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STUDY LESS STUDY SMART

My purpose was to understand the content of the lecture well enough that I could create a 6-minute
video summary of it for students who dont want to view the whole thing. You can watch my
summary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Xqu0jXlfs

Notes start here.

Lecture is broken down into 7 main tips:


1. Break studying down into chunked sessions
2. Create a dedicated study area
3. Study actively (and sleep well)
4. Take smart notes and expand on them right after class
5. Summarize/teach what you learn
6. Use your books correctly - SQ3R method
7. Use mnemonics to study effectively

Break studying down into chunked sessions


How long can a typical freshman read and retain what theyre learning?
Med students reported 4-5 hours - not typical
Avg of UMich study: 25-30 minutes for both
Reading
Lectures
Classes are 50 minutes, but most learning will only happen in first 30
Study more is not helpful advice
Efficiency tapers off after 20-30 minutes
After that, its just wasted time
The fix? Take breaks.
The moment you start to slide, youre shoveling against the tide."
Taking a 5 minute FUN break resets the session and brings your efficiency back up
We tend to do more of what is reinforced and rewarded
Less of what is punished, ignored, or ineffective
Reinforce study sessions with breaks and FUN REWARDS once the whole thing is done
As you do this, youre training yourself to study and your sessions can start
becoming longer.

Create a dedicated study area


Who has a true study?"
Most students study in bedrooms, kitchen or dining tables, or common areas
In bedroom, bed starts to call like Greek sirens
The context/environment largely determines the action youll take
example: questions asked in class
If asked to group, you raise your hand
If asked to you, you respond verbally
This response is pretty much automatic, because youre conditioned to do it
University of Hawaii study
Biggest study problem: We cant get into it."
Experiment - lamp in dorm room gets label, Study lamp"
desk turned away from bed
That desk, and lamp, is now only used for studying
When studying, lamp goes on.
At first sign of distraction, lamp goes OFF and student walks away
Those who did this had an avg. 1.0 GPA increase over control group
Music - should be truly background noise.
Dont be trading your attention between studying and singing along

Aside about application


If it doesnt change your behavior, you havent learned it"
Try at least 1 or 2 things you learn from this, else its useless

Study actively (and sleep well)


The more active you are in your learning, the more effective youll be."
Studying is NOT reading over and over - rote memorization can work for some, but
for most of us its ineffective
Best way to study - ask yourself, What am I learning?
Concepts - What does this bone do in the body?"
Facts - Whats the name of this bone?"
Most professors are concerned that you learn concepts.
Once grasped, they stay with you forever
Facts can fade away, by contrast
But we have Google to look them up again
Martys daughter knew all the lyrics to a song, but didnt know what it was about.
Facts vs concepts
However, teachers test over both facts and concepts
To learn both , put the concept IN YOUR OWN WORDS
If you cant, you dont understand it!
Martys memory test - which string of letters can you remember better?
YTHURSPHDAAYP
HAPPYTHURSDAY
Same letters, different order - one has actual meaning
Deep application vs. superficial thinking
Marty asked one group to count number of vowels in each of 30 words
Other group was asked to evaluated usefulness of each in a survival situation
Short-term memory (about 20-30 seconds) was then dumped with
name/date/phone number exercise
Afterwards, students were asked how many of the 30 words they recalled
Vowel-counting group: 5/30
Survival-usefulness group: 10/30
What is the meaning of meaning?"
Something is meaningful if it relates to something you ALREADY KNOW
Its like a file system or database - new entries are easier to find if they have
data that links to already existing entries
Teachers try to add meaning to concepts through:
Stories
Examples
But these dont always work for you, so you must work to tease out meaning for
yourself
How to tease out meaning
Study groups
multiple people = seeing problems from different angles
Dont make highlighting mistakes
Highlighting can be dangerous. You highlight when reading, then come back
and see the highlighted sections and say, I remember that!"
Recollection vs. Recognition
its very easy to confuse simple recognition for actual recollection.
Look at an old magazine youve seen before - youll probably
recognize the ads and picture
but unless you can PREDICT whats on the next page, you dont
actually recall whats in the mag
Same with highlighted text - you recognize it from before, but can you
recall it truly?
this is the danger of highlighting - if you confuse recognition
for recall, and youve highlighted the most important facts in
the text, then YOU DONT STUDY THE MOST
IMPORTANT FACTS!
A better way - test yourself. Challenge your recall
This is active learning
You also need to sleep well
Brain science is revealing that REM cycles are crucial for consolidating and storing
memories
Lack of sleep = studying sabotage

Take smart notes and expand on them right after class


Taking notes is vital, but...
ASAP after class, you should try to expand on them so theyre more efficiently
encoded.
This puts things in your own words
Only takes about 5 minutes per class, and you save so much study time later
This can be considered increasing Learning Efficiency in my study time
equation
If youre fuzzy on a concept, ask a classmate to see their notes, or ask the professor
Go to office hours, or ask for clarification at the start of the next class

Summarize/teach what you learn


Best way to learn is to teach others
reinforces learning
true test of whether you understand material
will reveal gaps in your knowledge
No person to teach? Record a podcast or video! Or speak it to an empty chair
Or summarize by writing it.
Your own words = effective summarization
80% of your study time is best spend reciting - only 20% should be spent reading."

Use your books correctly - SQ3R method


Textbooks are a powerful tool
Designed for pedagogy - helping you learn
Martys recommended reading method: SQ3R
Survey
Question
Read
Recite
Review
I (and Cal Newport) dont think its necessary to stick to this system - its time consuming
However, individual pieces can be useful
Survey - also can be known as read backwards - go to end of chapter,
note vocab and review questions
This primes your brain to pick these things out when reading or scanning
Use mnemonics to study effectively
Mnemonics are great for memorizing facts - better than rote memorization
Acronyms
ROY G. BIV
Radeo - right deoxygenated"
Right atrium of heart pumps deoxygenated blood"
Coined sayings
In 1492, columbus sailed the ocean blue"
Rhymes are memorable
Interacting images (Martys favorite"
The weirder or more emotionally evocative, the better
Sinkhole to hell with weird demon fish popping out of it - Helsinki, capital of
Finland (fish have fins)
This is one of mine
Car has 4 wheels, and pro circuit cars still have 4 wheels
Car - carbohydrate and pro - protein - each have 4 calories per
gram
Cat has 9 lives - rich dude is a Fat cat - fat has 9 calories per gram

Want to see the original 7 notebook pages of Flow-style notes I took while watching the lecture?
Youll find scans of them here: http://collegeinfogeek.com/study-less-study-smart/