stress; plus: it will enable
you to spend more time on your hobbies and spare time activities. Furthermore, it
will help you to empower your study efforts as you will be able to spend more time
on important subjects. To effectively study, make a weekly schedule and devote a
certain amount of time per day to studying. This will have a profound increase in
your performance and grades. That amount will vary depending on the educational
level, and also varies by field of study. You should make sure you stick to your
schedule as much as possible but you should not be afraid to go off the plan
sometimes to study more for the most recent upcoming exam. Make sure this study
plan is realistic and not impossible. You should not forget to schedule in
everything, from eating, dressing, and commuting, to labs and scheduled classes.
• Time management tips.

Studying at any level requires good time management, and if you find yourself
struggling to meet deadlines, or you feel overwhelmed with work, or you
frequently end up having to stay up late into the night to finish off a piece of
homework, this is a sign that you need to work on your time management skills.
This means becoming more organised, keeping a list of what needs to be done and
when, and getting started on homework as soon as you are set, rather than putting it
off. It also means being more disciplined with your routine: getting up earlier,
planning out your day, and making maximum productive use of the time you
allocate to each of your subjects. Below, you will find more time management and
general productivity tips.
• Prepare a Term Schedule/Calendar:
You only have24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. Effective study time
management means that you use your given time in the most efficient way.
You will only have one, four or even more hours a day that you can invest in
your studies, depending on your leisure activities. Therefore it is important to
prepare a regularly updated term schedule/calendar.
• Use study time efficiently:
You will have to accomplish different duties and tasks beside your studies,
which means that you need to use the given time as efficiently as possible for
your studies. You should make sure that you do not get interrupted while
studying; not from the TV, music, telephone or anything else, depending on the
type of learner you are. You can get more done within less time by applying
power sessions, where you focus all your attention only on your studies.
A power session is a defined amount of time (from 30 minutes up to one and
a half hour) where you can focus all your attention on the completion of
specific tasks. The effectiveness of such a power session lies in the
advantage of not being interrupted in any kind of way, be it emails, internet
or anything else.
• Stop Procrastination:
To be successful, you need to do what you are supposed to do even when you don’t
feel like doing it. One of the biggest obstacles you might face while applying
effective study time management is procrastination, which is correlated to
discipline. Every student is affected by procrastination once in a while or
continuously. The desire to avoid specific tasks comes within boredom, fear or
similar concerns. Not getting started will lead to stress and anxiety, which are very
negative emotions during studies. Luckily, you can overcome procrastination by
applying the following study time management technique: create smaller sub-goals
and sub-tasks. You will notice that a subtask will help you to get started with your
studies and will get you motivated to do the next tasks as well.
• Get an Organizer:
Another useful study time management technique is to have an organizer. This
could be a Smartphone, a college block or some sort of homework booklet. Keep a
weekly or monthly planner or use a journal. Try making “to do” lists, or using a
phone calendar to keep track of assignments and important dates and events.
Relying on “just remembering” can be difficult for you.
Set alarms - Set alarms to remind you about your study plans. A regular reminder
keeps you honest and your plans on track.
Use a wall planner - Stick a calendar or wall planner up so you can see it
whenever you are studying. Mark it up with important dates, like exams and
assignment due dates.
Make to-do lists - Lists break tasks down into manageable chunks. At the start of
the week, you should make a list of the things that you need to have done by the
end of the week. Make a to-do list at the start of each study session too, so that you
can be clear about what you need to be doing with your time.
Set time limits - Before you start your study session, you should have a look at
your to-do list and give yourself time to spend on each task. If you can’t get
something done in the set time, you should consider whether it's the best use of his
time to keep going with it, or to start working on something else.
• Study every day
Make studies a habit. If you study a little bit every day you will be continually
reviewing things in your mind. This helps you to understand things. You should
have this on the back of your mind “My exams are not far, what have I learned
today?”. It also helps you avoid the stress of last-minute cramming. Early in the
year an hour or two on studies might be enough to stay on top of things. Later in
the year you might need to study more each day. If you are finding it hard to find
time to study, you should cut back on some (but not all!) of your other activities.
Prioritising study might mean spending less time online, or it might mean cutting
hours off other duties, or giving weekend sport a miss for a while.
4. Reading for a Purpose
Success in its simplest term is accomplishing purpose. To be successful, you need
to have a purpose for READING. Skilled readers do not read blindly, but
purposefully. You need to have an agenda, goal, or objective. Your purpose,
together with the nature of what you are reading, determines how you read. You
read in different ways in different situations for different purposes. You are not
reading for pleasure but you want to know and keep information in your long term
memory. When you read to know then you will easily acquire knowledge. Of
course, reading has a nearly universal purpose: to figure out what an author has to
say on a given subject. As earlier explained, when you read, we translate words
into meanings. The author has previously translated ideas and experiences into
words. You must take those same words and re-translate them into the author’s
original meaning using his own ideas and experiences as aids. Accurately
translating words into intended meanings is an analytical, evaluative, and creative
set of acts. Unfortunately, few students are skilled at translation. Few are able to
accurately mirror the meaning the author intended to project. They project their
own meanings into a text. They unintentionally distort or violate the original
meaning of authors whose work they read. To read well, you must understand
reading as requiring intellectual skills. As a good reader, you should not simply
decipher words. You should actively engage in a dialogue with the writer. You
should actively seek the author’s purpose in writing.
5. Be an active student by asking questions.
Thinking is not driven by answers but by questions. Had no questions been asked
by those who laid the foundation for a field, for example, Physics or Biology, the
field would never have been developed in the first place. Furthermore, every field
stays alive only to the degree at which fresh questions are generated and taken
seriously as the driving force to thinking. To think through or rethink anything, you
must ask questions that stimulate thought. Questions define tasks, express
problems and delineate issues. Answers on the other hand, often signal a full stop
in thought. Thought continues its life only when an answer generates a further
question. This is why you are thinking and learning only when you have questions.
So, instead of trying to store a lot of disconnected information in your mind as a
student, start asking questions about the content. Deep questions drive thought
beneath the surface of things, forcing you to deal with complexities.
Questions of purpose force you to define tasks.
Questions of information force you to look at your sources of information as well
as assess the quality of information.
Questions of interpretation force you to examine how you are organising or giving
meaning to information.
Questions of assumption force you to examine what you are taking for granted.
Questions of implication force you to follow up where your thinking is headed.
Questions of point of view force you to examine your perspective and to consider
other relevant viewpoints.
Questions of relevance force you to discriminate what does and does not bear on a
question.
Questions of accuracy force you to evaluate and test for truth and correctness.
Questions of precision force you to give details and be specific.
Questions of consistency force you to examine your thinking for contradictions.
Questions of logic force you to consider how you are putting the whole of your
thought together, to make sure that it all adds up and makes sense within a
reasonable system of some kind.
Continually remind yourself that learning begins only when questions are asked.
6. Attend classes and take down notes.
Attendance and notes taking in class plays a tremendous rule in your
understanding. It is absolutely vital that you attend classes regularly. Missing a
class should be a rare occurrence; something that happens at most once or twice a
term. If you miss class more than this, it will interfere with your learning and have
a negative effect in your performance and grades.
A prerequisite to success in any endeavour is "showing up", and classes are no
exception. If you are not showing up to class, you are forfeiting every opportunity
provided to you in the classroom.
Class gives another perspective on the material besides just the textbook. Even if
you think you already understand the material well, classes always add something
new. The teacher may go over examples or applications you have not seen,
concepts in class may be presented in a different way than in the text, and your
questions and discussion may elaborate on the material or provide new insights.
Attending class can be an opportunity for you to engage the material with the
guidance of the teacher and the help of your classmates. A teacher may pose a
question or lead a discussion in class that directs you to make connections between
concepts and helps you to think about the material in new ways.
No textbook can explain something to you like another person can. Even if the
teacher seems as though he/she is just going through the material in the book, there
will always be added clarification and insights that you can discover in class.
The Teacher’s lectures may be very different from the way the textbook presents
the material, and class may be used to convey the teachers own viewpoints and
perspectives. In a class, test questions will more than likely be based on lecture
notes rather than the text, so attending class and taking good notes will be one of
your best preparations for exams.
Every teacher has a unique approach to their topic and will focus more heavily on
one aspect or another. The topics of heavy focus tend to be the topics winding up
on exams. Sometimes the very examples the teacher used to emphasize, a topic
will show up as an exam question. Taking notes permits you capture those key
focal points you may miss by just studying the lecture slides or reading the
textbook.
7. Form study groups.

Working with classmates encourages an interactive environment to keep you


engaged. This gives you a chance to test your knowledge with others, quiz each
other on the content, and help boost each other’s confidence. Before you go and
join a study group, remember that all groups; are not created equal. You should
choose your companions carefully or better study alone. Depending on the
members and atmosphere, study groups can either help you grow or pull you down.
Importance of good study group.
• Procrastination Solution
Because study groups meet at regular times you cannot procrastinate. If alone, you
might postpone studying until the night before class. When in a study group,
however, you have to be present at a specific time, and are not able to procrastinate
(unless you skip the study group completely). If you are struggling with
procrastination, a study group might just be the solution.
• Learn Faster
You working with others in study groups can generally learn faster than he who
works alone. For instance, some part of the textbook that seems completely
confusing to you could be quite clear to another student. In a study group, instead
of spending valuable time puzzling over the difficulty, you can learn quickly by
simply asking a question.
• Get New Perspectives
If you study alone, you will always see your material from one perspective while
with a study group it will be different as you will get fresh perspectives on a topic
that can help you learn it more thoroughly. Study groups are the perfect places to
find these new perspectives. As you listen and ask questions, you will soon start
noticing a wide variety of different viewpoints on the same idea. By joining a study
group, you will have the opportunity to observe a wide variety of study methods in
action. After considering the pros and cons, you can improve your own study
regimen by incorporating the best methods with your own. In addition, it can help
you and your study group members improve by sharing your favorite study tricks
also.
• Fill In Learning Gaps.
Study groups provide an excellent opportunity to fill in gaps in your notes. By
comparing notes with other students, you can evaluate accuracy, fix any errors, and
get ideas for better notes taking.
• Practice for the “Real World”.
Working with other peers in a study group gives you an excellent opportunity to
hone your social and communication skills which is very vital in our cooperate
world. After finishing from the university, you will often find yourselves working
with colleagues on projects in a very similar dynamic group. When you graduate,
you will enter the working world where people’s skills are extremely important to
your success. Study groups closely mimic what it is like to work with a group of
employees to solve a problem. The ability to collaborate, hear new ideas and work
together are some of the skills you gain outside the classroom. Study groups help
to turn you into a more professional individual.
8. Eating Healthy.
You need to eat healthy foods to achieve academic success, to experience proper
growth and development, and to prevent chronic disease. Research has shown that
students are able to learn better when they are well nourished, and eating healthy
meals has been linked to higher grades, better memory and alertness, and faster
information processing. One reason for this is that foods that are rich in fiber,
protein, and healthy fats such as eggs, yogurt, apples, etc, keep the body feeling
full longer, thus providing enough energy to focus and stay alert throughout the
entire day.
9. Have a good sleep.
Insufficient sleep can lead to fatigue accumulation and adverse effects on your
health. Besides being the key to a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep also
improves your ability to concentrate.
Good sleep improves memory.
Many studies indicate that the quality and quantity of sleep can have a strong
impact on memory and learning. Consolidation, which occurs during sleep,
strengthens your memory and is essential for processing new information. Sleep
also plays a critical role in procedural memory – it improves your motor and visual
learning, which you need when carrying out certain activities. Apart from this,
sleep also strengthens the emotional components in our memories and spurs
creativity. On the other hand, sleep deprivation and low-quality sleep impacts our
mood in a negative manner, and reduces our ability to remember new information.
Good sleep Sharpens attention levels
Lack of adequate sleep affects your ability to focus your attention optimally,
leading to inefficiency in learning, and making it harder for you to absorb new
information. Additionally, overworked sleep-deprived people find it difficult to
coordinate different pieces of information, and face a hindered capability to recall
previously acquired knowledge. Getting a good night's of sleep keeps you
refreshed, alert and ready to take on the world. To further improve the quality of
sleep, it is essential for you to maintain a sleep routine that allows the body to tune
its “internal clock”, making it easier for you to sleep and wake improving your
concentration and performance at school. Now that you are aware of the benefits of
sleep, make the choice to reward your body with sufficient sleep and improve the
quality of your life but as always too much of anything is bad.
10. Have fun
“Learning without playing makes Jack a dull boy” is a very common phrase which
the interpretation varies among persons. Fun has a positive effect on motivation
levels, determining what you learn and how much you retain. If the experience of
learning is fun, learners will stay curious and keep coming back for more. If the
learning is not fun, it will not be effective. That is not just a sneaking suspicion – it
is cold, hard, scientific fact. Fun means engagement, doing and learning what has
meaning and purpose, and it means being challenged. Embracing this belief should
have a profound effect on what and how you learn. Students and teachers should
make studies fun because human brain and body respond positively to laughter
with the release of endorphin, epinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine. Students
may write apology letters and others read to make the studies lively.”

11. Meditations
Meditation is good for people of all ages; especially it is very important for
students because this stage determines future life. You can obtain a lot of benefits
through meditation. Peace of mind, good sustainability, good health, concentration
and attention are some of the major outcomes of meditation. Learning through
meditation as a student, can help both in and out of school.
• Meditation Improves Concentration
With meditation, you can focus on one task with all the senses. Students who
meditate can easily figure out what the teacher said in between the lines or the
words the teacher did not say that he proved with actions. Meditation could prove
increasingly beneficial in reasoning as you grow up and enter adulthood.
• Increase Self-esteem/Confidence.
School can be a harsh place for many, causing students to feel out of place for not
fitting where popularity reigns. Students constantly struggle to understand who
they are as they are growing up and this distracts them from their studies. Even just
beginning to accept who you are at a young age can help with the way you see
yourself. Once you begin accepting and loving who you are, you are free to learn.
Meditation helps you to believe in yourself and know your value which has a
tremendous impact in your studies.
• Helps to Reduce Stress and Anxiety.
Students face a roller coaster of stress while going through school. Those who may
overstress concerning tests can benefit a great deal from meditation. Learning to
relax can be acquired and controlled, giving you the ability to focus. Deep
breathing exercises before a test can help you relax and concentrate more clearly.
But the benefits of meditation for you don’t stop here. Practicing meditation can
open up new thoughts, questions, and possibilities for you, building a strong
foundation for growth and discovery. Meditation is a highly beneficial exercise
that can only be truly understood through practice. By extending love, compassion
and understanding, meditation can be a great way to appreciate life with an open
heart.
12. Watch a Documentary on the Topic.
Documentaries are an entertaining way of compacting an entire story into a short
tim eframe. This will help you remember key details from a story. We live in a
generation whereby having documentary is very easy since android phones are
very common. You can download documentary online to increase your studies
rather than just playing games and watching videos all the time. Documentaries
can be very important to auditory learners. Documentaries will help you learn
different approaches to the same problem which enhance understanding.
13. Self-discipline.
Have you ever heard the quote, "Self-discipline is the difference between choosing
what you want now and choosing what you want most"? It is the quote that many
successful people use to achieve greatness. To be self-disciplined, you must be
able to let go important things to accomplish the vital ones. According to Merriam-
Webster, the definition of self-discipline is “the correction or regulation of oneself
for the sake of improvement”. This definition implies that a certain regulation or
stopping of ourselves from certain behaviors is important if we are going to
improve in some way. If we are relating this to studying, it means that we need to
stop doing certain things or start doing certain things while studying in order to get
the positive results we crave. Regulating ourselves in this way is incredibly
important because it can build self-esteem. When we achieve the goals we set for
ourselves, we get a boost of confidence which can improve many aspects of our
lives.

CAUSES OF POOR PERFOMANCE IN SCHOOL.


There are several causes leading to poor academic performance in school. If these
causes are not dealt with, such students would continue to swim in poor
performance. Due to these inability factors, many students never excel in class and
are relaxed taking distant positions in their classes. Everyone experiences
difficulties with studying at one time or another and overcoming these challenges
is all part of the learning process, particularly when you have a large workload.
Such issues range from temporary glitches to chronic lack of motivation and low
productivity. It can take what feels like extraordinary willpower to overcome these
issues, but the important thing to remember is that they can be conquered with the
right attitude. In this book, I have addressed some of the most common study
problems that can afflict students at any stage in their education, and discussed
some strategies for dealing with them. Some of the factors that affect students’
academic performance are:
• Low motivation.
Low motivation is one of the biggest problems you may have to tackle during your
education. Without sufficient internal drive to achieve, getting through the sheer
volume of work needed to gain your qualifications (whether CAP, GCE O-levels,
PROBATOIRE, GCE A- level, BACC or a degree) can feel impossible. Key to
understanding low motivation is to figure out the reasons behind it which are not
necessarily the same reasons for everyone. Low motivation may be experienced
either for certain subjects, or across the board. Some of the common causes of it
include:
• You are tired and stressed, with too much to do.
• There are other more interesting things to do.
• You find the subject boring or don’t enjoy it for some other reason.
• You do not like your teacher for a certain subject.
• You have other things happening in your life, meaning studying does not
feel important right now.
• You are not in the best of health or not sleeping.
• You are worried about failure.
Do you recognise any of the problems above in yourself? We will address many of
these issues as we discuss specific problems one by one in the rest of the book
which will include taking specific steps towards overcoming these possible causes,
putting together an action plan for tackling low motivation and also devise a means
to figure out what motivates you. Examples of what motivates could be:
• The satisfaction of completing a task.
• Good comments from teachers.
• Being perceived as successful by your peers or parents.
• Short-term rewards, such as a having a bottle of juice after a study session.
• Long-term success, i.e. top grades and a place at your preferred university.
When you know what is behind your low motivation, and you have worked out
what will spur you on to achieve, you will be in a better position to tackle your
problem head-on. The other tips in this book should be of use with this, as many of
the other problems we discuss here have some sort of motivational problem at their
root, or is what causes it. Keeping some motivational quotes by your desk may also
help inspire you to keep going when you experience low motivation. The right diet
helps too. For example, eating very sugary foods for breakfast will cause a
temporary sugar rush that will make you feel active initially, but will soon wear
off, leaving you lethargic and unable to motivate yourself.
2. There are too many distractions.
There are so many external stimuli these days that it is little wonder that many
students feel distracted. Social media, friends, phones, television, video games and
outings all have a part to play in wreaking havoc on students’ ability to focus on
studying. If you feel your productivity is suffering from a multitude of distractions,
it is time to change your working environment to one more conducive to studying.
Creating the right environment for learning should be a relatively easy solution that
will help you overcome the power of all these external distractions. Eliminate the
things you know to be your weaknesses from your workspace. This could include
your phone, the internet, the television and so on. Limit your socialising to
weekends, and consider installing a browser app that stops you from logging on to
Facebook or your other favourite sites for certain periods of time. If you need to
use your computer for writing essays, try using an app that will fill the screen with
whatever you are working on, so that the internet is not a distraction; Dark Room is
one of such app that will create a distraction-free computer environment for you. If
you find it impossible to get work done at home because of the number of
distractions, try working somewhere else. The library would be a good place, as
you can shut your phone away in your locker, and peace and quiet is guaranteed.
3. Difficulty in concentrating.
Even when you have eliminated distractions, concentration can still be a major
issue. It is not just possible but common to lose focus and experience a dramatic
drop in productivity. You can probably be familiar with the feeling of sitting in
front of a blank page, staring at it, unable to begin and your mind wandering.
Procrastination is a symptom of lack of concentration (among other things). If you
find yourself constantly checking Facebook or texting when you know you are
meant to be working, it is a sure sign that you need to be taking steps to improve
your concentration levels. Like low motivation, difficulty in concentrating can be
caused by a number of problems. If you are unable to concentrate because you
have something on your mind, you need to clear your head before you start
working, else it will hinder your productivity. It may help to write the problem
down on paper or to talk to someone about it; going for a walk or doing some
exercise may also enable you to get it off your chest before you try to start work. If
it is a bigger personal problem, talking to the school counselor about it may help
get it off your chest, or help you see the problem from a different and more
manageable perspective.
Another possible reason for lack of concentration is that the task in front of you
feels so enormous that you do not know where to begin. A good way of combating
this problem is to break the task down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For
example, rather than putting an entire essay on your agenda, divide up the tasks
into smaller, more easily achievable goals: read a chapter of a book and make
notes, write the essay plan, write the introduction, and so on. You could even break
it down into numbers of words to be achieved, say 100 words at a time.
Finding the right learning style for you may help you focus easily, as battling on
with trying to work in a style that does not suit you is sure to be counterproductive.
We all learn in different ways; some of us prefer to work in total isolation, while
others prefer to learn in the company of fellow students; some people learn best
from making diagrams and drawings, others from writing things out. Try
experimenting with some different learning styles and see whether you can find a
better approach to studying – one that will allow you to enjoy what you are doing,
retain information better, and focus easily. Finally, it is worth noting that difficulty
in concentrating can also arise from working too hard. If you have been working
yourself into the ground and not having enough rest, try giving yourself some time
off. The chances are that you will return to your desk feeling refreshed, better and
able to concentrate.
4. Difficulty in remembering facts and figures.
A common complaint among students at any stage in their education is that it is
difficult to remember all the information necessary for answering exam questions
effectively. This is difficult enough when you are studying few subjects such as at
the “A” levels, but when you are studying numerous subjects such as at CAP, "O"
levels, PROBATOIRE, and BACC, remembering all the facts and figures from
each of your subjects can seem a monumental task. Learning things properly in the
first place will help your recollection come at exam time, but if you really struggle
to retain the necessary information, learning to utilise a few memory aids may
help.
• You do not enjoy the subject you are studying.
At some stage in your education, it is inevitable that you will encounter a subject
that you do not like. Whether it is because you simply find it boring, or you feel
you are not good at it, or it seems a pointless subject that you will not have any use
for it in the long run, or you have an active hatred for it, such a dislike can have a
big impact on your success in this subject. Not liking the teacher of this subject, or
having an uninspiring teacher, can also lead to a dislike of the subject itself. A
change of mindset will be necessary to overcome this problem. You need to be
able to see the bigger picture, and how that problem subject fits into it. For a start,
you do not want a bad grade on your certificate; you will need good marks across
the board if you are to get into the top universities. Keeping this longer-term goal
in mind may help, but more immediate inspiration may be found from
contemplating why we study this subject. It is on the curriculum for a reason. So
think about the skills you learn from this subject that can be usefully applied
elsewhere, even if the actual knowledge itself may not be relevant to your career
aims. Thinking about the importance of studying the subject, and of a good general
knowledge, may help spur you on. If you dislike the subject because you feel you
are not very good at it, perhaps a bad grade has put you off? The answer may lie in
becoming more confident in this subject. You could devote a bit more time to
getting better at it and you might find that you start enjoying it more.
6. Lack of right/ adequate resources.
Unavailability of study materials would certainly impede students’ progress. Many
students fail their examinations or at worse come out with poor results because of
inadequate study materials. Students who possess adequate study materials and are
more focused will likely excel more than those who do not possess such. This is
arguably the easiest problem on this list to fix. Academic success relies on having
access to the right resources, whether that is the necessary books, equipment, a
teacher to talk to, or anything else you need to learn effectively. If it is books you
need, ask your teacher to recommend some, so that you do not inadvertently take
your learning in the wrong direction. Equipment – Such as laptops, stationery and
so on will be a matter to discuss with your parents. If there is a compelling
argument for investing in new equipment (such as a new laptop, or an iPad), speak
to your parents about it and present your case. If you can convince them that these
things will aid your studying, you are in with a chance of persuading them.
7. Doubt in yourself.
Doubt is a giant that stays on the border of the promise land (success) to terrify and
make students who are marching on to success afraid. Doubt defeats the belief
systems and desire for success and as such, success is hindered. Doubt always
defeats its victim; a doubter is a loser and is bound to lose as his future is all
darkness, defeat and average performance.
8. Mental fatigues.
Mental fatigue is a temporary inability to maintain optimal cognitive performance.
The onset of mental fatigue during any cognitive activity is gradual, and depends
upon an individual's cognitive ability, and also upon other factors, such as sleep
deprivation and overall health. Mental fatigue has also been shown to decrease
physical performance. Whether you are revising or simply catching up on your
homework, studying can be tiring work. Just like how working out in the gym will
make your body tired, so studying can make your brain tired. After a while you
will stop taking in as much information, get bored or distracted, and simply stop
working. This study fatigue will get in the way of what you want to get done, and
implies that your work will take longer to complete. Not only that, but study
fatigue can be all about motivation – staying on target and getting down to work
can be tough, especially when you start thinking what else you could be doing at
that moment. Research shows that mental fatigue results in an inability to
concentrate and an increase in simple mistakes. Mental fatigue leads to feeling
stressed, irritated that you cannot keep up and even depressed. More so, being in a
state of mental fatigue does not only affect your well-being, it also spills over into
your interactions with family and others you associate with. It is draining for them
to be around someone who is continuously mentally exhausted. Clearly, beating
study fatigue will take some tactics and so, whether you are revising or doing
something else, here are some ways to stay studying at your best.
• Good diet and enough protein.
A healthy and beneficial diet can make a huge difference in the way you feel
physically and mentally. Simple sugars that are found in most carbohydrates will
give you a short high and a hard crash. Snacks such as baked goods or sugary items
will make you feel wide awake for an hour or two but lead to a much longer stretch
of fatigue. Having protein for lunch can make a huge difference in your
wakefulness. The high protein levels in these foods will take longer for your body
to break down and limit heavy crashes.
• Reduce Your Sleep Debt.
Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and
the amount you actually get. It is common for students to miss several hours of
sleep for days in a row in the excuse of studies. This is a sure-fire way to invite
mental fatigue. An obvious way to avoid fatigue is to get a good night’s rest. If you
know you have an exam on Monday and you plan on spending all day Sunday
studying, staying out late Saturday is not going to help. You should plan on getting
at least eight hours of sleep the night before. While a short nap during the day may
help, it can severely cut into your study time. If you get the recommended eight
hours of sleep, your brain and body will be refreshed and prepared to extend your
attention span to its fullest.

• Hydrate.
Drinking a large amount of water the day before and during a long study session
will help immensely. Your body needs at least 8 cups of water per day to stay fully
hydrated, much of which is utilized by the brain. If you are not fully hydrated, your
body and your brain’s retention will be limited and sluggish. Cold water can be
extremely helpful while you are studying because of the contrasting temperatures.
It will force you to wake up while you drink.
• Interaction.
Make sure you have regular breaks. They will stop you from burning out and will
actually improve your productivity (more studying in less time!). Program to take a
break for 5 minutes after every 45 minutes to an hour of work, with a few longer
breaks built in too, if you are studying for longer. Taking a break from the books to
interact with people will also help both your attention span and fighting fatigue.
Conversing with another will give you a mental break from the material, while
stimulating muscles that are otherwise immovable. The increase in muscle
stimulation will wake up the rest of your body that has been sitting in a chair for
hours. The transmitters in your body will be more active thus activating your brain.
It will also give your eyes a break from focusing on sentences or diagrams, and
force them to move around and take in other sights.
• Exercise.
Exercise has consistently been linked to improved vigor and overall quality of life.
People who become active have a greater sense of self-confidence. But exercise
also improves the working efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles. That is the
equivalent of improving the fuel efficiency of a car. It gives you more energy for
any kind of activity. Research has found that taking some exercise will not only
boost your physical well-being, but it can help you learn too! Just half an hour of
aerobic exercise (like having a run or riding your bike) can improve your brain’s
processing speed and other brain functions.
• Music.
Listening to music while you work can help lower stress levels, so feel free to play
a few tunes while you study. Lower stress level equals better study, but if you want
to give yourself a real advantage try some classical music. Classical music has
been shown to be particularly good at reducing anxiety and tension.
• Be Kind to Your Eyes.
Staring at a computer or your TV for long hours while you work causes eye
fatigue, which can tire you out and negatively affect your ability to focus. When
you watch TV for long before studies, fatigue is inevitable. Fortunately, there are
many things you can do to avoid this. For example, every once in a while, look
away from your computer screen and focus on distant objects or take a minute to
stare out through the window. Also, lower the brightness of your monitor—
research shows that when you lower the brightness, your ability to focus drops by
half and you feel less fatigued.
CHAPTER THREE.
UNDERSTANDING A SUBJECT.
Before moving into any subject, it will be good for you to understand that all
subjects have some connection between them. This unity is typically found in
foundational ideas that define the subject and its goals. For you to understand any
subject, you need to understand the foundation of the subject and use them to begin
to think within the subjects. You must make sure you can state, elaborate,
exemplify, and illustrate the foundation of each subject. Below are suggestions for
understanding the foundation of each subject. Think of;
• Mathematics as learning to think quantitatively.
• Economics as the study of “who gets what, when, & how”.
• Algebra as arithmetic with unknowns.
• Sociology as the study of human conformity to group norms.
• Anthropology as the physical and historical study of humans in the light of
their evolution from non-cultural into cultural animals.
• Physics as the study of mass and energy and their interaction.
• Chemistry as the study of elementary substances & the manner in which
they react with each other.
• Philosophy as the study of ultimate questions with a view to living an
examined life.
• Biochemistry as the chemistry of life processes in plants & animals.
• Science as the attempt to learn through quantifiable observations and
controlled experimentation.
• Theology as the study of theories of spiritual reality.
• Ethics as the study of principles to be used in contributing to the good of,
and avoiding unnecessary harm to humans and other sentient creatures.
• Art as the application of skill and judgment to matters of taste and beauty (as
in poetry, music, painting, dance, drama, sculpture, or architecture).
When you understand the essential idea of each subject at the beginning of the
learning process of the subject, it is helpful to formulate an organising idea to
guide your thinking. Below are some guides to become a master student or
cultivate are educated mind.
Idea #1: Make sure you thoroughly understand the requirements of each class,
how it will be taught and what will be expected of you. Ask questions about the
grading policies and for advice on how best to prepare for a class.
Idea #2: Become an active learner. Be prepared to work ideas into your thinking
by active reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Idea #3: Think of each subject you study as a form of thinking (If you are in a
history class, your goal should be to think historically; in a chemistry class to think
chemically; etc.)
Idea #4: Become a questioner. Engage yourself in lectures and discussions by
asking questions. If you do not ask questions, you will probably not discover what
you do and do not know.
Idea #5: Look for interconnections. The content in every class is always a system
of interconnected ideas, never a random list of things to memorize. Do not
memorize like a parrot. Study like a detective, always relating new learning to
previous learning.
Idea #6: Think of your instructor as your coach. Think of yourself as a team
member trying to practice the thinking exemplified by your instructor. For
example, in an algebra class, think of yourself as going out for the algebra team
and your teacher as demonstrating how to prepare for the games (tests).
Idea #7: Think about the textbook as the thinking of the author. Your job is to
think the thinking of the author. For example, play the role of the author
frequently. Explain the main points of the text to another student, as if you were
the author.
Idea #8: Consider class time as a time in which you practice thinking (within the
subject) using the fundamental concepts and principles of the course. Do not sit
back passively, waiting for knowledge to fall into your head like rain into a rain
barrel. It will not.
Idea #9: Relate content whenever possible to issues and problems and practical
situations in your life. If you cannot connect it to your life, you do not know it.
Idea #10: Figure out what study and learning skills you are not good at. Practice
those skills whenever possible. Recognizing and correcting your weaknesses is a
strength.
Idea #11: Frequently ask yourself: “Can I explain this to someone who was not in
class?” (If not, then you have not learnt it well enough.)
Idea #12: Seek to find the key concept of the course during the first couple of class
meetings. For example, in a Biology course, try explaining what biology is in your
own words. Then relate that definition to each segment of what you learn
afterward. Fundamental ideas are the basis for all others.
Idea #13: Routinely ask questions to fill in the missing pieces in your learning.
“Can you elaborate further on this? Can you give an example of that?” If you do
not have examples, you are not connecting what you are learning to your life.
Idea #14: Test yourself before you come to class by trying to summarize, orally or
in writing, the main points of the previous class meeting. If you cannot summarize
main points, you have not learnt them.
Idea #15: Learn to test your thinking using intellectual standards? “Am I being
clear? Accurate? Precise? Relevant? Logical? Am I looking for what is most
significant?”
Idea #16: Use writing as a way to learn, by writing summaries in your own words
of important points from the textbook or other reading material. Make up test
questions. Write out answers to your own questions.
Idea #17: Frequently evaluate your listening. Are you actively listening for main
points? Can you summarize what your instructor is saying in your own words? Can
you elaborate what is meant by key terms?
Idea #18: Frequently evaluate your reading. Are you reading the textbook
actively? Are you asking questions as you read? Can you distinguish what you do
not understand from what you understand?
Before studies, you should understand how to read and also analyse the logic of a
book. By that I mean thinking like the author of the book or having a dialogue with
the author.
• How to read a paragraph
Carefully reading a paragraph involves finding the idea or question that is the
driving force within the paragraph. Finding key paragraphs consists of finding the
ideas or questions that are the driving force within the book. All paragraphs within
a written piece should connect to every other paragraph so that you can see logical
connections between ideas. All ideas should form a system of meanings. As you
move from paragraph to paragraph, ask:
• What is the most important idea in this paragraph?
• How do the ideas in this paragraph relate to the ideas in previous
paragraphs?

• How are the important ideas in the text connected?

Look for paragraphs that focus on significant ideas or questions. Connect those
ideas, when possible, to situations and experiences that are meaningful in your life.
To actively connect ideas to life situations, ask:
• How can I relate this idea to something I already understand?
• Is there an important idea here that I can use in my thinking?

• Have I ever experienced a situation that sheds light on this idea?

• How to analyze the logic of an article, essay, or chapter.


One important skill for understanding an essay, article or chapter is through the
analysis of the parts of the author’s reasoning. Once you have done this, you can
then evaluate the author’s reasoning using intellectual standards. Here is a template
to follow.

• The main purpose of this article is ________________. (Here you are trying to
state as accurately as possible the author’s purpose for writing the article. What was the
author trying to accomplish?)

• The key question that the author is addressing is


__________________________. (Your goal is to figure out the key question that
was in the mind of the author when s/he wrote the article. In other words, what was the
key question that the article addressed?)

• The most important information in this article is


___________________________. (You want to identify the key information the
author used, or presupposed, in the article to support his/her main arguments. Here, you
are looking for facts, experiences, data the author is using to support her/his
conclusions).
• The main inferences/conclusions in this article are ________________. (You
want to identify the most important conclusions that the author comes to and presents in
the article).

• The key idea(s) we need to understand in this article is (are)


______________.By these ideas the author means __________________.
(To identify these ideas, ask yourself: What are the most important ideas that you would
have to understand in order to understand the author’s line of reasoning? Then elaborate
briefly what the author means by these ideas).
• The main assumption(s) underlying the author’s thinking is (are) ________
(Ask yourself: What is the author taking for granted (that may be questioned). The assumptions
are generalisations that the author does not think he/she has to defend in the context of
writing the article, and they are usually unstated. This is where the author’s thinking
logically begins).

• If a) we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are


___________. (What consequences are likely to follow if people take the author’s line
of reasoning seriously? Here, you are to follow out the logical implications of the
author’s position. You should include implications that the author states, if you believe
them to be logical, but you should do your best thinking to determine what you think the
implications are.) If
b) We fail to take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are
_____________. (What consequences are likely to follow if people ignore the author’s
reasoning?)

• The main point(s) of view presented in this article is (are)


____________________. (The main question you are trying to answer here is: What
is the author looking at, and how is he/she seeing it? For example, in this mini-guide we
are looking at “education” and seeing it “as involving the development of intellectual
skills.” We are also looking at “learning” as “the responsibility of students.”)

If you truly understand these structures as they interrelate in an article, essay, or


chapter, you should be able to empathically role-play the thinking of the author.
Remember, these are the 8 basic structures that define all thinking. They are the
essential element of thought.
• How to read a textbook.
The first and most important insight necessary for successfully reading a textbook
is that all textbooks focus on “systems” which when internalised, can help you
reason through a specific set of problems. They focus on a special way of thinking
about a particular set of things. To elaborate, history textbooks teach a special way
of thinking about events in the past. Biology textbooks teach a special way of
thinking about living things. Mathematics textbooks teach a special way of
thinking about the numbers, shapes, and figures. Physics textbooks teach a special
way of thinking about mass and energy and their interrelations. The same is true
for all other textbooks.
Thus, there is no way to learn Mathematics from a Math textbook without learning
how to figure out correct answers to mathematical questions and problems. There
is no way to learn history from a history textbook without learning how to figure
out correct or reasonable answers to historical questions and problems. There is no
way to learn biology from a biology textbook without learning how to figure out
answers to biological questions and problems. Any subject can therefore be
understood as a system of figuring out correct or reasonable answers to a certain
set of questions. You study chemistry to understand chemicals and how they
interact (to answer questions about chemicals). You study psychology to figure out
human behavior (to answer questions about certain human problems). All subjects
can be understood in this way. All textbooks can be read in this way.
Most textbooks begin with an introductory chapter or preface that introduces you
to the field of study: What is biology? What is physics? What is history? It is
important for us to do a close reading of this opening chapter in order to acquire
from the very beginning, an insight into the most basic and fundamental concepts
in the field.
Once you have a basic idea of the whole of a subject from the introductory chapter,
you should be able to do some thinking within the system. Thus, with a basic idea
of biology, you should be able to do some simple biological thinking. You should
be able to ask some basic biological questions and identify some relevant
biological information. This is crucial to success in reading the remainder of the
textbook because if you do not have a clear concept of the whole, you will not be
able to relate the parts (covered by the other chapters) to that whole.
• How to figure out the logic of a textbook
Just as you can understand an essay, article or chapter by analyzing the parts of the
author’s reasoning, so can you also figure out the system of interrelated ideas
within a textbook by focusing on the parts of the author’s reasoning within the
textbook. To understand the parts of the textbook, use this template:
The Logic of a Textbook:
• The main purpose of this textbook is ____________________.
(Here, you are trying to determine the author’s purpose for writing the textbook. What
was the author trying to accomplish?)

• The key question(s) that the author is answering in the textbook is (are)
______.
(You are trying to figure out the key questions that were in the mind of the author when
he/she wrote the textbook. In other words, what was the key question which the textbook
answers? Here, you may identity the broadest question the textbook answers along with
the most important sub questions it focuses on.)

• The most important kinds of information in this textbook are


_______________. (You want to identify the types of information the author uses in
the textbook to support his/her main arguments such as research results, observations,
examples, experience, etc.)

• The main inferences/conclusions in this textbook are________________.


(You want to identify the most important conclusions that the author comes to and
presents in the textbook. Focus on this question: What are the most important
conclusions that the author presents? Conclusions that if understood, will shed important
light on key beliefs in the field.)

• The key idea(s) we need to understand in this textbook is (are)


____________. By these ideas the author means ____________________.
(To identify these ideas, ask yourself: What are the most important ideas that you will
have to understand in order to understand the textbook? Then elaborate on precisely
what the author means by these basic ideas. Begin with the most fundamental idea
presented such as science, biology, psychology, etc. These can usually be found in the
first chapter. Then identify the other significant concepts that are deeply tied into the
most fundamental one.)
• The main assumption(s) underlying the author’s thinking is (are) ______.
(Ask yourself: What is the author taking for granted (that may be questioned)? The
assumptions are sometimes generalisations that the author does not think he/she has to
defend in the context of writing the textbook. The assumptions are sometimes stated in the
first chapter as the key assumptions underlying the subject area).

• a) If people take the textbook seriously, the implications are __________.


(What consequences are likely to follow if readers take the textbook seriously? Here, you
are to follow out the logical implications of the information/ideas in the textbook. You
should include implications that the author argues for, if you believe them to be well-
founded, but you should do your best thinking to determine what you think the
implications are.)
b) If people fail to take the textbook seriously, the implications are ______.
(What consequences are likely to follow if the author’s thinking is ignored in a situation
when it is relevant?)

• The main point(s) of view presented in this article is (are) _____________.


(The main question you are trying to answer here is: What is the author looking at, and
how is he/she seeing it? For example, the author may be looking at “science” and seeing
it as “the most effective tool for better understanding of the physical world and how it
operates.”)
CHAPTER FOUR.
STUDYING METHODS.
Many students are being left behind by an educational system - which is believed
by some people to be in crisis. Improving educational outcomes will require
efforts on many fronts, but a central premise of this monograph is that, one part of
a solution involves helping students to better regulate their learning through the use
of effective learning techniques. The study methods will cover time management,
reading critically and selectively, taking notes, and writing for students. The
methods are designed to help students tackle their subjects effectively and will
explore the full range of basic study skills needed in higher education.
• THE SQ3R OR SQRRR STUDYING METHOD.
SQ3R method is a proven, step-by-step strategic approach to learning and studying
from textbooks. Why is it successful? It is because it helps you discover, master
and retain the important facts, ideas and information that are contained in your
textbook, so that you are prepared for an examination.
SQ3R is an abbreviation to help students remember the steps and easily make
references to it. The symbols stand for the steps followed in using the method
which are: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. A description of each of
these steps is given below:
These five steps, when applied to textbook assignments, will help students in
making their study time more efficient and effective. While this method will take
time and practice to master, once it is learnt and applied, it will no longer be
necessary to read textbook chapters over and over. The added benefit of using the
SQ3R method is that, students will often find their own questions on a test.
Because many instructors use the textbook as an outline for their courses, test
questions will be coming from the same source as theirs. As students review their
notes and texts, they will be able to predict and prepare answers for many exam
questions.
• SURVEY:
This survey should take no more than 10-25 minutes, even on the longest chapter.
The purpose of surveying the chapter is to get a general idea of what it is going to
be about, what kind of information the author gives, how many sub-topics the
information is broken down into, and how much time you will have to spend
reading it. To be noted are:
• Chapter Title.
• Introduction.
• Objectives.
• Vocabulary.
• Summary.
• Review questions.
• Boldface headings.
• Graphics and their accompanying captions.

• QUESTION:
Turn each boldfaced heading into a question by using one of the following words:
who, what, where, when, why, or how.
The reason for creating a question out of each heading is to set a purpose for
reading the material in more detail. When you are reading to find the answer to a
specific question, you are reading actively.
• READ:
Actively read the section of the text accompanying the heading for an answer to
the question you asked yourself in step 2. The answer will usually be made up of
the main idea(s) of the paragraph(s) and the supporting details. Read the section to
find the answer. The purpose of reading is to find the answer to your question.
• RECITE:
Recite the answer to each question to yourself. Put the answer into your own
words, or rephrase the author's words. Be sure that you can recall the answer, not
just recognise the information as correct. Write the questions in your notebook
along with a few key words or phrases that summarise the answer. The purpose for
doing this is to help you think about and understand what you have read. When
you rewrite or rephrase what you read, your comprehension and retention will
improve.
• REVIEW:
To review, cover the answers and ask yourself the questions. If you cannot answer
the question, look at your notes and test yourself again. Once you are sure you
know and understand the question and answer, check it off. The purpose for
reviewing is to help you prepare for the eventual test. Remember that very few
people read textbooks for pleasure; they are read to acquire information and to
remember and apply it in a testing situation. Reviewing helps you remember the
information.

• THE M.U.R.D.E.R METHOD OF STUDYING.


Even though there are countless methods and systems advocated by many
academics and professionals in the learning field, there is one method that is easy
to understand and follow – M.U.R.D.E.R. Rest assured – it is just an acronym
without any negative connotations.
• Mood:
This is the first thing you need to set when you are about to study. You need to
have a proper state of mind or disposition so that you can study efficiently.

• Understand:
Take note of any information you do not understand in a particular unit and go
over it again when you are finished. Keep a focus on one unit/lesson or a
manageable group of exercises.
• Recall:
After studying the unit, stop and recall what you have learned. Try summarising
the material out loud and write down the information in your own words.
• Digest:
Go back to what you did not understand and reconsider the information.
Contact external expert sources such as books, the Internet or an instructor, if you
still cannot understand it.
• Expand:
Expand your knowledge. Ask three kinds of questions concerning the studied
material:
• If I could speak to the author, what questions would I ask or what criticism
would I offer?
• How could I apply this material to what I am interested in?
• How could I make this information interesting and understandable to other
students?
• Review:
Go over the material you have covered, review what strategies helped you
understand and/or retain information in the past and apply these to your current
studies.
• THE INDEX STUDYING METHOD.
Here, students can divide an A4 paper into A6 sizes and use them as index cards.
This is a method of studying that gives you an accurate perception of how well you
know the material and forces you to think about it, rather than just look over it.

Try the index card system:


• Review your notes and readings frequently, so the material is "fresh".
As you are reading your text or reviewing your notes, write down questions
about the material. Imagine you are teaching the course. What questions would
you ask on the exam?
• Keep track of any terms you need to know.
• Write each question or term on the back of an index card
On the front of each index card,
• Write an answer or an explanation for the question or term on the back.
Use your notes and text for a reference, but put the answer or explanation in your
own words whenever possible.
• Shuffle the index cards so you cannot figure out any answers based on their
location in the deck.
• Look at the card on the top of the deck:
Try to answer the question or explain the term. If you know it, great! Put it on the
bottom of the deck. If you do not know it, look at the answer, and put a few cards
down in the deck (so you will come back to it soon).
• Proceed through the deck of cards until you know all of the
information.

Some Tips:
• Carry your cards with you everywhere.
Take advantage of little pockets of time. Test yourself while you are waiting on
line, riding the bus, etc.
• If you think you know an answer,
But cannot put it into words, you probably do not know it well enough.
Explaining the information is a good way to be sure that you know it.
It is also a good way to prevent test anxiety.
• Test yourself in someplace where nobody can see you
And recite the answers out loud. That is the best way to be sure that you can
explain them.
• Study with a friend from your class.
You can share ideas and help each other out with concepts. You can use each
other to make sure that you are explaining your answers adequately.

• THE A.S.P.I.R.E. METHOD OF STUDYING.


A.S.P.I.R.E. is an acronym for a step by step approach for studying that when
understood and followed will inspire your study life in a simple but great way.
A: Approach/attitude/arrange
• Approach your studies with a positive attitude.
• Attitude projected towards a subject depicts how well you will understand
when you study it. So just show some interest and it will be easier.
• Arrange your schedule to eliminate distractions
S: Select/survey/scan
• Select a reasonable chunk of material to study.
• Survey the headings, graphics and pre and post questions to get an overview.
• Scan the text for keywords and vocabulary and mark what you do not
understand.
P: Piece together the parts:
• Put aside your books and notes.
• Piece together what you have studied, either alone, with a study pal or group
and summarize what you understand.
I: Investigate/inquire/inspect:
• Investigate alternative sources of information you can refer to, such as
other text books, websites, experts, tutors, etc.
• Inquire support from professionals (academic support, librarians, tutors,
teachers, experts,) and other resources.
• Inspect what you did not understand at all or what you think you did but did
not understand.
R: Re-examine/reflect/relay:
Re-examine the content | Reflect on the material | Relay understanding
• Re-examine:
What are questions I am yet to ask? Is there something I am missing?
• Reflect:
How can I apply this to my project? Is there a new application for it?
• Relay:
Can I explain this to my fellow students? Will they understand it better if I
did?
E: Evaluate/examine/explore:
• Evaluate your grades on tests and tasks look for a pattern.
• Examine your progress toward achieving your goals.
• Explore options with a teacher, support professional, tutor, parent if you are
not satisfied.

• K.W.L. METHOD OF STUDYING.


KWL is intended to be an exercise for a study group or class that can guide you in
reading and understanding a text. A worksheet of three columns with the three
letters:
• What we Know
• What we want to know
• what we learnt
K stands for Know:
This first stage may surprise you:
• Think first about.
Then list what you know about the topic before reading! This advanced organiser
provides you with a background to the new material, building a scaffold to support
it. Think of it as a pre-reading inventory.
• Brainstorm!
Before looking at the text, think of keywords, terms, or phrases about the topic,
either in your class or a study group.
• Record these in the K column of your chart until you cannot think of more.
• Engage your group in a discussion about what you wrote in the K column.
• Organise the entries into general categories.
W stands for Will or Want:
The second stage is to list a series of questions of what you want to know more of
the subject, based upon what you listed in K.
• Preview the text’s table of contents, headings, pictures, charts etc.
• Discuss what you want to learn.
• List some thoughts on what you want, or expect to learn, generally or
specifically.
• Think in terms of what you will learn, or what you want to learn about this.
• Turn all sentences into questions before writing them down.
They will help you focus your attention during reading.
• List the questions by importance.
L stands for Learnt
The final stage is to answer your questions, as well as to list what new information
you have learned either while reading or after you have finished.
• List out what you learn as you read,
Either by section, or after the whole work, whichever you find more comfortable.
• Check it against the W column, what you wanted to learn.
• Create symbols to indicate main ideas, surprising ideas, questionable ideas,
and those you do not understand.

• HOW TO STUDY MATHEMATICS.


Mathematics is a subject that every student has to study at one time or another.
Some love it but if we are being honest, most people hate studying Maths. The
importance of Maths for students has never been more prominent. Most university
courses include some level of Maths while almost every profession uses Maths in
some form on a daily basis. The problem many students have is that they do not
know how to study Maths to get good results.
Maths is one of those subjects which you can easily spend hours studying but end
up none the wiser. However much you have studied, if you can not solve the
problem on the day of a test, you are lost. Thankfully, there are some techniques
for studying maths that you can do regardless of your level. Students may even end
up loving mathematics by the end of the book

• TIPS on how to study Maths.

Practice, Practice & More Practice:


It is impossible to study Maths properly by just reading and listening. To study
Maths, you have to roll up your sleeves and actually solve some problems. The
more you practice answering Maths problems, the better we get to it. Each problem
has its own characteristics and it is important to have it solved in numerous ways
before tackling the exam. There is no escaping this reality! To do well in a Maths
exam you need to have solved a lot of mathematical problems beforehand.
Review Errors
When you are practicing with Maths problems, it is important to work through the
process for each solution. If you have made any mistake, you should review them
and understand where your problem solving skills let you down. Understanding
how you approached the problem and where you went wrong is a great way of
becoming stronger and avoiding the same mistakes in the future.

Master the Key Concepts


You should not try to memorize the processes. This is counter-productive. It is
better and rewarding in the long-run to focus on understanding the process and
logic that is involved. This will help you understand how you should approach
such problems in the future. Remember that Maths is a sequential subject so it is
important to have a firm understanding of the key concepts that underpin a
mathematical topic before moving on to work on other more complex solutions
which are based on understanding the basics.

Understand your Doubts:


Sometimes you can get stuck trying to solve part of a Maths problem and find it
difficult to move on to the next stage. It is common for many students to skip this
question and move on to the next. You should avoid doing this and instead spend
time trying to understand the process of solving the problem. Once you have
grasped an understanding of the initial problem, you can use this as a stepping
stone to progress to the remainder of the question. Maths requires time and
patience to master. It is a good idea to study with a friend with whom you can
consult with and bounce off ideas when trying to solve complex problems.

Create a Distraction Free Study Environment.


Mathematics is a subject that requires more concentration than any other. A proper
study environment and a distraction free area could be the determining factor when
solving complex equations or problems in geometry, algebra or trigonometry.
Studying with music can help create a relaxing atmosphere and stimulate the flow
of information. Having suitable background music can foster an environment of
maximum concentration.

Create a Mathematical Dictionary.


Mathematics has specific terminologies with a lot of vocabulary. I suggest you
create notes or a jotter with all the concepts, terminologies and definitions you
need to know. You should include their meanings, some key points and even some
sample answers which you can consult them at any time for the sake of recap/
recapitulation/ recall.

Apply Maths to Real World Problems.


As much as possible, you should try to apply real world problems when
approaching Maths. Maths can be very abstract sometimes. So looking for a
practical application can help change your perspective and assimilate ideas
differently. Probability, for example, can be used in everyday life to predict the
outcome of something happening and determine whether you want to take a risk on
something or not. You should not forget that it is also important to have confidence
in yourself and face an exam knowing that you have properly prepared.

• HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN EXAM.


Preparing for an exam can be stressful and time consuming, but it does not have to
be. There is no need to stress out or cram. By doing a couple simple things ahead
of time, you can ensure that you are confident and ready for anything that comes
up in the test.
Start studying early:
Give yourself more than enough time to review the material that was covered in
class. You might want to gauge how soon to start studying by how much material
you need to review. For instance, if you have to review material for an entire
semester, you might want to start studying a few weeks prior. But as explained
above, you need to study every day and make studies a habit and just step up your
efforts during exams to make good results.

Read through the entirety of your notes that will be on the exam:
It will refresh your memory of the material and help you remember what you
learnt. It will also help to make you aware of all the information in your notes,
where it is located in your notes so that you know where to find them, and what
might be missing from your notes. Decide if you think your notes are sufficient
enough to study from. Did you miss any classes? Are some of your notes missing?
If so, you might need to borrow notes from someone to copy and meet up.

Ask your teacher about the test material:


One of the easiest ways to begin your studying process is to find out what is on the
test directly from your teacher. Many teachers will provide some guidance on what
will and will not be covered on the test. Knowing which material the test will cover
will help you focus on the main material that you need to study. Your teacher most
likely will not tell you exactly what is on the test, but he or she might give you
some pointers by handing you a study guide, or simply announcing what the exam
will cover.

Review your syllabus:


The syllabus is an outline of everything that you should have learnt over the course
of the class. This is very important for students writing CAP, PROBATIORE,
BACCALAUREATE, ORDINARY LEVELS, ADVANCED LEVELS, HND or
any official exams. It is a good place to start if you want to understand major ideas
and topics that you should be learning from the class. Review it and highlight the
titles and subheads. These are the sections that you’ll need to at least review to
make sure you understand the big ideas behind the topics.

Make flash cards:


It is very easy to make flash cards from the SQ3R study method. After you have
taken notes from studying all of your materials including the book and your notes,
use that information to make flash cards. (Grab an index card, or cut paper into
squares to use as a flashcard.) Turn statements into questions. Making physical
copies of flashcards is recommended because you have to write down the questions
and answers, which is a repetitive process that will help you remember the
information. Also, you can carry the flashcards around and use them at any time.
Quiz yourself:
Always try to test yourself based on the exam conditions and the time allocated for
the subject. You can quiz yourself based on flash cards to see if you really
understood the topic. Keep reviewing the questions that you get wrong until you
get them right. You can carry flash cards around with you and quiz yourself during
your leisure time. Quiz yourself indefinitely until you get every question right. If
you keep getting certain questions wrong, review your notes and textbook again to
see if there is something you did not understand.
Review past tests:
If you have a friend who has taken the test the year or semester before, ask your
friend if you can see his or her test result sheet. Take note of the questions that
were answered and the answers that were marked correct and incorrect. If you are
in college, some universities keep past exams from classes in a file. Contact your
lecturer about reviewing them. Although reviewing past exams may not give you
the exact questions that will appear on your test, it will give you an idea of how the
information will be tested. It also will tell you how the test will be scored. You will
know if you should give long detailed answers or if your answers should be
straight to the point. If you are able to review a test with answers on it, pay
attention to answers that were given high marks and those that were not. Also, pay
attention to any notes in the margins that the teacher may have written explaining
why points were taken off.

Determine the format:


Reviewing past tests can help you understand the format of the test and whether it
will be multiple choice, short answers or essay. It also gives you more ideas about
how to study. Does it ask for specific information like dates and times that events
occurred? Or is it testing big ideas with explanations in an essay format? If you
understand the format of the test, you know what information to pull out and how
detailed or open-ended it might be.
Study with a friend:
Get together with a friend or group of people from your class and study together. It
does not have to be a formal study group. You can simply review each other’s
notes to see what you may have missed, and discuss concepts you think will be
covered on the test.

Quiz each other:


Ask each other potential exam questions. Use your flash cards to quiz each other,
or ask your friend to make up new questions that you did not think about. Even if
you use the same questions that you wrote on your flash cards, you will find that
the experience is different when your friend is quizzing you. More than likely, your
friend will hold you accountable for answering the question in its entirety.

Develop self-confidence:
To achieve even the smallest of goals, and to get through life's daily duties and
responsibilities, you have to have some self-confidence. Self-confidence is an
attitude that you hold about yourself that allows you to move forward and achieve
your goals. As a student, you need to believe in yourself to make it in your exams.
There is a handful of students who do not believe that the answers they write in the
exam is correct because they lack trust in themselves. After studies, you should
develop self-believe when approaching an exam. The good news is that self-
confidence is something you can improve. Building self-confidence requires you to
cultivate a positive attitude about yourself and your social interactions, while
learning to deal with any negative emotions that arise and practicing greater self-
care.

ABOUT THE BOOK.


It is hoped that this book “HOW TO STUDY” will serve as a stimulus in
developing and sharpening students’ thinking and performance in school. It is not
in any way teaching students Mathematics, History, Biology, Chemistry,
Sociology, Anthropology, Geography or any other subject but will teach a student
how to study the various subjects. In its content, it will make a student to
understand himself/herself in studies, the various studying methods that are
effective, how to understand the logic of paragraph or textbook and how to prepare
for an exam.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fabien Wandi was born in 1995. He was born in


Bamessing village located at the foot of Sabga hill
in the North West region of Cameroon. He did his
primary education in G.S. Mbelue where he had
his First School Leaving Certificate. He did his
secondary education in G.T.H.S. NDOP where he
obtained the CAP, G.C.E “O” Level,
PROBATOIRE, GCE “A” Level and BACC in
Electrical Engineering. He went further into
National Polytechnic Bamenda where he obtained
a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Electrical Engineering. He continued in the
University of Bamenda where he achieved a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering (B-
Tech). Fabien Wandi is a motivational speaker and an Electrical Engineer.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/how-to-study

http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/art-of-close-reading

http://www.Wikihow.com
http://www.studygs.net/
https://www.Quora.com
http://www.planetofsuccess.com/bloc/2012