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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 rapaport@cse.buffalo.edu http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/~rapaport Outline Manage your time

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how to study

How to Study

William J. Rapaport

Department of Computer Science & Engineering,

Department of Philosophy, Department of Linguistics,

and Center for Cognitive Science

rapaport@cse.buffalo.edu

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

outline
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
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!
1 manage your time
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)
2 take notes in class re write at home
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!
3 study hard subjects first
3. Study Hard Subjects First…
  • Study harder subjects while you’re alert.

… & Study in a Quiet Place

  • Recent finding:
    • People cannot multi-task successfully!
4 read actively slowly before after class
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)
slow reading algorithm
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!

4 read actively slowly before after class cont d
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
5 do your homework
5. Do Your Homework
  • Do HW on time
  • Do it on scrap paper
    • then copy neatly
  • Write both problem & solution
6 study for exams
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
7 take exams
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
8 do research write essays
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
do i really have to do all this
Do I Really Have to Do All This?
  • Yes!
  • But not necessarily all at once