How to Develop Effective and Efficient Study Skills

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. At first, it’ll take a good deal of conscious effort to change your studying ways, but after a while, it’ll become second nature, and studying will be easier to do.

Preparing to Study

Manage your time. Make a weekly schedule and devote a certain amount of time per day to studying. This will also improve your grades. That amount will vary depending on whether you’re in high school or college, and also varies by field of study. Make sure you stick to your schedule as much as possible but don’t be afraid to go off of plan sometimes to study more for the most recent upcoming exam. Make sure this study plan is realistic and not impossible. Don’t forget to schedule in everything, from eating, dressing, and commuting, to labs and scheduled classes.

  • You need to balance school, work, and extra-curricular activities. If you are really struggling with your classes, you may want to give up the afterschool job or an extra-curricular activity until your grades come up. You need to prioritize your time. Remember: your education is the most important thing.
  • For college classes, you should base the hours you study per class on how difficult the class is and how many credit hours the class is worth. For example, if you have a 3 hour physics class that is really hard, you want to study 9 hours a week (3 hrs x 3 for hard difficulty). If you have a literature course that is worth 3 hours and is kinda hard, you may want to study 6 hours a week (3 hrs x 2 for medium difficulty).

Pace yourself. Find the best speed for you to study and adjust accordingly. Some concepts or classes will come to you more naturally, so you can study those more quickly. Other things may take you twice as long. Take the time you need and study at the pace you feel comfortable.

  • If you study more slowly, remember that you will need more time to study.

Get enough sleep. Make enough time in your schedule to get enough sleep. Get a good night’s sleep every night and you’ll be making the best of your study time. This is important as you lead up to the test, and especially important right before you take the test. Studies have shown that sleep positively impacts test taking by improving memory and attentiveness. Staying up all night studying may sound like a good idea, but skip the all-night cram session. If you study throughout the weeks, you won’t need to cram anyway. Getting a good night’s sleep will help you perform better.

  • If you end up a little sleep deprived despite your best efforts, take a short nap before studying. Limit your nap to 15-30 minutes. After you wake, do some physical activity (like you would do during a break) right before you start.

Clear your mind of anything that doesn’t have to do with the topic you’re studying. If you’ve got a lot on your mind, take a moment to write yourself some notes about what you’re thinking about and how you feel before you start studying. This will help to clear your mind and focus all your thoughts on your work.

Eliminate electronic distractions. One of the worst distractions for studying is electronic devices. They are hooked up to social media, you receive texts through your phone, and your laptop is hooked to the internet. Silence your cell phone or keep it in your bag so it’s not there to distract you if someone calls or texts you. If you can, don’t open your laptop or connect it to the internet.

  • If you are easily distracted by social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, or others, download one of the available applications to instantly block some of the distracting sites on your computer. When you are done with your work, you can unblock access to all the sites as before.



Sole House Democrat with Computer Science degree will “fight like hell” against Trump

On Tuesday, while much of Washington, DC’s political class was consumed by President-elect Donald Trump’s first press conference, the only Democrat with a computer science degree was named to the House Judiciary Committee. The House of Representatives has three other members who hold computer science degrees (all Republicans), but none of them sit on the Judiciary Committee. Despite being a new face to Congress, over the last year, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) has been very outspoken on issues pertaining to law enforcement and encryption. The Judiciary Committee, which helps guide law enforcement and judicial policy federally, has been one of the primary vehicles to attempt a revision of the balance between privacy and law enforcement needs. Rep. Lieu is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves, and he served for four years as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The Congressman spoke out against efforts to weaken encryption during a subcommittee hearing in April 2015: “It is clear to me that creating a pathway for decryption only for good guys is technologically stupid—you just can’t do that.” Lieu said in a statement that he hopes to take on the Trump administration as “one of only a handful of immigrants serving in Congress.” “The Judiciary Committee takes on exceptional importance given the prior statements of Trump—who lost the popular vote—in which he advocated for a Muslim-American registry as well as the deportation of millions of people, which would include children, high school, and college students who are undocumented,” he continued. “I will fight like hell on the Judiciary Committee to stop all unconstitutional, discriminatory, and stupid ideas by our next president.” (source)

A mathematician looked at when society is likely to collapse and the answer is sooner than you’d think

Happy new year, not to start the year on a negative note, but this is an interesting examination of the effect of mathematics on knowledge (a Theory of Knowledge topic). It may not have been your favourite subject in school – but we highly recommend paying attention to mathematics, just this once.  Trump’s presidency marks the beginning of a peak in political violence, according to one expert.  Peter Turchin, professor of Ecology and Mathematics from the University of Connecticut, uses a maths equation to predict the rise and fall of civilisations and human behaviour. The new discipline, called cliodynamics, treats history like a science. And what he’s found using this process is terrifying. He writes on

Ten years ago I started applying its tools to the society I live in: the United States. What I discovered alarmed me.

So we’re off to a good start then. It looks like you’ve got around three years to build that underground bunker in your back garden, because Turchin predicts that social instability and political violence will peak in the 2020s. He also states that the 2016 US election ‘confirms his forecast’. His predictions are informed by trends such as income inequality, declining wellbeing, and growing political dysfunction. He says he also tracks the role of “Elite overproduction”. This term is used to describe increasing inequality propping up the most wealthy, so the “one per cent” becomes the “two per cent, which increases competition between the elite and polarises political parties. He says this is a big driver of social instability, and it looks like Trump might make it worse – although the jury is still out on whether we needed a mathematician to tell us that (source).