Long ago, there was a time, when parents told children to read slowly and loudly to understand everything they read.
A lot of things have changed. Today’s children have bigger syllabi to learn. Now, learning experts and teachers ask students to read faster and grasp important points.
Here are a few tips for students who have a lot to learn, but very little time.
Make a Timetable
- Your timetable should have separate time for eating, playing games, exercise, reading newspaper and study materials. You should not only make a timetable, but also should stick to it.
- Give priority to leisure and games in the afternoon, but separate early morning time for studies. Make sure you read all the class notes before you go to bed.
- While allotting time to different subjects, allot more time to difficult subjects. You need only less time for the subjects that are easier for you to learn.
- Taking notes is an important part of learning. You need to take lecture notes (classroom notes) and notes from your textbook.
- Go through the lessons on the day before your teacher would teach it in the class. This gives you an idea of what to expect.
- Write down important ideas as bullet points. One word or a phrase is enough to include an idea.
- Give prominence to important ideas by underlining them in your notes.
- Leave lot of space in each face of paper. This will help you add new points later.
- Organize your notes into separate files. Each subject should have a different file. Label the outer page of the file with name of the subject and your teacher. You should also neatly organize each file according to chapters and topics.
- Read the notes (important points) in the night, before going to bed. Read only once. This helps you memorize the lessons clearly.
- While taking notes from a book, label the name of the book and author. Also, note the page number next to your notes. It makes it easy for you to refer to the book three or six months later.
- You need to read fast and grasp more things. Here are some pointers to fast reading.
- Note the name of the book and its author in the reading log.
- Take a quick look from cover to cover to identify the important chapters.
- Take a quick look over the chapter, identify the important points, and note them down.
- Read the lesson fast. To increase the speed of learning, pass your eyes through the top of the letters and not through the centre. For example, while reading, pass your eyes through the area where the dot above the letter i appears and not through the loop of the letter o.
- Don’t take notes while reading.
- Don’t go back to read a word or a sentence. If you don’t get the idea of the subject, you can come back to the sentence after you finish reading the chapter. Never look up a dictionary while in the middle of reading a chapter. Refer dictionary only if you don’t automatically understand the meaning of a word after finishing the paragraph and the chapter.
- Note down the points you remember. Now check if you have taken all the important points, with another fast reading.
How to increase memory
- Try to understand completely what you read or hear.
- Repeat what you hear or read in your mind.
- Make notes of what you learn at school or read from books. A single word can help you remember a whole idea.
- Give number to the points.
- Don’t try to bring to memory all the things you have learned. Learn the technique of bringing to memory one thing at a time.
How to increase concentration
- Mental concentration is important to memory and better learning.
- Stick to your reading timetable. You should separate a specific place and specific time of the day for reading.
- Sit erect. It increases your concentration.
- Don’t allow disturbances like phone calls, music etc while reading.
- Concentrate on the lessons you read. Don’t think about the next book you have to read while you are reading a book. A better way is to make an order of the books and lessons to read and arrange them in order before you start reading.
- Immediately after reading a paragraph, try to recall the idea from that paragraph. This helps you concentrate more on your reading.
Ideal conditions for reading/learning
- A silent location that you don’t use for sleeping, eating or leisure purposes is the most ideal condition for reading.
- Install a fluorescent tube light in the reading room. This helps mild light to fall evenly all over the room. Don’t sit in the darkness while reading. If you use table lamp, arrange it towards your left if you are a right-hander.
- Arrange the papers, pencils, boards and books on the table before you start reading.
- Never try to read while you are tired or ill.
- Eat healthy food rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fibres. Replace fast food, pizza, burger, chocolates, ice creams, etc with fresh fruits, whole grain food items (like chapatti), milk, fruit juices, etc.
- Exercise daily. Swimming, cycling and jogging are good for students. Practise yoga. It increases concentration and willpower.
- Don’t watch TV. Instead, play some games in the outdoors. While TV makes you dumb, the games make you smarter.
- Read lot of books. Read classic stories, fables (like Aesop fables, Panchatantra stories, etc), etc. Don’t spend too much time on comic cartoons.
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