View Full Version : Studying techniques that work for you?


Torm04
04-04-16, 06:49 PM
Hello, like most people I have difficulties studying... I was just wondering if anyone on here has any special techniques that they use for studying? I'm mainly studying Education and History, since I want to become a History teacher, and it's kind of odd that I can't study and retain anything. I am actually very interested in History. The high school that I went to really didn't teach me that much so now that I am taking college courses it is pretty much all new to me. It's odd because I am very interested in the information and really want to learn it, but have so much trouble retaining ANY knowledge on the subject. I can read the page over and over again, but still not remember very much of it.. So to sum up this post.. is there any studying techniques that works for you guys? I would really appreciate it, and am willing to try anything!

Thanks!

Greyhound1
04-04-16, 07:09 PM
Hello, like most people I have difficulties studying... I was just wondering if anyone on here has any special techniques that they use for studying? I'm mainly studying Education and History, since I want to become a History teacher, and it's kind of odd that I can't study and retain anything. I am actually very interested in History. The high school that I went to really didn't teach me that much so now that I am taking college courses it is pretty much all new to me. It's odd because I am very interested in the information and really want to learn it, but have so much trouble retaining ANY knowledge on the subject. I can read the page over and over again, but still not remember very much of it.. So to sum up this post.. is there any studying techniques that works for you guys? I would really appreciate it, and am willing to try anything!

Thanks!
Hi Tom,
Welcome to the forum!

You didn't mention if you have ADHD or not. Having ADHD made studying an extremely boring nightmare for me. Getting diagnosed later in life and properly treated has made a big difference in my ability to study and grasp some of it. Before diagnosis, I just read pages while I daydreamed and gained nothing.

I had never read an entire book in my life until age 45 after I was diagnosed and treated. I just couldn't do it no matter how important it was. Getting diagnosed and treated helped my ability to study much better than the many failed techniques I tried undiagnosed.

Best wishes and enjoy the forum.

Torm04
04-04-16, 07:40 PM
Hi Tom,
Welcome to the forum!

You didn't mention if you have ADHD or not. Having ADHD made studying an extremely boring nightmare for me. Getting diagnosed later in life and properly treated has made a big difference in my ability to study and grasp some of it. Before diagnosis, I just read pages while I daydreamed and gained nothing.

I had never read an entire book in my life until age 45 after I was diagnosed and treated. I just couldn't do it no matter how important it was. Getting diagnosed and treated helped my ability to study much better than the many failed techniques I tried undiagnosed.

Best wishes and enjoy the forum.

Sorry about that... I thought that was already assumed on this site haha! Yeah.. I have ADD. Pretty much the intense trouble of focusing on anything. Thanks for the reply though!

Chicky75
04-04-16, 10:00 PM
Welcome to the forum! I have the same problem with reading things for school, too. I can read fiction without any problem, but non-fiction puts me to sleep, no matter how interested I am in the subject. But I've found that talking to others about what I'm reading helps. I haven't tried it yet, but next time I take a class, I'm thinking of trying to record myself summarizing what I'm reading to see if it will have the same effect.

Something similar that has worked even more for me, sometimes, is reading with the idea that I'm going to teach someone what I've read - even better if I actually do teach it, somehow that seems to really clarify things and get them to stick in my head.

TheGreatKing
04-04-16, 10:37 PM
I wish I could help but each time I read something I skip through a lot of things until I get the conclusion lol and I have always never finished any actually project so ya.
I wish I was more help. Maybe this will help.
http://m.additudemag.com/site/additudemag1/default?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.additudemag.com%2Fadh d-guide%2Fcollege.html#2956

Greyhound1
04-04-16, 11:00 PM
Sorry about that... I thought that was already assumed on this site haha! Yeah.. I have ADD. Pretty much the intense trouble of focusing on anything. Thanks for the reply though!

I assumed you probably had ADHD. Just wondering if you are receiving any type of treatment for it.:)

I just know for me that no techniques worked until I treated my ADHD was basically my point.

Drightwrong1
04-05-16, 01:03 AM
@Torm04: I can try sharing some tips. But it'd really help me to make them more directed and relevant, once you share a bit more of yourself. For example:
whether it's just with history you're struggling or with every other subject;

what is your current emotional state;

how many hours and how easily/well do you sleep thesedays;

how old are you and when was your ADD diagnosed;

what medications or/and therapies (if any) have you tried so far;

how much do you think this is a case a retention problem, and how much a concentration problem;

etc.

stef
04-05-16, 02:06 AM
Try taking notes as you go along ( not like a formal outline but just jotting things down).
Dont use a highighter in the text books cause then everything looks " important". Or you could write a little summary in pencil, in the margin.

If you have lecture notes go back through them and highight and underline the titles or rewrite them in felt tip marker ( the titles and subtitles on the notes you already have.)

sarahsweets
04-05-16, 04:41 AM
I used to just re-write my notes. I would rewrite the lecture notes and write notes about things as I read from the class books. It was a alot of writing but for some reason writing helped me to rememeber.

Torm04
04-05-16, 05:20 PM
@Torm04: I can try sharing some tips. But it'd really help me to make them more directed and relevant, once you share a bit more of yourself. For example:
whether it's just with history you're struggling or with every other subject;

what is your current emotional state;

how many hours and how easily/well do you sleep thesedays;

how old are you and when was your ADD diagnosed;

what medications or/and therapies (if any) have you tried so far;

how much do you think this is a case a retention problem, and how much a concentration problem;

etc.

Well.. let me try answering these...

Lets see... emotional state.. great? I guess. I honestly don't have much to be upset or down about. I live a pretty great life with the girlfriend and family. I guess I'm just struggling with this whole attention thing.

How many hours do I sleep? On average about 8 I suppose. Some nights 6-7? It's just what I can squeeze in between the job and college.

Medications: None.. A few months back I almost went through with medication but didn't decide to stick with the appointments. I'm scheduling one today actually.

I want to say it's more concentration than anything? I think I don't retain a lot of it because I can't pay enough attention to retain any of what I read. My mind just goes somewhere else, sometimes without me even realizing it. I will get through a whole paragraph and just think to myself "I don't remember anything that I just read." :lol:

How old was I when I was diagnosed? I was diagnosed officially when I was 19, which was sometime last year.

After browsing around this site for the past few days I'm feeling a lot better about this whole ADD thing. I plan on going back for an appointment as soon as they can get me in so I can give this medication thing a try like they suggested last time. Hopefully it gets me somewhere! Anyway.. thanks for the replies!

houseofadhd
04-08-16, 10:39 PM
Reading is my biggest challenge. My brain wanders off to who knows where and I realize I don't have a clue what I read. Sometimes I look at a page of print and part of me starts to panic. Too many words. Big complicated ideas that require thinking. Can't process. I try and my brain just refuses.

I've found ways of working around a lot of my disorganization over the years and have a lot of strategies for things like keeping track of my keys, remembering appointments, and making sure everyone leaves the house with everything that they need, but for the reading and studying I finally went ahead and met with a psych a few months ago, and am trying meds. I still haven't found the right med for me (though am hopefully getting closer) but when I'm taking something that works even a little, I definitely notice a difference in my ability to read. On adderall, I was able to notice when my brain was wandering and redirect myself back to the task without excessive frustration. My brain processes and remembers the information better. Not perfectly, but better. I also had the patience to jot notes in the margin to help myself summarize and remember ideas, which I just don't have unmedicated. It seems like way too much effort. Adderall didn't work for me in other ways, but those moments of realizing that it doesn't have to be such an internal battle were kind of revolutionary. The idea of taking meds freaks me out a little, but I'm working on getting over that because they really do help in more ways than I had expected.

As far as non-med ideas, writing things down definitely helps me. Before exams I take more direct and concise notes from my notes so that I'm only dealing with the pieces I really need to make sure I know. I read things out loud or explain them to myself out loud. Talking things through with other people really helps. I have to be alone in a quiet space to do any reading or to get started on a written assignment, but beyond that I often do better studying with other people. Basically I need to experience the material in as many ways as I can-- not just reading it, but hearing it, writing it, laughing about it with friends as we try to make sense of it. I also have to think carefully about which settings will help me most when trying to get work done. I can't read if there's background noise or a lot of movement, for example. So I have to set myself up in the right environment or there's just no hope.

I don't know if any of that is helpful, but those are the things I've tried. Good luck!

Jenn1202
04-10-16, 03:37 AM
Doodling or doing some other mindless task during lecture (or while listening to the material being read to me) really helps because I get less distracted. Also, doing practice exams seems to help (especially with sciences and math). I often start by guessing the answers because I'm too lazy to actually read the material and then I look at the answers and figure out what I did wrong and why.

Impromptu_DTour
04-11-16, 03:46 PM
For me, it does depend on what the topic of study is, but in either case (literature / history / *.ology etc vs. mathematics / science / logic) reading has always been one of my biggest challenges with education. One of the biggest problems that ADDrs face is engagement, and typically standard methods of learning just arnt engaging enough, its not to say that we dont want to learn the material, but the emotion sometimes just isnt there. Sparking it in other ways is often necessary (and drugs dont always help, they tend to make me procrastinate faster).

If its possible, i would find a study group, or a tutor (tutors, especially, ESPECIALLY with practical study topics (calc, logic, physics) have been crucial for me, often i have at least 2, sometimes 3 and a study group anymore), or get involved with some kind of discussion group about the subject matter that you are reading. Having different perspectives on that kind of static information can be helpful in building a more robust understanding or perception of those events.

During reading, I would write notes (and sometimes i would write notes almost as extensively as the reading, but the point isnt the notes, its the digestion of the material - often the notes would go in the trash afterwards). Rewrite sections of interest, add thoughts and questions, side topics to research on your own time.

Best of luck

iDTour

julialouise
06-29-16, 07:27 PM
i take notes in class, and i *try* to take notes (or at least underline things) when reading. i also ask professors if they post their powerpoints, when they use them. when it comes to studying for an exam, or writing a paper, or reading something really long, i just try out different locations around campus or around my dorm. i'll work in the library, then go into the lounge area of the arts building, and then go to the student cafe, wherever else that's available. i also take frequent breaks, but i try to limit them,.

Tetrahedra
06-30-16, 01:02 AM
I rewrite my notes. It helps if I keep up on this each day so that I'm not trying to rewrite an entire semester's worth of notes right before the final. To help, I make a generic weekly calendar with my classes, work hours, and allotted study time.

It sounds like boring ol' textbook reading isn't helping you much. I'm the same way, which is why I started rewriting the notes. Check to see if your school offers a study skills workshop of some sort - they might have good tips for you. Sometimes I like to pretend that I'm going to teach the class on a particular subject, so approaching topics from that perspective is helpful, too. You start searching for the main point a little faster rather than focusing on the tiny details that may or may not be relevant.

spunky84
07-02-16, 05:50 PM
I think I retain the most during lecture. I record the lecture and type directly on the power point. I generally type everything they said during lecture and highlight or star the things they emphasize to know.

I've been working on a couple of different methods. One has been working more than the other, but I don't know if the subject makes it a little bit easier to do the other way.

I've been trying to be stay at (or go to) school as much as possible to study. I'm usually in the student lounge that has pretty much I could possibly need. No one else is really in there, so there's limited distractions. I do my best studying there.

I try to type up note cards on quizlet, but that's just so tedious, and I find that I have more issues with focusing when trying to do that.

Another class I've just been reading through all of the notes over and over. Then I go to the book and answer the questions at the end of the chapter. I look and see what I got wrong and if I don't understand why, I try to review that topic a little more (to the best of my ability --- bust mostly the power points). I have another book that also questions on the same content. I answer those, and the ones that I get wrong on those offer rationales. Again, if I don't understand the rationale then I'll go back for clarification.

I don't know if that'd work for me with the other subjects, but for that one in particular, it seems to work.

But I still have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Just kind of winging it.

dadtruth
08-02-16, 05:27 AM
The best thing you can find is a teacher that is not just clever but he can keep it as practical as possible, i know a teacher that taught ADHD students before he made sure very lesson was different and split it up into different learning activities and this was for late teens early 20s.... basically find the right teacher

spamspambacon
08-02-16, 07:28 AM
I take notes on what I'm reading: I write them on index cards.
I usually make 1 index card per section, with bullet points, or a definition, or whatever.

Then I mess them all up and try sorting them into the order they were written.
Re-reading them and figuring out where they go is what gets the data to go in and stick.

mimi989
08-10-16, 07:18 PM
These are all really helpful study tips! Keep in mind that you will probably have to study longer and harder than almost everyone else in your class. Here is what really helps me!

Find out what topic will be lectured on in class and read the textbook, or google it the day before. I usually found what will be lectured on in the syllabus given at the beginning of the semester. You can also email or ask your instructor/professor. Reading up about the topic before will really help to bring things together during lectures.

During class lecture take good notes. If they teach from the text book put page numbers in your notes to refer to or use the small page markers. Record the lectures so you can listen to them again.

After the class lecture, don't wait too long before going over your notes. Later that day or the next day go back and read them over, and read the topic in the book again. This time making sure you understand it. I recommend listening to the lecture again with in 2 days as well. There might have been things you missed or zoned out on.

If the subject is really tough you are going to have to put in at least 2 hours a day of studying per class and more hours a few days before any tests or exams.

Avoid cramming for tests, it just never works for people like us with ADD. I'm better off getting a full night of sleep vs pulling an all nighter studying.

Balance between socializing and going out, and your studies. ADD meds will do weird things to you. They made me so antisocial during college that I didn't want to go relax and hang with friends and family. Taking breaks help when studying because our brain can't retain information overloads. Exercising is good too.

You should let your professor/instructor know that you have ADD issues at the beginning of the semester. If he/she knows up front then when and if you ask for help they will take the time. If they see your trying they want you to succeed and do well. Some colleges and universities will work with you if you fill out the disability paperwork. Your doctor will have to do it, at least for my university they require a doctor to fill it out. Documented disabilities will allow you to take a test in a quiet room, use noise block ear buds, get extra time, etc.

Hope these help and good luck! This is what I do to get through and graduate with a degree in finance! I'm going back for my Master's soon, if I can do it so can you! ;)