When you begin your college studies, you need a clear plan of development. Otherwise, you’ll lose yourself somewhere along all those options and opportunities.
From the moment you set a clear direction, you’ll be able to develop a learning strategy that lets you go through your studies as quickly and as effectively as possible. When should you do this? From the very first day of your studies.
According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, many university students fail to use common learning strategies even when they know how effective those methods are. The researchers identified the need for training on different learning strategies, so each student could identify a method that works for them.
Let’s do some of that training today, shall we? We’ll give you 7 effective tips for building your learning strategy the right way.
1. Start with Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
So you have a paper to write or exams to take, and you focus on those goals. That’s great. But how are those goals aligned with your overall strategy? Are you taking the right classes?
It’s important to make a plan that leads you to a certain big goal. According to that plan, you can start planning for the year, the term, the month, and the day. When you’re focused on your big long-term goals, you will start taking the right courses and learning the right skills. Your entire educational journey will gain purpose.
2. Set Progressive Milestones
A certain goal, such as “get an A in philosophy” is too general. How exactly will you get there? You’ll have few milestones along the way: you’ll go to classes, complete projects, become part of discussions, learn progressively, and take exams. You must specify all progressive milestones that get you to a goal.
For example, start making lists of all books, articles, and studies you have to read for your major. Turn them into milestones. Include all papers you have to write for different courses in your calendar. Turn them into milestones. Then, set smaller milestones for each of those papers: research, planning, writing, proofreading.
3. Explore Better Learning Techniques
Are you used to the good-old style of reading and trying to remember everything you read just before an exam? This approach may get you a passing grade, but it’s not effective. You usually forget most of the things you thought you knew. Instead of learning, you’re just memorizing.
It’s time to start exploring better ways for analyzing and understanding the material. Understanding is the key. Some of the most effective methods include distributed practice, concept mapping, self-testing, summarization, and collaborative learning. Concept mapping, for example, enables you to connect your previous knowledge with the concepts you’re currently mastering. That’s a good way to keep information in your long-term memory.
Experiment with different learning techniques and find the one that works for you the most. Reading and memorizing is definitely not the right choice.
4. Identify Your Weak Spots
When you determine your weaknesses, you’ll know where to start from in order to improve your learning strategy. Are you bad at note-taking? Do you lack memory skills? Is writing or critical thinking your weakness? Whatever the weak spot is, you have to identify it and make a plan for improving that aspect of studying.
If necessary, take an online course or get a tutor to help you overcome that challenge.
5. Ask Away!
You’re not a superhuman. You can’t understand every single concept from a single class. Whenever you have questions about something your professor is talking about, ask away. That’s what the professor is there for: to clarify all issues for their students.
How will this help you with your learning strategy? Well, it’s the most effective way to get information and explanations that help you learn the concepts. You won’t have to go through online resources and do a lot of learning to understand; you’ll just ask the professor.
6. Master the Art of Time Management
Marion Livingston, a professional tutor at AU BestEssays, explains: “Students have more time than they realize. However, most of them are used to wasting it. They don’t bother attending all classes. They don’t start working on their projects soon enough. They don’t start studying early enough. They waste all this time, and all of the sudden they find themselves burning the midnight oil and not achieving the results they expect. With proper time management, they can make their lives easier.”
How do you learn the skill of proper time management? Just use your Google Calendar. You have 24 hours a day, just like the most successful students in your class do. Will you waste them or will you use them effectively? Plan how to get the most out of every day you have.
7. Be a Proactive Student
College is not only about studying. It’s also about various student activities, which help you reveal new interests and contribute towards the campus community. Be a proactive student! Get involved in campus activities and meet more people. They will motivate you to grow your learning strategy in the right direction.
Are you ready to start defining your reasons for learning and growing towards a specific goal? It’s time to develop a learning strategy. Such an approach will make you a really successful student!