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How do you study?

How do you study?

No, really, what technique, methodology, voodoo do you use to discipline yourself to sitdown and study?

I want to take my Java certification, but for the life of me, I can't sit down and study. Simply read what's on the book. This is so frustrating.

How do you guys manage it?

RP
Sunday, April 04, 2004

External motivation:  by paying for classes, and enlisting my partner to kick my butt when she sees me reading novels, I get more work done than I otherwise might... (=

Sam Livingston-Gray
Sunday, April 04, 2004

In my experience, there are various ways to learn. Some prefer reading, some prefer being taught, and all over the spectrum.

Perhaps you're not a reader. I would say that if you don't like to learn by reading, then you aren't going to be happy trying to force yourself to read. It may simply be that you need to take some classes instead, if you can afford them, or perhaps find someone else who is studying the same material so that you can get the social aspects that you desire.

Good luck!

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Sunday, April 04, 2004

I try and read books and magazines, but to really figure something out I have to solve a problem.  It's how I learn new languages, think of something easy to do (like conway's game of life), then implement it.

Snotnose
Sunday, April 04, 2004

I agree with Brad.  You need to identify how you best learn. Some people can read IBM manuals and know the material.  Other's could not learn from a book if it was a survival guide.

I tend toward classes, unless I can set aside hours in the day to study.  By setting them aside, (7 to 9, 10 to 12, whatever works for you), you have scheduled the time to be used.  Trying to "fit it in" does not work for me.

MSHack
Sunday, April 04, 2004

What I guess I do...

Skim, flip around, whatever to do to find it interesting.  Focus on high level concepts, so the lower level ones have a nice framework when it's time to focus on them.  A "disciplined," methodical path follows from interest.

Also need to find the right guides, just as you naturally try to read interesting websites.  Even very good teachers can still be flawed, so imagine what the mediocre is like.  I strongly suggest you mention what precisely you're certifying yourself in, and what you're reading or using to pursue this goal.

Learn something abstractly related.  With time constraints, this is not the way to go, but learning becomes powerful when you have a fund of other concepts that offer different perspectives.  When the mind correlates, that is an implicit form of exercise.  Especially as you drill deep into what you're learning in order to see if relations really hold.  (Incidentally, this is the general case of "learn something a level down.")

Tayssir John Gabbour
Sunday, April 04, 2004

In regards to the comments about different learning techniques, this link may help:

http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

I am doing an engineering class at uni, which has somehow morphed into a guinea pig cage for the pysch department, we have been doing pysch tests etc for the past week to assess our different learning styles.

Aussie Chick
Monday, April 05, 2004

On another note, I did an entire Computer Science Degree externally, which makes me sound like I have a lot of discipline. But the truth is I never ever managed to find a routine.

Every semester I would try, and I would try lots of different things (like times of day, studying at home, studying at the library, setting hours, putting mindmap style posters of what I have learnt on the wall). The best of them all for me was probably going to the library, I mean after an hour I always got bored and headed for some interesting section to look at some book completely unrelated, and I always want food, so I pack snacks!! (huge tip, if you go for the library idea, go to the university library, not the town library. It is far easier to get distracted at the town library as the books are so much more general, and their are novels!!).

My current technique is to use a 'botany' style book and make notes with lots of pictures.

Aussie Chick
Monday, April 05, 2004

I'm not really a reader, I prefer doing. Usually I read an overview of whatever it is, then try to apply it. Naturally I then find out there are things I don't know, so I look them up and apply them. Repeat until done. A bit of thinking doesn't hurt, either.


Monday, April 05, 2004

When I was doing my MS certification I would book an exam which would give me a deadline to work towards.

I also found that once you get in to the habit of studying it gets easier but you do have to be careful not to over commit your self.

Tony Edgecombe
Monday, April 05, 2004

Java Certification? I just got it 2 months ago by self-study. Do read and understand the concept correctly. Pay attention to the details and every possible answers. I borrowed the "orange" book from library and read it for one week. (forgot the title, I'll find it out). Of course, you must also read the "Java Programming Language".

Richard Sunarto
Monday, April 05, 2004

There's a difference between mastering a subject and passing a test (though there's a connection).

Mastering is usually easiest done by good ol' "Try Out, Read Later" approach.

Passing a test (with learning time limited) is different. The easiest route is to find out what to expect. At university, check out older exams by your prof. In your case I have no idea but you might find tips on the net? If you can't out what's the most possible stuff to be asked of you your test just got a whole lot harder.

_
Monday, April 05, 2004

I hate going to a class and having a professor teach me.

I love having a manual and reading it at my own pace.

MX
Monday, April 05, 2004

Have you tried Microsoft Virtual PC 2004?

Micah
Monday, April 05, 2004

Ooops, wrong topic.

Micah
Monday, April 05, 2004

I'm currently taking some classes, pursuing another degree. Here are some techniques that are successful for me (4.0 avg so far).

1) study in small chunks of time (30 minutes, 1 hour)

2) do something you like in between the study sessions (1 hour of study "earns" you 1 hour of TV, etc.)

3) the number of study sessions per day depends on how much time you have before your deadline. Try to start early, doing one or two sessions per day. Then, you don't have as much cramming right before the test.

4) from a psychology class: immediately after class, sit yourself down and reread the notes you just took. This solidifies what you just learned.

5) Use memory helps when you have to memorize - they work!! Like acronyms. For example: "Never Let Monkeys Eat Bananas" - names and prevalence of white blood cells  (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils).

Good luck.

Lauren B.
Monday, April 05, 2004

King Philip Came Over From Greece Singing
Kingdom Phyllum Class Order Family Group Species

Acronymns (or I guess initialisims in this case) are great.  That was from biology 10 years ago, and I'm a software developer - so they work.

zeroD
Monday, April 05, 2004

Try change of venue:

Go to a public library, a relatively quiet coffee house, or even a more adult oriented fast food or diner (I like Carl's Junior), and try working there, free of the distractions of home.

A dot for this one
Monday, April 05, 2004

---"Acronymns (or I guess initialisims in this case) are great"-----

They're called mnemonics, actually. Don't know one to nelp you remember that though :)

Stephen Jones
Monday, April 05, 2004

Aussie Chick wrote:
> My current technique is to use a 'botany' style book and
> make notes with lots of pictures.

What do you mean by "'botany' style"? Just curious...

Michael Eisenberg
Monday, April 05, 2004

Notes with lots of pictures? (Just a guess)

RP
Monday, April 05, 2004

I wasn't sure if it was an aussie thing.

A 'botany' style book is one where pages alternate from lined to blank. So you can write on one page, and the facing page is blank so you can draw pictures.

Not sure where the term 'botany book' came from, but it is what it has been called since I was in primary school. It must be the technical term because that is what is written on the cover of the book too.

Aussie Chick
Monday, April 05, 2004

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