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Guest blog by Tutor Troops: www.tutortroops.com.
Learning how to study and training what you learn is one of the most valuable skills in your education life. Start building these five very vital skills as soon as possible. Do it while you are still a young student, and it will carry on into your professional life.
1. Develop a system of consistent and effective note-taking. Keep your desk clean and uncluttered. An uncluttered area will be your physical place for studying. Store reference materials and track your projects. Buy (or have your parents buy) good supplies and keep plenty of them on hand.
2. Learn effective reading. You will probably need to read quite a bit of offline and online material. You only have so much time to read this material, so practice reading faster and smarter. Improve your comprehension by getting to know the material you are reading. Decide which parts are relevant and needed. Keep your eyes moving at a steady pace without stopping at every word. Try not to reread a phrase. You brain will pick up the text, and you can go back and review later.
3. Think by using pen and paper. With today’s computer programs, it is easy just to type away. However, think and work on paper to retain information. It will get things settled in your mind and make room for better thinking. Use your note-taking system to focus on facts and actions in the material you are reading and learning. Summarize, remember and examine your written material. Create mind maps, or a diagram to visually organize learned information. Don’t trust your computer, think and work on paper. You will retain more of your thoughts.
4. Find your preferred learning style and stick to it your entire life. You will have to determine if you are a tactile learn (using your hands), a visual learner (seeing) or an auditory learner (listener). If you discover and use your chosen learning style, your brain will absorb more material and retain facts. Try combining different learning techniques. Write down what you are learning, read passages and notes aloud to yourself, and always review your writings.
5. Discover when it is best for you to learn and study. There are those who learn best in the morning, others who are better late at night. Figure out your rhythm and time frame. Use this time frame to maximize your learning power. At the same time, give your brain time to absorb what you are learning. You may have to sleep on the information or at the very least, take frequent breaks to give your brain a rest.
When you are in elementary school that is the time to learn what types of learning works best for you. You may have to experiment and talk to your parents and teachers, but once you have developed a learning system, you will always be refining it. Discovering great study habits in elementary school will serve you well in high school and beyond. Oh, and do add in plenty of “play time.”