Pornim radioul...
TEHNICI ÎNVĂȚARE » Sfaturi invatat

How do top students study? 

Publicat în

If you went to or are going to a top school like MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Berkeley, Stanford, Cornell, Caltech, Wharton, Princeton, Yale, Brown, what is your studying method?

Could you please give me advice on how to study the best possible way (especially for math classes)? How do you get good grades at the top universities? Please give me directions, like what you do before lecture, after, during weekends, how you study the book, how many books you read, how you take the tests, how much do you study, etc.


MIT normally does not rank its students. So if you hear that someone graduated "magna cum laude" from MIT you can instantly know that this claim is a lie.

But MIT does occasionally rank students based on grades when it comes to scholarship applications. During one such ranking I discovered I was the top ranking student in terms of grades in my graduate class.

I maintained a 5.0/5.0 GPA in one of my MIT masters and 4.9/5.0 in my other MIT masters until my very last semester when I had to fly to job interviews and couldn't attend all my classes.

I achieved these grades while doing a double research load. That is I worked simultaneously for an MIT professor and two Harvard Medical School professors.

I consider myself a professional student/learner and believe that there are definitely techniques that I learned that can also be used by others to improve their grades.

I offer the following advice based on my experience:

1. Write your notes in a way where you can test your retention and understanding. Many people write notes that do a great job summarizing their materials but their notes are not designed to promote learning, retention or diagnosis of their weaknesses. But my notes can -- and so can yours.

Simply put my notes can be used like flashcards because I write them in a form where I separate a "stimulus" from a "response." The stimulus are cues or questions (think: front side of flashcard), while the response is the answer to the cue (think: back of flashcard). But the stimuli are to the left of a margin, while the responses are to the right. The key advantage of this is that just by putting a sheet of paper on top of your notes, you can hide the responses, while leaving the stimuli visible. You can have multiple margins and multiple levels of stimuli and response for greater information density. When you get good at this you can write notes in this form in real-time. To get some idea of what I'm talking about google for "Cornell Notetaking method". My notetaking method is a variant of this. I usually use completely blank paper to do this because regular lined paper has too small a margin.

To give you an idea of how powerful this notetaking method can be, I learned several courses just hours before the exam and still got an "A" in all of them during a difficult semester where I had too many competing priorities to spend long hours studying. Had it not been for this notetaking method I don't think that would be possible.

2. Develop the ability to become an active reader (this is the perhaps the most important advice I have to share). Don't just passively read material you are given. But pose questions, develop hypotheses and actively test them as you read through the material. I think the hypotheses are part of what another poster referred to when he advised that you should develop a "mental model" of whatever concept they are teaching you. But a mental model can be much more than simple hypotheses. Sometimes the model resembles a story. Other times it looks more like a diagram.

But what they all have in common is that the explain what is going on.

Having a mental model will give you the intuition and ability to answer a wider range of questions than would be otherwise possible if you lacked such a mental model.

Where do you get this model? You creatively develop one as you are reading to try to explain the facts as they are presented to you. It's like guessing how the plot of a movie, before it unfolds.

Îți mai recomandăm:

Students are born with test anxiety. Test anxiety is a mental illness. Test anxiety cannot be reduced. Any level of test anxiety is bad. All students who are not prepared have test anxiety. Citește mai mult

* * *

1. Respiră adânc şi realizează că totul este doar în capul tău Relaxează-te înainte să te apuci de scris. Inspiră aer adânc în piept, în timp ce ai mâinile pe bancă şi corpul relaxat. Învață acum cum să înveți!

Majoritatea oamenilor care nu dorm suficient nu sunt capabili sa recunoasca modul in care le este afectata sanatatea mentala. Multi cred ca somnul este un lux, un mic rasfat.

Ei admit totusi ca se simt mai bine atunci cand dorm bine o noapte intreaga si ca se simt mai rau atunci cand nu o fac. De fapt, nu este nici un secret ca somnul imbunatateste memoria si puterea de invatare si intelegere.

Lipsa excesiva de somn poate afecta performanta in munca, relatiile sociale si duce la probleme psihice, precum anxietatea sau depresia.

Îți mai recomandăm:

Din cauza stilului actual de viata, problemele de somn au devenit o „epidemie” la nivel mondial, afectand pana la 45% din populatie. Lipsa unui somn de calitate are un impact negativ asupra atentiei, memoriei si invataturii si ne face mult mai vulnerabili la accidente. Citește mai mult

* * *

If you haven’t heard, universities around the world offering their courses online for free (or at-least partially free). These courses are collectively called as MOOCS or Massive Open Online Courses. Învață acum cum să înveți!

Când ne confruntăm cu un lapsus, acele stânjenitoare goluri de momorie, un gest simplu ne-ar putea scoate din impas, potrivit unui grup de cercetători de la Universitatea din Surrey, Marea Britanie.

Studiul a arătat că închiderea ochilor a avut cel mai mare impact în ceea ce priveşte amintirea corectă a detaliilor, dar şi că sentimentul de confort din timpul intervievării a ajutat.

"Datele noastre şi altele anterioare indică faptul că închiderea ochilor este de ajutor, pentru că astfel se elimină elemente care ar putea distrage atenţia.", a declarat doctorul Robert Nash.

Îți mai recomandăm:

Nu mai ştiu sigur când s-a întâmplat totul, ştiţi clişeul ăla despre o fată şi-un băiat. Băiatul o plăcea pe fată, dar ea pe el nu, la început, si multe alte lucruri triste care intervin între ei, dar reuşesc să iasă învingători, ceva similar mi s-a întâmplat şi mie. Citește mai mult

* * *

Potrivit cercetătorilor, cei mai mulţi studenţi greşesc pentru că vor să înveţe recitind notiţe şi texte din manuale.  Nu te rezuma să reciteşti notiţele! Cei care citesc de mai multe ori textele nu le vor reţine mai bine decât cei care le citesc o singură dată. Învață acum cum să înveți!

Citește mai departe