Study, Set... Go!!

Siya Sharma
Feb. 24, 2023, 7:46 p.m.

Welcome back Lyons, to “Study, Set… Go!!,” a Metropolis mini-series where we dissect the very intimidating world of studying by simplifying study strategies. Whether you’re looking to conquer this exam season or just brush up on your skills, you’ve found just the post! We’ll be tackling some personal favourites this time around so get your favourite notebook, lots of coffee, and settle in!

Feynman Technique

The Feynman technique, named after Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, is about confirming your understanding of the words and phrasing that you’re using. You take on the role of a teacher and try to teach the information you’re studying. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in all the big words and fancy phrasing used that we forget the actual mechanics of the content we’re studying. With the Feynman technique, you need to be able to explain the details of what you’ve learned without using complicated terminology as a crutch. Imagine that you’re explaining the concept to somebody with no prior knowledge of the subject such as a child. You try to teach the content at a highly simplified level and fill in any gaps that you find along the way.

Elaborative Interrogation

The elaborative interrogation technique is a very big name for what is really a return to our curious toddler roots in a constant barrage of “why?” Similar to the Feynman technique, asking ourselves why the things that we’re studying are actually occurring helps us to understand the words, phrases, and processes that we’re learning beyond pure semantics. With everything you learn, just ask yourself why and how things are the way that they are, and if you can’t answer that then you either don’t know the content well enough or it may be out of the scope of your curriculum.

Classical Conditioning

Yup, turns out that Pavlov’s dogs have some influence on our study habits! Behaviourist Ivan Pavlov used the sound of a bell and a bowl of food to condition several dogs to drool at just the sound of a bell. The logic of this is that the introduction of a neutral stimulus and unconditioned stimulus together will incite a conditioned response at later introductions of the neutral stimulus alone. We can use this knowledge to our advantage as students by introducing certain elements into our environment or routine that we’ll eventually associate with studying. This could be using a specific pencil/pen, studying in one spot every time, listening to a specific kind of music, or even consuming the same food/drink when and only when you’re studying. Over time, you’re able to slip into a state of focus much easier when doing these behaviours because you immediately associate them with studying.

Exam season brings a universal sense of anxiety to us all and the post-pandemic nature of it this year does little to alleviate that. “[It’s a] fear of the unknown I think definitely for the grade 9s, 10s, and 11s… [and there have been] so many uncertainties and pivots for the grade 12s…” Says Ms. McDowell, when asked about the expected difficulties for students this year. However, she reiterates the importance of planning out study sessions to ease yourself into the process. “It’s scary, but as long as you’ve put into place the methods that are available, that's the most important thing.” By creating study aids (cheat sheets, flow charts, summaries) and finding the techniques that work best for you, you can greatly ward off some of that stress. Of course, it’s great to build your skills and confidence with studying and exam-taking, but each of these techniques can only be effective if they’re balanced with proper eating, sleeping, socializing, and relaxing! If you’re looking for more information on achieving that balance, contact your guidance counsellor or check out some of the other resources below. Good luck Lyons, see you next sem!

P.S. Keep an eye out for our final post of the season, there just might be some extra tips to look forward to :)

Additional resources: , @wlmac.guidance , @wlmac.wellness

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