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Study Skills (part 4/5)

Posted by on in High School
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There are so many different strategies for studying that it almost becomes a study in itself to decide which will be most effective for you.

You probably know a lot about some of the most common learning strategies like drawing a mind-map and summarising. In this blog post, we take a look at some study strategies you might not have come across before.

Effective learning happens in three steps: EXPLORATION, CONSOLIDATION AND TESTING

EXPLORATION: involves investigation and gathering of information. This should take about 60% of studying time. This is, in fact, all the work that you do in class during the term: taking notes in class, doing the reading, assignments, worksheets and learning for tests. If you have worked well during the term, the next phase of studying is much easier.

CONSOLIDATION: involves the combining all the work that you have done over the term with your notes into a logical structure which you will then learn so that you can recall it from memory during the exam.

There are several ways in which this information can be learnt, which is what we are going to deal with next.

TESTING: involves being asked to recall and apply what you have learnt, which happens in the test or exam. Effective consolidation techniques include some testing as part of the learning.


                                     CONSOLIDATION (STUDY) TECHNIQUES:

$   1.   The SQWR Technique

For learning subjects where there is a large amount of information to cover, try the SQRW technique. S stands for Survey, Q stands for Questions, R stands for Read and W stands for Write.

The idea is that by implementing these four steps, you should understand to information which helps you to remember and apply it. Using the SQRW technique will help you to understand what you read and to prepare a written record of what you learned.

Here’s what you need to do:

a.     Survey.
Surveying means looking over the section and working out what you already know and what you still need to cover. To survey a section of work, read the title, introduction, headings, and the summary or conclusion. Also have a good look at the all visuals such as pictures, tables, maps or graphs and read the caption that goes with each. By surveying a section, you will quickly learn what the section is about and get a good idea of how much you know.


b.     Question.
You need to have questions in your mind as you read. Questions give you a purpose for reading and help you stay focused on what you are studying. Form questions by changing each chapter heading into a question. Use the words who, what, when, where, why, or how to form questions. For example, for the heading "Uses of Electricity" in a section about how science improves lives, you might form the question "What are some uses of electricity?" If a heading is stated as a question, use that question. When a heading contains more than one idea, form a question for each idea. Don’t worry to form questions for the Introduction, Summary, or Conclusion.


d.     Read.
Read the information that follows each heading to find the answer to each question you formed. As you do this, you may decide you need to change a question or turn it into several questions to be answered. Stay focused and flexible so you can gather as much information as you need to answer each question.

e.     Write.
Write each question and its answer in your notes. Reread each of your written answers to be sure each answer contains all the important information needed to answer the question. Use these questions and answers as a summary.

The SQRW technique helps you to engage with your work and ensures that you understand it, leaving you with a set of good study notes, too.

HINT: Once you complete the Survey step for the whole section, complete the Question, Read, and Write steps for the first heading. Then complete the Question, Read, and Write steps for the second heading, and so on for the remaining headings in the section.


2.     The KWL Chart


The KWL Chart is a similar strategy to the SQWR technique. This is a good alternative option for you if you like to use mind maps. Sometimes, using a slightly different learning strategy can excite your brain and help you take in more information so why not give this a try?

The K in KWL stands for what you already know about the topic. The W in KWL stands for what else you want to know about the topic. The L in KWL stands for what you learned about the topic as you read your textbook and use reference sources.

This strategy works well for more visual learners as the information is completed in a table.

Head up the columns as “KNOW” “WANT” and “LEARNED”.

 Complete the K column by thinking about and writing what you already know about the topic.

Complete the W column by writing the questions you want to answer about the topic.

Complete the L column by writing the answers to the questions you wrote in the W column and any other information you learned as you answered the questions.

Here is an example of a KWL chart that a student completed for the topic "Deserts."





A desert is a dry area of land that is typically very hot.

More than 1/5 of the world is desert.

Hard for plants to survive in the desert.

Hard for animals to survive in the desert.

Are there any areas of water in a desert?

Are there cold deserts?

What is the largest desert?

How do plants survive?

How do animals survive?

There are areas with water in a desert that are called an oasis.

They are found by an aquifer or an underground stream. Aquifer is an underground bed or layer that yields water.

You'll find more plants and animals by an oasis than in any other part of the desert.

The Gobi Desert can get as cold as -40° in the winter because it is far north of the equator.

The Sahara Desert is more than 3 million square miles in area.

Mostly by using their long roots to get to water below the ground.

They avoid the heat of the day, and come out only at night.

Mammals such as camels and rodents can go for long periods without water. So can many birds and insects.


Remember that the best way of learning is engaging with the work so try to make it interesting – use colours, pictures or talk to yourself or your cat! Sometimes making up rhymes or setting a list of facts to a tune can help you to remember them. No one can learn but you so take responsibility for your study habits and you will succeed. 

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Candice is a qualified High School English teacher and guidance counsellor. She has a passion for providing practical, easy to implement advice for children to achieve their full potential at school. With a background in Psychology Candice has a particular interest in how attitude and emotions can affect academic performance.


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    UP-grade Wednesday, 13 May 2015

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