Guest Post: The Art of Studying

Guest Post: The Art of Studying

By: Yat Li | Coop Student
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Studying: some like to start weeks in advance, some like to prepare days ahead, and some like to cram. Which one are you?

For students, study habits are often a discussion starter. My own peer groups vary from those that frequently talk about how much there is to prepare for exams, those that don’t talk about school at all, and those in which we discuss our mutual last-minute “preparations.” Does any method have the definitive advantage?

I don’t think so. Each person reacts differently towards each method. You may like the security of preparing weeks in advance while another may prefer the art of cramming because material stays fresh in their mind.

What is your studying method? Today, I had a discussion about studying with a friend, a first-year university student.  She will be having her first set of quizzes next week on top of countless pages of reading and preparation! When I asked how she was coping with the large amount of work, she told me she prepares by writing parts of the required reading, reading material aloud and highlighting the important points. Now there you have a dedicated student!

I used to prepare for exams just in the same way – writing everything down and making sure I highlighted all the important points. Even when I didn’t get the desired grade, I kept on writing and putting in that extra effort. Nonetheless, as time progressed I wasn’t seeing improvement. The grades were steady. Steady in the “average.” The average C-plus/B-minus. So, I decided to find a new way of studying. At the same time however, I feared change – what if my grades would be worse than before? I didn’t want to see my average grades explode into something worse.

But boy, did I ever witness an explosion. Only it wasn’t an explosion for the worse. Instead, I was on the way up! Instead of excessive writing and memorization, I applied the theories I learned into reality and watched real life results. As I observed, I began to understand the complexities within each of theory. I was very encouraged with this new art of studying. I started becoming more active in tutorials and participated in class discussions to ask questions. I created Facebook groups to facilitate group discussions and projects. It even allowed me to be closer to my peers and the relationships I developed were not superficial.

My friend’s method of studying may not be for you; nor may mine. But understand that everyone has a different way of studying that defines and works best for them. No one else understands you more than yourself!

If you are struggling to find a distinctive studying routine, fear not! There are many tools and discussion forums online that offer studying tips.  Your friends probably have some tips for you. At the end of the day, you can try and gather all these tips to formulate your own art of studying.

Yat Li

Note: this article is re-posted from Yat’s blog, The Life Commentary. Original post here. Yat is also a guest blogger at the CSI Blog. He recently completed a co-op work term at Career Services as a multimedia assistant.

The CSI Blog is hosted by SFU Career Services. Visit the CS website to view job postings, book a career advising appointment, register for workshops and more.

Posted on September 20, 2011