By Cyrus Mukirai Good study habits are a culmination of the best experiences of what works and what doesn’t. What works for one individual doesn’t necessarily work out well for another. As such, good study habits are actually a combination of varied experiences from the learning environment and from without. Some study tips below may be of great help to learners. 1. Success or failure is actually a state of mind. Intelligent learners with a negative attitude towards the learning process have been proved to perform dismally compared to borderline cases with a positive attitude. So it is thus very important to have a positive outlook to whatever you do as it provides the mental energy. 2. Decide on what you want to study. This should be guided by several factors. One is that subject areas in which you are weak in or in which you perform poorly should receive more priority and more study time. Many a time we devote more time to our favourite subjects. 3. Know what amount of free time you have. This is important so that you can take it into cognisance when you set up your own study timetable. A timetable is good in that it acts as a guide for you. Always try your best to stick to your timetable. This requires some level of self-discipline. 4. Try as much as possible to create a conducive atmosphere for studying. For instance, if you are at home turn off the radio or reduce the volume at least. If you have access to a library make the best use of it. Libraries are good in that they are purposely made for use for study, research, etc. Avoid noise and conversations which might end up distracting your attention. 5. Try as much as possible to clear your mind. This you do by consciously attempting to forget at least things that might disrupt you during your study time. This might be your family members, friends, peers, sports, news events. Pay attention to what you are studying. 6. Try your best to understand rather than memorise. First browse through the material not necessarily reading it word for word. Then read through slowly and careful pausing to ‘digest’ salient points. It is very important that you write down short notes as you study. Such notes must be short and direct to the point. The importance of such notes are that they will be of great help when revising as you do not necessarily need to use textbooks again. You could even write such notes in your mother tongue if it will make remembering easier for you. But always note that when answering questions you might experience problems with direct translations. 7. For subjects with equations and calculations try as much as possible to follow the examples provided in the textbooks. Its best to know how a formula works than to memorise it. Follow the step by step procedures asset out in the example. 8. At this stage the use of memonics is highly recommended. Memonics are things that we use to relate with what we are studying to make remembering easier. 9. Evaluate yourself. This is important for you to be able to know how well you have understood or not understood whatever you have been studying. Most topics in the textbooks will have questions at the end of the chapter. See that you are able to answer all the questions. If you cannot answer them try to refer back to the specific topics in the book on your own before you approach others for help. If not approach a fellow learner or the subject teacher.
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