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Lesson #9 - Home Study-PreparationQ: Why should you study systematically at home?
Systematic Study makes it possible for you to do your best. As a result, you can learn more in less time and remember it better. With the PAT approach, you can choose the best skills and strategies to be successful. You can also save a lot of time and grief. You control your own success.
To begin, let's review the purpose of the Prepare step of Systematic Study. There are two reasons to Prepare. The first reason is to clear your mind of distractions. You want to focus your concentration so you do not use valuable study time thinking about other things. Because humans can only think about one thing at a time, you want to drive out all competing thoughts.
The second reason to Prepare is so you can build on what you already know. Psychologists who study learning have demonstrated that it is easier and faster to add to existing knowledge than to learn something completely new. Your study will be much faster and more successful if you use what you already know to learn more.
After you finish this lesson, you will know several actions you can use to Prepare
when you study at home.
The first step is to review your study plan and new assignments. Your study plan should include regular study you must do such as reading your texts and work you must do on long term assignments. You should also decide how much time you will need to complete the study you have planned.
Next, look at your assignments for that day. Identify what you must do for the next day and what you must plan for the future. Homework due tomorrow is an example of what you must do right away. A test announced for next week is an example of work you must put on your study plan. Then, estimate the time you will need to do your assignments.
Finally, think about how long it will take to complete everything. Make a plan that includes what you must do, when you will do it, and your goals. This is your study plan for the day (see Form 9.1). As you plan, be realistic. You can adjust long term study if you have a heavy workload for one or two nights. Be careful not to put off work for tests, projects, and papers, however.
Q: What do you do after you have planned?
The planning should take about 3-5 minutes. When you are done, take another 5 minutes to relax. Think of something you enjoy, stretch, take some deep breaths, and make yourself comfortable. Think about positive things and being successful. Think about what you can do when you are finished your studying.
As you begin your homework, don't think about how long it will take or how you want to do something else. If you have a lot to do, break your tasks into smaller parts. Mark these off your task list as you complete them. This will give you a sense of progress and you will feel more successful.
Next, review in your mind what you know and need to learn as you begin each new task. Set study goals for yourself. You can do this by thinking about what you learned in class that day, by reviewing your notes from class, and by thinking about how the homework will contribute to your understanding. Use these goals to be sure you keep your concentration and stay on your tasks.
As you begin each study task, check to see if you have everything you need. Try to avoid repeated interruptions for any reason such as, to get supplies.
You want to study in a quiet, well lit place. You should have a comfortable place to sit where you can also write. Stay out of family traffic patterns. It is usually not a good idea to lay on a bed to read or write because it is too easy to fall asleep.
You should not listen to the radio or television either, unless you use them for background noise. That is, the radio on TV should be set on a station with programming you do not want to hear or watch. Do everything you can to reduce distractions.
Finally, work through your tasks systematically. Begin each with a brief review of your
goals and what you can do to meet these goals. Once prepared, use good study actions, and
self testing. You will learn about these in Lessons 10 through 17. As you finish one task,
put it aside, and begin the next.
Sure, it is a good idea to stop and stretch once in a while. Some people need to do this more often than others. Take a break about every half hour to forty-five minutes. Take about five minutes to walk around, clear your mind, and relax. Then, remember to prepare when you return. Don't let your five minute break become ten or twenty minutes.
Study doesn't have to be hard and unpleasant. You can snack while you study if you find
this helpful. You can also make yourself comfortable. Just remember that your purpose is
to study and to learn.
Evaluate your study setting using Form 9.2. You will do the best when it is quiet and well suited to your homework tasks. If you are studying in a place with too many distractions, then change to a better place. It may take you a while to become adjusted to changes in where you study, but you will improve if you make the effort.
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