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Session 1: Introduction to ‘How am I as a learner?’ and ‘What can I do to improve my learning habits?’
First take a look at your study habits (you need to be branched to score your statements).
The test can give you an idea of what you need to focus on in study skills. Being able to reflect on your study habits is important if you want to improve. Make it a habit to pay attention to how you can learn to become more efficient.
Besides being motivated to learn – which is perhaps the most important - these are the basic points in effective learning:
- Time management: you must learn to plan your time so that there is time for work and time for leisure. You can learn how to get the right balance between these two by getting an overview of your time and how you use it. Take a critical look at how much time you watch television or chat with friends. Learn to work more effectively by concentrated working periods and combat procrastination. Get an overview of what you have to do short-term and long-term in a weekly planner.
- Concentration: this is a hard one for many students but you can teach yourself to concentrate. Try to sit down with a small assignment for 10 minutes and concentrate on doing this. How did it go? How did you feel? After this first test give yourself a reward. When you are ready then try it again for 15 minutes. You can gradually raise the amount of time but be sure that you stay focused and concentrated.
- Reading comprehension: the most efficient way to improve your reading and reading comprehension is simple. You need to practice. Read as much as you can and use different reading strategies. Some reading can be done really quickly but when you really have to learn new things it takes time. If there are words you don’t understand look them up in a dictionary. You can see more about this in this programme.
- Note taking is important for many reasons. It will help you to structure what you are reading and it helps you to organize what you learn in your memory.
- Developing writing skills is important. The best way to be a good writer is to practice and learn from the feedback you get. There is always room for improvement and the more open you are to feedback the greater the chance that you’ll improve.
Here is some valuable advice on how to make the best of your valuable time
Planning and time management
- Where does time go? A tool to use for getting a better idea of how you spend your time
- A good printable format of a weekly schedule and some really good time management principles
- Take a look: what happens to your time?: do the 168 hours exercise
Take a professional approach to your job as a student. Get an overview of deadlines and try to estimate how long time it will take you to do each job. Do the same for preparation for class every day so that you know when you are done. Be realistic. You need time for other things as well.
(What is procrastination?)
A major problem for many students is that they cannot get things done in due time. They postpone things, do other things that are not really necessary etc. and all this prevents them from getting the job done while at the same time they feel bad about it. Are you a procrastinator? Take the test.
Most people procrastinate now and then. That’s perfectly normal. Ask yourself why you procrastinate. Maybe you are slightly lazy, maybe you are afraid of failure, maybe you are are feeling overwhelmed by deadlines and work, maybe you simply want to avoid doing something unpleasant or difficult. There are many reasons for procrastinating but if you procrastinate to an extent where it affects your work and has a negative impact on your happiness it is time to do something about it. Here are 5 strategies to combat procrastination
- Get started NOW: Take the first step and begin the task. Break the task up in small parts and do one at a time. Reward yourself after each piece of work. Don’t think about making it perfect. Just do it. Now you have showed yourself that you are in control! If you can do it once, you can do it again.
- Use positive self-talk to motivate yourself. Use previous positive experience to convince you that you can get things done. Say: Last time I wrote a paper, I did pretty well so why not this time? Say: It is difficult and challenging but I will do my best. Say: I would like to see my friends now but if I make the assignment in one hour I will still have plenty of time to see them and I will feel much better because the paper is done.
- Let go of perfectionism – which may prevent you for getting started in the first place. Do the best you can – strive for excellence but not perfection. Give yourself a deadline and force yourself to keep it when you do assignments or prepare presentations. Allow for a few revisions and then finish once and for all.
- Respect deadlines by setting yourself an earlier deadline. No work done in the last minute is good because you don’t have time to reflect on your thoughts and arguments. Start early on to get an idea of what is expected. Get the necessary information if you feel lost and don’t know how to approach the assignment.
- Stick to your plans. If you feel a sudden urge to clean your room, file your papers or call old friends tell yourself that this is not the way to handle the task at hand. Stays focused and prioritize. Learn to say no. Your room may need cleaning but what is more important here and now?