Does Persistent Studying Improve Your Performance?
Would you believe me if I told you that taking a 360-degree shift in your study routine during one of the semesters could transform and change your grades for the better?
As the adage goes, ‘practice makes perfect.’ Every endeavor, be it sports, singing competition or a spelling bee, practice is essential to guarantee good results. University education is no exception, and persistent studying is vital for delighting grades.
Is this article relevant and helpful to you? Did its title spark questions in you like what type of a student and reader I am? Am I conducting my studies the right way and so forth? Did it attract, make you curious to find out what its contents were perhaps because you thought the information would be of help to you? If not, were you on the internet and came across it?
The purpose of these questions is to demonstrate that reading at the university is dissimilar to other forms of text. For example, reading a thriller novel by your favorite author is utterly different from university reading. Even though many students are aware of this fact, a majority do not practice constant studying and only get engaged when the examination is nearly approaching. Persistent reading has a considerable impact on your performance as it tends to improve it. A student’s ability to read and understand a great deal of content has two main benefits. Foremost, at the institutions of higher learning, students are required to read plenty of materials for different subjects and expected to attain a particular grade in an examination. Being able to read and understand within a short period will come in handy. The other benefit is that great reading skills will help you sail through the not so exciting topics you need to learn regardless. As opposed to reading an amusing article from a fashion magazine or a novel that you have picked for yourself, some university materials can be not as engaging.
The objective of this article is to provide you with some studying and revision techniques that will guide you as you prepare for the exam but have little time on your side to go through all the notes.
What is persistent reading?
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, an inert person is who has little or no impact on something and lack the desire to do so. Similarly, a passive reader does not bother to examine, scrutinize or appraise any content.
On the contrary, an active reader takes the whole process to another level as they put in more effort. They not only read through the pages, but they are eager to know why the author is inclined to their views or statements, they are inquisitive. Reading to them is like a deliberation, the reader seeks facts, critiques and evaluates the information before processing it.
Three phases characterize the study activity; before the study, during the research and post-study and the three stages play a different role in the study process. Active and passive readers will employ different tactics through the three stages of studying. Before the study, an enthusiastic reader kicks off the process by identifying the topic under review, think about it and highlight the things they need to know at the end of the study. For the duration of the study, the lively reader will divide the topic into small sections/subheadings that will organize the process as each subsection is assigned a specific time. Additionally, the learner poses queries which they anticipate the material to respond to as the contents unfold. Ultimately after completing the study, an active reader will make short notes that recap what they have learned.
The remaining question that lingers is, how do I become an active reader? Or if you are already one, how do you perfect this art? Well, the answer is simple, practice, dedication and more practice. Below are some tacks that will guide you as you endeavor to polish your reading habits.
Popular active studying methods
Flick through the material
Perusing through the material is the practice of highlighting and memorizing the important parts of the content exclusive of an in-depth revision. Flicking through is convenient for you especially when you are facing time constraints although, for an active reader, this is merely the beginning of the study process. During the period leading to the examination, browsing through the chapters will shed some light on what the topics are about giving you a rough idea of what to expect.
Lively learners do not regard perusing as a study technique as it comes before the reading process (outlined earlier). Perusing is only intended to feed their curiosity of what to anticipate.
Parallel to active studying where the students pose many queries that the material needs to clear up as it unfolds, analytical studying is comparable to this. Analytical studying involves the reader trying to get into the mind of the author, understand what they were thinking and feeling at the time and figure out the relevance of their message in regards to the context. Afterward, the students offer a critique of the material. Analytical reading and critiquing the material read does not imply that you have to be disapproving and pessimistic, but you give your honest opinion. However, in many cases, analytical studying involves being disapproving.
Examining is the process of paying close attention to something. Dissimilar to flicking through the material, scrutinizing takes more time as it seeks to find a specific answer to a particular question. Suppose you are doing your math take away assignment and cannot quite remember how to solve the problem, carefully examining how you went about it in class will help you solve the problem. Examining is particularly vital for the ‘after study’ phase.
The SQ3R System
The SQ3R is one of the most successful studying systems that a majority of students apply. This system advises students to survey (S), question (Q), read, recall, and review (3R).
SQ3R is a sophisticated study technique perfect for students in higher learning institutions. The method will assist you as read either journals, textbooks, discussion papers and so forth.
Unlike the other study methods discussed earlier, the SQ3R will give you a better understanding of the materials you are reading. This understanding, however, does not come easy, the SQ3R is time-consuming.
The SQ3R reading technique will improve your study speed while reading classroom-related materials, but longer compared to reading articles that are of interest to you, say an article on Forbes Magazine on the 10 Richest Entrepreneurs in the World. The use of SQ3R results in better performance making the efforts exerted profitably rewarding.
Consequently, what is SQ3R all about?
The survey involves perusing through the materials and identifying the important aspects such as the title, the outline, table of contents and if there are any demonstrations like charts, tables, graphs and pictures in the chapter. Essentially, by surveying, you are observing the chapter to determine the theme(s) that run through to get a feeling of what to expect when you begin reading. You will also want to be on the lookout for jargons (words you are seeing for the first time and do not know how to pronounce or spell them). Surveying gives you ample time to research the words on the internet or by using a dictionary.
Ideally, the survey should take as little time as you possibly can depending on the length of the chapter. At this juncture, critical reading and evaluation are of no importance since you only need to get a hold of the principal theme.
At this point, you need to ask yourself these four main questions and attempt to answer them.
- What is the fundamental idea?
- Is there any proof to uphold the idea? What are they?
- Are there illustrations used as proof?
- How does this idea associate to the journal (or any other material you are reading) and to me as a person?
The best way to go about this is to read every first heading, subheading, sentence of each passage and convert it into a question. The questions will to some extent convey the idea(s) the author is trying to put across.
Forming the questions is not the only task at this stage. You are also required to answer them or at least make an effort. By simply forming the questions you will not have satisfied the conditions necessary for this step, and your efforts will have been in vain.
This word means exactly how it spells, read. Take your time and study.
Studying can be tiresome as it is a weak competitor for most students, but still, you need to study. To break the monotony, take a short break ranging from 10-15 minutes between your studying. You can choose to use the Pomodoro system of productivity and assign each topic a specific time incorporating short breaks in between. This method will help you remain focused on accomplishing the mission at hand.
The best way to ensure that you truly understand what you are reading is by writing short notes, highlighting or writing on the margin. The short notes should be the main points, facts or formula you come across while studying. The benefit of writing short notes or highlighting is it not only improves your level of comprehension, but it also guarantees that you capture the man ideas expressed. In case you are using the marker, ensure you do not go on a making spray as the aim is not to be the best ‘highlighter’ but fathom the material.
This step is the defining factor that concludes whether you have grasped and understood what you have been reading. Different people term it differently, but the meaning remains uncorrupted. The suggested procedure is first to put your books aside and try to recall what you have learned and recognized vociferous (you can record for future usage). Finally, look at the questions you had set up and establish whether you answered them or not and if not, repeat the process and reread the materials and see if you will capture something new.
If you have fully understood, reciting the content will be a walk in the park, but if not, you will find it a challenge and, in this case, it advisable that you go through the chapter and re-read.
Each student has unique cognitive capabilities. Some students can recite a whole chapter while others might find it difficult and prefer to recite after every subsection. Recollecting a whole chapter from memory can prove to be an intricate test after all are we not humans? It is entirely up to you to figure out where you lie and pick the option more suitable for you.
Reviewing is the last step in the SQ3R reading system. Reviewing is perhaps the most important step that as a student you should adhere to carefully. Owing to the human nature, we tend to forget things over time and as such, you should constantly review what you read, recite it over and over again and in case you have forgotten, please consult your book.
A few days to the test, you should reread your materials more frequently (maybe in the morning and at night before going to bed), but if the exam is a few weeks away, weekly reviews should be enough.
To put it briefly…
At the beginning of this article, we introduced you to the concept of lively and inert readers. My advice, strive to be as enthusiastic as you can during your class readings as it matters a lot. For your other leisure readings, you can be inert or decide to take the active reading all the way.
Subsequently, we introduced you to the different methods of persistent studying (try and recall them). The SQ3R stood out form the rest due to its unique features; besides being time consuming and effort dependent, it yields satisfying results. Investigate which one works best for you and run with it towards your goal of becoming a competent reader.
Persistent studying is vital for any student especially for article writing and responding to argumentative questions. Active studying not only improves the student’s comprehension ability, but it also makes them good at articulating issues by asking questions before processing any information.
‘Change is the only constant thing in life,’ most people say. Change takes time, and you should not pressure yourself beyond your ability while adopting the new study techniques. Take each day at a time in perfecting your art of reading, and with time, you will get there.