The Study Dude – How to Study

Study Tips from a Semi-Anonymous Friend

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than the knowledge that you are infinitely worthwhile regardless of any grade.

Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.

Today’s study tips are based a reading of the book How To Study (7th Edition) by Ron Fry.

How to Manage Your Children So You Can Study
The Study Dude thinks children are complete and utter gifts to this world. However, when it comes time to study, you need to devise a magic solution to temper your toddlers? need for your undivided attention.

Fry (2012) has a plethora of ideas for helping you to keep the little ones happy while you study away:

– Spend some time playing with your children so that they are more inclined to attend to play at tasks you assign them when it comes time for you to hunker down with the books.
– Make your study time part of a routine and let the children know It’s mommy or daddy’s study time during the certain hours. Kids love routine, and they will adapt to wanting to give you your space during your scheduled time.
– Let the little tykes enjoy television or DVD flicks (or NetFlix or the like) while you are attending to study matters. Everyone (most everyone, that is) loves a good movie and your children will be thanking you for the opportunity to squeeze in some entertainment while you do the homework hustle.
– When taking your five to fifteen minute breaks in between study sessions, why not go attend to the tykes and do something fun and/or meaningful that you all can benefit from?
– Why not have a relative babysit occasionally, or send your spouse and your children off to a dinner and movie night periodically? Your children will be begging for you to have study nights under the latter circumstance.

The Cue Cards System to Writing Amazing Papers
The Study Dude used cue cards for making papers, and the system was amazing. Be that as it may, Fry (2012) has come up with a more detailed system of using cue cards that is by far the best of all I’ve yet to encounter.

Here are some tips from Fry (2012) for making your paper writing journey the simplest process imaginable:

– After choosing a topic, doing some preliminary background research from resources such as encyclopaedias or overview books, and settling on an initial thesis topic, then what you should do is make a preliminary outline of what you want to tackle in your research paper. Just “jot down the various issues you plan to investigate” (p. 145) and put them in a logical order. This outline may change with further research, of course, but it creates an excellent road map to help you to zero in on the prime fodder during your more in-depth research sessions.
– Create bibliography cue cards that have all of the information you will need for citation, including page numbers of sections you referred to. Make one bibliography card per single resource. Although Fry doesn’t recommend this particular approach, I would put them in alphabetical order next, and then, as Fry recommends, number each bibliography card.
– When researching your materials, go through the resources referenced in the bibliography cards one-by-one, ensuring that you capture any ideas that pertain to your outline in addition to any stats, expert quotes, definitions, names, dates, and facts you might encounter.
– Get your blank index cards and write one idea per card, ensuring that you put the number for the bibliography card on the front of the cue card. Only write on the front so that you have it all right before your eyes. Ensure you paraphrase the quote to your best ability and, if you opt to quote word for word, ensure that you mark it with quotation marks and the page number(s). Better yet, always write the page numbers for the quotes, whether paraphrased or cited word-for-word, so that you can go back to it at any time to reference the original material.
– Check your outline now, and see what heading topic fits for your cue card. Make sure you use roman numerals and alphabetical hierarchical lettering in your outline so that you can just jot that letter down in your cue card. Put this in the upper right hand corner of the cue card. Put a one or two word heading beside it that sums up the content, and try to be consistent with the heading names across cue cards, wherever possible. If you have no place in your outline for the quote you captured, put a star in the upper right hand corner of the cue card as you may include it later on or may insert an additional section into your outline that fits with the cue card.
– Make sure you put your personal thoughts on cue cards, too. Mark the upper right hand side of the cue card with an “M” for “mine”. Your musings are just as important to a paper as any other authors, and any opportunity to fit your perspectives into a well-structured essay work wonders for your potential grade.
– Now that you have all of your research material read and your cue cards made, group them according to where they are in the outline. For each group of cue cards that fit under a heading in your outline, further organize them into a logical order.
– Put the miscellaneous cue cards that you marked with an asterisk in addition to your personal thoughts you marked with an “M” into the structure where they most fit. If they don’t fit, just place them at the back of the stack for reference in case an opportunity to fit them into your essay arises. Voila. There you have it: your own detailed outline. Now just start writing to your heart’s content.

While Fry recommends using the cue cards for the outline?and The Study Dude does, too?I’d recommend you make it extra easy on yourself and type up the cue cards (with the paraphrased or word-for-word cited quotes) in order of grouping. Add an introductory sentence that sums the paragraphs idea up (and there should only be one key idea per paragraph) and use a lead in a follow-up sentence for each quote you include. This system will make your life easier, and The Study Dude will sleep easier at night, too, knowing that you will be acing your classes with fewer pressures. Whew!

The Cornell System
How can The Study Dude claim to be a guru of study tips with substance without having yet mentioned the Cornell system? When searching books on the Cornell system on Amazon, I found only notepads with sheets of paper with a vertical line three inches from the left of the book marked down each page. Namely, the Cornell system requires you to write on the larger side of the rule, taking all of your notes as usual, and then filling in the three-inch side of the left page with key words that delineate to what the notes pertain. The left-hand side becomes a section for putting types of, if you will, headings and subheadings, while the right-hand side is for all of your usual notes. There you have it! Cornell demystified.

So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.

References
Fry, Ron. (2012). How to study. (7th Edition). Boston, MA: Course Technology: Cengage Learning.

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