The Study Dude – How to Effectively Learn Anything

Study Tips from a Semi-Anonymous Friend.

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants for you than to know that you are truly a very special person?one that this world desperately needs?and all of your contributions to humanity are meaningful, worthwhile?and life-giving.

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 on a reading of Study Skills: Discover How to Effectively Learn Anything in the Most Effective & Time Efficient Ways Possible by Ace McCloud.

Ways to Make Your Study Environment Irresistible
Let’s face it, as the Study Dude, I’m a little neurotic when it comes to things like aromatherapy and Feng Shui (more in theory than in practice, however). Yes, I love sniffing sweet scents so much that I discovered that if I smelled Chinese medicine bottles, and if they appealed to my sense of smell, that meant that the medicine might be useful to me. (Be warned: This is not a wise medicinal strategy nor a substitute for doctor’s advice–just a Study Dude quirk.) In the process of sniffing Chinese medicinal bottles, I discovered that I had a fondness for the scents of the medicines for the eyesight (I have very bad vision) and for Melatonin (most pronouncedly when I was having sleep issues), so there seemed to be some merit to the power of scent, however unorthodox.

Aromatherapy sellers, too, say that if you have a particular affinity for a scent, it means it has some type of medicinal/therapeutic benefit for you.

So, why not make your study environment one that appeals to your cravings. Here are some tips on making your study environment absolutely irresistible:

– Purchase an aromatherapy kit (Saje sells kits that let off steam and run on electricity), and invest in scents that aid in concentration and memory, such as peppermint, rosemary, juniper, berry, and sage. Some scents (such as lavender) also aid in sleep quality.
– Listen to brainwave music that has frequencies that will catapult your thinking prowess to the next level. Some recommendations include youtube videos under the headings of “Study Smarter Not Harder,” “Study Aid Binaural Beats,” “Binaural Beats: Focus, Concentration, Study Music,” and “Study Aid for Super Learning and Memory”
– Make your environment quiet, with the exception of the brainwave music listed above.
– Have a clean, stress-free work area. Clutter makes for a stressful environment, so to ease the nerves, keep your work area clean.
(McCloud, 2014)
The Study Dude listened to the brainwave music, and the “Study Smarter Not Harder” clip from the link included above was excellent?highly recommended.

The Philosophy of Studies
There is a mindset that comes with effective studies. The Study Dude was relentless with devoting time to studies and exercise in the graduate program. Every single free minute was dedicated to one of these two pursuits. If I wasn’t exercising excessively, I was hitting the books. Fifteen minute intervals? I’d be studying. Ten minute ride in a passenger seat in a car? I’d be studying.

Further to that, studying wasn’t just a goal for me, it was a matter of necessity?a dire, all-consuming need for achievement. The grade meant everything.

Now that I’ve achieved two degrees, studying is more for skill development. The grade is less important to the skills I aim to acquire and the sheer enjoyment of learning. The one most important thing I gained from studies is the desire for lifelong learning.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your mental state for studies:
– Treat school like it is your nine-to-five job. Demonstrate to your employers that you have what it takes to be a success.
– Ensure that you find something to be excited about in each and every course. Re-examine your passion periodically to ensure that your chosen major truly speaks to your heart. After all, it is a commitment that can change the course of your life.
– Set and review your academic goals daily?and be sure to apply to your major early on in order to get an established footing in your intended direction.
– Keep calendars and agendas for your homework, assignments, and extracurricular activities.
– Build a positive, strong rapport with your instructor.
– Try to align extracurricular activities with your educational direction. If you want to go into journalism, write for the school newspaper.
– Set all of your short-term goals so they are geared toward long-term objectives.
– Take courses that take you a little outside of your comfort zone?that challenge you?to keep you from growing weary with boredom.
– Visualize the future that your academic success will provide for you. Relish in this vision as it will be a motivator particularly when times are tougher.
– When you start to worry excessively, break the cycle and meditate, do yoga, or exercise instead.
– Read self-help books in your spare time to feel better about yourself.
– Use software called Subliminal Power to incorporate subliminal messages that you are able to design onto your computer system. It costs between $40 and $50, depending on what format you get the software.
(McCloud, 2014)

Actual Study Strategies
The Study Dude wants you to succeed academically, so it is important to rehash the basics with you, the beloved reader, every now and then.

So, here are some tips to get you in gear for hitting the books:
– Take good notes by using abbreviations and your own shorthand system for common burdensome words (like b/c for because). Don’t write in full sentences and if ideas are repeated in the lecture, be sure to place a star beside it for further emphasis.
– Don’t speed read textbooks. Skim read, and be sure to write a reaction to the writing when you are through to aid in memory retention. Pay initial attention to things like headings, subheadings, and conclusions. Then, move on to reading the first and last lines of every paragraph in your initial cursory summary skim.
– When writing a paper, narrow your topic, make a thesis statement, and verify statistics that you may use in order to determine their validity.
– Use flashcards to aid in memory retention.
– Make master lists of key terms, themes, etc.
– Use mnemonic devices such as acronyms to remember lists and other elements. Use wild visual associations with words to aid in memory.
– Review your notes and engage in positive self-talk right before an examination. Ensure you read directions before taking the exam. Note total exam times and points allocated to each question to get a breakdown of how much time you should spend for each topic. Be sure to leave time at the end.
(McCloud, 2014)

If you liked these basics, and especially if they are new to you, check out some of the earlier Study Dude articles that placed emphasis on mnemonics or basic study tips.

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.

McCloud, Ace. (2014). Study Skills: Discover How to Effectively Learn Anything in the Most Effective & Time Efficient Ways Possible. Pro Mastery Publishing

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