Useful study techniques from the Tutor Doctor

Outside of classroom and grinds there are also many techniques that may be used to improve the effectiveness of your study. When developing your study timetable the following tips can help you maximise the effectiveness of your efforts.

1 - Identify what is important to learn

This can be done by analysing course specifications as a checklist for what to learn, using exercises at the end of examinable modules as a pointer to the key information within that module, and familiarising yourself with past exam papers and questions provided by your teacher.

2 - Recording or telling

This technique has two main strengths. The first is that you will have to put the work into your own words either out loud, on a tape or to a friend. The other advantage is that you are using another of your senses, hearing, to help you learn. The more senses you can involve, the better you can learn.

3 - Diagrams, summaries, mind maps

Mind maps are just a special type of diagram or table. Pictures are more easily remembered than long lists of words. As well as being useful tools for revision, you also learn through the process of making these tables, diagrams, summaries and mind maps.

4 - Chunking

This is a process of reducing your textbook and class notes over and over again. You make summaries of your summaries of your summaries.... It is best to do this about three to five times.

5 - Mnemonics

Simply put, a mnemonic is a device which aids the memorisation of something. These devices come in a variety of forms. One common sort is acronyms. First, identify the important or key words in your work. Then take the first letter of each of these words and make another word. For example Order of taxonomy in biology: (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species ) can produce “Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach”. Many mnemonics also take the form of rhymes; a common example is “I before E, except after C. Or when sounded "A" as in neighbour and weigh”.

6 - Test yourself

It is important when revising to test yourself over and over without referring to your study material. Some useful exercises in this regard include working on problems in your textbooks and study book that are similar to the ones that appear in past exam papers. Try to reproduce your summaries, mind maps, mnemonics, etc, without looking at them. Make up exam questions and answer them, then check with your textbooks to evaluate and improve your answers. Use your study group friends and give each other mock tests.

Tutor Doctor provides a personalised one-to-one, in-home tutoring and grinds service. For more information about the Tutor Doctor log on to www.tutordoctor.ie, or contact Carmel O’Brien on 087 967 9596 or email [email protected]

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