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What is your studying style

  1. Mar 7, 2013 #1
    What is your studying "style"

    Hello all, i'm curious to know how different people study. For me i do a lot of problems, i also make up my own problems using variables no numbers to try to get a more intuitive understanding and i ask myself a bunch of questions about it. And of course i read and search the web if i don't understand something. Lately i've been getting really bored with doing problems from books so i've been doodling and making up my own problems. Do you think this is beneficial? do any other study this way? how do you study? are you a straight problems person or straight textbook? i'm looking to experiment with different studying techniques so any response will be appreciated! thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2013 #2
    If you are making redundant problems that do not test different concepts or are just problems you have already seen, then probably not. I like to look for problems in textbooks that look interesting and that may take some time to think about. Even if a problem is simple, see if there is some sort of insight to the problem. Does it relate to real world issues in anyway? Does it build your intuition? Is there more than one way to approach the problem? Also, try to guess what the answer should be prior to solving it. Should it be negative or positive? About what order of magnitude?

    Another fun way to develop problem solving skills is to do Fermi questions! These kinds of problems are very fun and do not really have an exact answer. Google them sometime. =)

    I read the textbook, handouts from professors, Wikipedia and other internet sources, and forums. I don't take notes in class, but that is my personal preference. I don't feel any benefit from them. You just need ask yourself, "do you feel any benefit from your study habits?"
  4. Mar 7, 2013 #3
    hey! thanks for the response.

    with mechanics i actually drew up a ball getting shot off a cliff, landing somewhere below its initial then recieving a force from a spring to shoot up an incline fall into a catapult shooting out of that into a bucket and i kept adding things and solved everything using variables then added numbers to see what would happen if i changed one variable as oppose to another. So thats what i meant when i say i create my own problems and doodle.

    i will definitely check out Fermi questions.

    hmmm i take down everything in class...but funny thing is i never look at them or review them...
  5. Mar 7, 2013 #4
    I read the book chapter and do as many problems as I have time to do before the lecture for that section. I circle any problems that I couldn't solve or had major difficulty solving and come back to them after attending the lecture. If I still can't solve them, I'll visit the professor during office hours to get some clarification about the problems. This method seems to work pretty well for me.

    Reading the sections takes the most time, because I try to really conceptually understand what is going on before moving on to the next section. It can certainly take a lot of time, but I find I get much more out of the lecture when I do this.
  6. Mar 8, 2013 #5


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    The approach you use is one that I would use if I could. I find that I have to devote so much time to hand -in assignments that I don't have time to go all the way through a textbook.
    My day is usually from 9am - 4pm, but by the time I get home I just have to do these hand ins.
    Do you have lengthy hand ins each week? If so, how do you find the time to do problems from the textbook?
  7. Mar 8, 2013 #6
    This is a good method. i usually read the chapter before and looked at the questions. But didn't circle ones i can't get. I'll definitely incorporate that.

    EDIT: But i didn't do or circle
  8. Mar 8, 2013 #7


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    Depends on the class. If it was a very problem solving focus class, then I would just cram through a lot of exercises and learn the 'tricks' to solving certain problems. If it was a proof focused class, I would memorize theorems and dissect what would happen if you removed a condition. I would also go to my study group and we'll spend time proving proofs we known by different arguments and we would also make up questions and see if it was true or false.

    I never did this as a means of studying, but I would look for ways to apply what I knew. I never sat down and attempted to solve a problem, but I would read something and see if anything I could be use and then research if I had the right idea. One example is figuring out how a counterfire radar locates its target.
  9. Mar 8, 2013 #8
    I study in short bursts for about an hour with very high intensity. This usually involves setting various timers to keep the stress up. I rip problems, think more deeply about concepts, and usually write my own problem sets right before an exam. Things that I never do is read the examples in the book or review problem solutions I feel that that is cheating. I've never allowed myself to learn by reading through examples or solutions because I would be tempted to just learn some mundane method for solving a small set of problems. This is how most people seem to study and I think it's ridiculous because when things are very different than those methods they're completely lost. Monkey see monkey do is not learning, it's copying and in my opinion, it's cheating.

    When I'm learning something new I go straight to the problems without reading the section, this forces me to essentially discover things myself. This is very time consuming but I'm notorious for being overly prepared before and during classes. If my time management was poor then I would fail all my classes because I would always be behind.

    By the way, I can usually only do a max of 4 of those sessions I described above everyday. I love when students say they study for "12 hours a day." That's the biggest load of crap I ever heard, their intensity must be next to nothing. If someone actually studied that much at a high intensity they would have a mental breakdown from the stress.
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