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How to Study William J. Rapaport Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Department of Philosophy, Department of Linguistics, and Center for Cognitive Science [email protected] http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport Outline Manage your time

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How to study l.jpg

How to Study

William J. Rapaport

Department of Computer Science & Engineering,

Department of Philosophy, Department of Linguistics,

and Center for Cognitive Science

[email protected]

http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport


Outline l.jpg
Outline

  • Manage your time

  • Take notes in class & re-write them at home

  • Study hard subjects first, in a quiet place

  • Read actively & slowly, before & after class

  • Do your homework

  • Study for exams

  • Take exams

  • Do research & write essays


Introduction l.jpg
Introduction

  • Everyone has a different learning style

    • “you tell me” (“what are the answers?”)

    • “we tell each other” (“let’s discuss this”)

    • “I’ll convince you” (“here’s why I think this is the answer”)

  • So, everyone has a different studying style

    • So, my suggestions might not work for you

    • But they worked for me

      • So, try them!


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1. Manage Your Time

  • School is a full-time job, so…

    • Education > {job for fun, extra-curricular activity}

    • If you must work, don’t be a full-time student

  • If education is your full-time job, then spend 40 hrs/wk

    • 1 academic credit ≈ 1 hour

    • So, 12 cr ≈ 12 hrs in class; so: 40–12=28 hrs @ home studying

    • 28/(5 study days/wk) ≈ 5.5 hrs/day ≈ 1.4 hrs/course (4 courses)

  • Or: 9 cr + 20 hrs assistantship = 20 hrs/wk for courses

    • So, 9 cr ≈ 9 hrs in class; so: 20–9=11 hrs @ home studying

    • 11/5 ≈ 2.2 hrs/day ≈ 0.7 hrs/course (3 courses)


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2. Take Notes in Class & Re-write at Home

  • Take complete notes in class

    • write as much as possible

      • forces you to pay attention

      • keeps you awake (!)

      • less to remember

    • use abbreviations

    • neatness doesn’t count

    • ask questions & make comments

      • put in notes, even if not uttered in class

  • Understand at home

    • copy class notes at home

      • don’t just re-read in-class notes

      • reorganize notes

  • Don’t take notes on computer

    • noisy; Internet is too tempting; inconsistent with re-writing

  • Don’t rely on instructor’s notes or copies of slides

    • re-write them, too!


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3. Study Hard Subjects First…

  • Study harder subjects while you’re alert.

    … & Study in a Quiet Place

  • Recent finding:

    • People cannot multi-task successfully!


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4. Read Actively & Slowly,before & after Class

  • Don’t read passively

    • think about what you’re reading

  • Slow-reading algorithm

    • after each sent., ask “why?”

    • (next slide)


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Slow-Reading Algorithm

WHILE there is a next sentence to read, DO:

BEGIN (* while *)

Read it, SLOWLY;

IF you do not understand it, THEN

BEGIN (* if *)

re-read the previous material, SLOWLY;

re-read the incomprehensible sentence, SLOWLY;

IF you still don't understand it, THEN

ask a fellow student to explain it;

IF you still don't understand it, THEN

ask your Teaching Assistant (TA) to explain it;

IF you still don't understand it, THEN

ask me;

IF you are in an upper-level course & you still don't understand it, THEN write a paper about it (!)

END (* if *)

END; (* while *)

Since there is no next sentence (because the Boolean test in the WHILE is false), you've understood the text!


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4. Read Actively & Slowly, before & after Class (cont’d.)

  • Highlight text in margin

    • don’t paint entire page in day-glow yellow highlighter!

    • 1st pass: square bracket in margin ]

    • 2nd pass: double bracket more important material ]]

    • 3rd pass: underline really important material]]

  • Write notes in margin

    • personalize your (own!) text

    • index your notes

  • Keep a reading journal

    • copy important passages (with full citation)

    • write your comments about it

  • Read twice: both before & after class


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5. Do Your Homework

  • Do HW on time

  • Do it on scrap paper

    • then copy neatly

  • Write both problem & solution


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6. Study for Exams

  • Manage your time

    • start 1 week before exam

    • spend 1 hr/day studying

      • study entire night before exam

    • final exams:

      • do nothing else but study!

      • for E exams over D days,

        • spend D/E days studying for each exam

  • Make a study outline & study from that

    • from re-copied class notes + highlighted text + reading journal

    • try to fit on 1-2 pages, front only (write small)

  • Write sample essays or do sample problems

    • work in a study group

  • Make “flash cards” (actually: notebook paper, 2 cols):

    • left column: question

    • right column: answer

    • cover R column with blank page; write answers; then check


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7. Take Exams

  • Read entire exam first.

  • For essay questions:

    • do “mind dump”

    • develop outline

    • write (or “copy from memory”)

  • Do easy problems first

  • Review answers


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8. Do Research & Write Essays

  • Choose topics carefully

    • not too broad, not too narrow

  • Do literature review & research

    • read slowly & actively

    • keep reading journal

  • Make an outline (from reading-journal notes)

    • top-down design & stepwise refinement

  • Write, using outline as guide

    • keep audience in mind

  • Edit

    • read your own work slowly & actively

    • have fellow student/colleague read critically

  • Manage your time

    • start early, do a little each day, finish early


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Do I Really Have to Do All This?

  • Yes!

  • But not necessarily all at once


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