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Studying What is the most effective way to study?

  1. Apr 30, 2017 #1
    Hey all,
    I'm currently studying for a dynamics midterm and am finding my method of studying to be a bit slow. What I typically do is read the chapter and then do every other problem at the section. (that's a lot of problems) while I know I can learn the information this way, I feel that it's not the most efficient way to study this material. I feel like I'm just trying to understand it by brute force. This has worked up until now. But, this is just too much information to take this aproach for dynamics. anyone have any tips that can speed up the process?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2017 #2


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    Effective studying is something that can be influenced by many factors, some of which are directly related to a specific material and some of which are not. This process can potentially vary from person to person, from topic to topic, from field to field and even from time to time. As a general guideline for the case you mention I would recommend to try to focus on the main points of a chapter and then try to tackle the problems. Anything not initially absorbed will make you revisit some parts of the text and this way when you finish the problems you'll have a decent grasp of the material. If for any reason you find it difficult to absorb the main points in a single pass or it is too much material anyway, then break the process into smaller chunks and give yourself the time needed to absorb the material by taking a break. Then go on again with the text. Alternatively at this point you may try to dig through chapter problems and see what you can fully solve up to that point and then pick up the text from where you left off.

    Also, spotting the main points of the text implies that you read through all the material carefully, say up to a point and find what is crucial. This is a really precious thing in studying especially in big and / or difficult chapters.
  4. Apr 30, 2017 #3


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    Work through solving the / any EXAMPLE problems as you find them. Try to solve each of them as far or as thoroughly as you can, before looking at the steps in the book. These are an important part of the study and problem-solving learning process.
  5. May 1, 2017 #4
    It's different for everyone, find what suits you. Experiment with different ways until something sticks.

    I find it easier to listen to music.( but an adverse effect while studying language based subjects)
  6. May 1, 2017 #5
    Sometimes I was I could just upload the info directly into my brain...I'm beginning to not really like my major
  7. May 1, 2017 #6
    I think I'm just going through a slump, but I have next to no motivation to study. I just switched from semester to quarter and it's much different.
  8. May 1, 2017 #7
    I find it helpful to reflect on each problem you do. Where you got stuck, why, and how you got unstuck. This takes maybe a minute or two per problem and is really helpful. Doing this helps me understand more without having to do a billion different problems.
  9. May 1, 2017 #8
    Here is a brief what works and what doesn't:


    Doing problems is a good strategy. Self-testing as well. In addition to what symbolipoint said, if you look at a solution, ask yourself where you went wrong and why. Identify the concepts. Do the same if you are correct. In some sense try to develop a mini-concept map within these solutions. I often see solutions with only math written and you need to fill in the blanks and connect the concepts.

    Overall, there are many study strategies and you will have experiment and see which ones work for you. This may very well vary depending on the situation.
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