The Study Dude – The Bad Ant Motel

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants than for you to prep for exams with wild imagery.

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.

This week’s Study Dude looks at Mark A. Dunaway and Marcella H. Dunaways? book Study Smarter, Not Harder: The College Student’s Guide to Success. The Dunaways go straightaway into study tips basics and pre-exam prep.

The Next Literary Great: Your Notes
Do you ever puzzle over what perfect notes look like? I squint when I read study tip books that model oh-so-perfect lecture notes.

You see, note-taking gurus say, “Do the impossible”: listen to lectures while mulling-over how to summarize?as if You’re penning the next Pride and Prejudice. And then they tell you not to multitask. So, how do you write, think, and listen at the same time?

It depends on your learning style. I write fast and messy, capturing nearly everything the professor says. But I use abbreviations and math symbols as shorthand. I star important ideas and add question marks beside the confusing stuff. I sprinkle acronyms and mnemonics in the margins.

Some students write slowly and neatly. If That’s your style, use shorthand abbreviations and math symbols. Do use stars, exclamations, and memory devices. But, pick-up your speed: don’t miss key ideas. After all, You’re taking notes, not crafting a calligraphy Christmas party invite.

Mark and Marcella Dunaway don’t runaway without revealing note-taking tips and more:
– Whenever you watch a class lecture or video, take notes.
– If you get a print-out or handout, still take notes.
– When watching lectures, always have a pen and notebook ready.
– Use a notebook or binder ? never rely on loose-leaf papers alone.
– If in a physical class, sit near the front. Top students sit in the first two rows.
– Use a computer to take notes if you don’t need to jot down diagrams or pictures. But You’re better off taking paper and pen notes. If you use a computer, keep a pen and backup notepad handy.
– Pick out the key points in the lecture. don’t write verbatim.
– Do use abbreviations, such as b/c for because, w/o for without, = for equals, and so forth.
– Write down whatever the professor repeats or emphasizes.
– Ask questions.
– Put away your cell phone and iPad. Keep distractions away.
– Participate in class; be a keener.
– Only miss a class if you have an emergency that you can back up with official documentation. (Work doesn’t count as an emergency.)

Teach to Learn: Exam Prep
You’re about to be quizzed on advanced math or French grammar. What do you do? You teach it before you get tested. Yes, find a student.

I would suggest your pit bull if You’re in a pinch. But if your pit bull bites, then audiotape a lecture, make a matching PowerPoint, and post on YouTube instead.

Or, submit your lecture notes for sale on special sites. You could make three bucks every quarter year, just like my self-published Kindle book. But if that all sounds like work, then memorize by rote, acronyms, or mnemonics.

What’s rote? Repetition. Less fun than making videos.

What’s mnemonics? Crazy and wild images used for memorization. For example, you can remember the word “sycophant” by picturing a psycho ant flattering you while luring you into the Bad Ant Motel. (Psycho-ant sounds like sycophant.)

Mark and Marcella Dunaway give-away secrets to exam prep:
– Do not study during the last thirty minutes before an exam.
– While waiting for the test, do not seek out your friend, Ed, to discuss possible questions and answers. Ed may spin you into panic mode.
– Eat protein and sugar and drink coffee just before the exam.
– During the exam, heave heavy breaths and give yourself positive pep talks. If any negative thoughts arise, substitute them with positive ones.
– When you get the test, spot all the questions that you can answer. A confidence booster.
– Allow a five- to ten-minute buffer at the end of test to go over any missed or questionable answers.

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.

ReferencesDunaway, Mark A., & Dunaway, Marcella H. Study Smarter, Not Harder: The College Student’s Guide to Success. San Bernardino, CA: N.P. 2014.