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|The study guide that may
your training materials is brief so a few extra things need mentioning:
If you study at work, do it responsibly and DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR WORK.
Always set aside a special time of the day for study. If taking the course in class or at home after work, have an hour break after work or classes to be kind to yourself. When studying don't take breaks that extend more than an hour and a half if you can help it. You have to maintain the momentum of the day. Otherwise you'll break the pattern and loose the opportunity to develop good study habits and become disciplined in your approach.
It is essential to create a routine that is followed on a regular daily basis in order to develop a disciplined approach to success. this way few things can distract you from your goals. This builds maturity, confidence and a road to accomplishment.
Always reward yourself for maintaining your discipline with short 15 to 30 minute breaks every one and a half to two hour study sessions. Every three to four hours take a hour to one and a half hour break. the mind and body can only take so much. Its just like eating. You have to sit back and let the digestion process take place.
A couple of things I found that worked well for me were using a meal for a break or doing a work out or doing some meditation during a long break helped to relax and relieve the stress from studying. These are disciplines that also facilitate the higher levels of brain function to maintain a good memory and state of emotional health, not to mention your physical health. It can make you a lean mean learning machine, with the ability to enjoy yourself on the weekend.
Use an electric timer to time yourself on breaks and when studying so you don't over study or slack off too much on your breaks. This way you are more likely to focus more intently on what you are doing and don't become a clock watcher. A battery powered time in only about $4.00 and comes in handy for other things as you will find out.
Some find with certain types of study material that listening to their favorite music on the stereo or a walkman makes the time go faster. Try it out.
Always feel free to mark up your lectures and books with little notes that help you understand the material better. Expand on diagrams if there are any. Often diagrams are incomplete to some degree. Expanding on a system's diagram can pull together other parts of a lecture that provide a more complete overview that create a better picture in the mind of the person developing an understanding of the system. Often developing your own diagrams of how systems or parts of systems integrate dramatically simplifies the learning experience. Drawing it out yourself also reinforces your understanding and confidence level. The notes you make don't have to be understood by anyone but you so, customize your learning tools to your specifications. Build yourself a Cadillac learning system.
Create flash cards with questions on them to rehearse when you have spare time at work or riding the bus, waiting in line at the grocery store or, driving to and from. Flash cards can have diagrams and formula on them to assist your memorization process. If you see it often enough its bound to sink in.
If you really want to cut down on studying time, big time, invest in a small pocket tape recorder with a set of head phones. General Electric makes an inexpensive one and if you get rechargeable batteries and a transformer to plug into house current it can be very practical and cost effective. Tape record condensed versions of all pertinent study material and listen to it every chance you have. Coordinate it with flash cards so you have two means of learning stimuli. This way you have double learning advantage. Listen to it where ever when ever, driving the car, doing dishes, cooking a meal, walking, shopping, even working if you are so lucky. You can do this in your sleep too. Its more on the subliminal side of learning. this way you have all the bases covered and have a huge advantage over other learning practices. Inundate yourself with the information and it will be observed through the process of osmosis eventually. Much in the way that radio and television commercials enter into your memory. You hear them often enough you find yourself humming them or at least having the ability to repeat the words or lyric without having actually ever made the effort to remember it. this is a very disciplined approach but, it works like a charm and reduces the stress level dramatically.
It is important to record things in an abbreviated form when possible in a way that you best understand. This is generally the way we quite often think and so will integrate better in your memory. Keep in mind, the only person that has to remember this stuff is you, so again customize it to your hearts content. The only other provision is that you can interpret it well enough on an examination paper so the examiner can make sense of it.
Diagrams, believe or not can also be recorded on tape. Describe them to yourself in a way that you can best picture them in your mind, mentioning every detail. Visualization techniques play a big role here and greatly simplify the learning process. One technique is to start from the middle of the diagram and work your way out in a circular pattern. If it is a process flow diagram go in the direction of the process flow, dealing with the most significant flow as a means of direction and mentioning the less significant flow off shoots as you travel through the explanation of the flow diagram. Now if the diagram has systems within systems, you may want to indicate in the tape recorded message that a particular flow goes off to a different part of the process and you will describe in more detail after concluding the explanation of the major flow first. In essence, its what ever works best for you and how you know you will remember it best in terms of your understanding. Everyone learns and remembers differently. We all have commonalties in learning. Its the personal differences that make it necessary for us to make this learning experience our own. This will bring you success on any level in the learning continuum. Again, make it your own.
Copyright 1990 to 2003 David C.
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