Self-Studying: The Struggle is Real

Michael Bautista, Staff Writer
Edited by Victoria Chiu
Learning independently is a rather daunting task for most students because they’re accustomed to having an instructor explain all the necessary concepts needed in class to them. Although teacher explanations and additional help are vital to the learning process, it’s equally important to learn to be self-sufficient. This is especially crucial for those who are planning on attending universities in the near future. Here are some basics to self-sufficient studying:

  1. Read the textbook. Obvious, right? A surprising number of people don’t actually read their texts, and instead read the note packages that the teacher gives out in class. This is a big mistake. Note packages are great for providing summaries and connections to general topics in the unit, but the text goes into much greater detail. 
  2. Practice, practice, practice. This is more applicable to math-related subjects. Sadly, you can’t just memorize math. Practice problems need to be done numerous times in order to apply formulae to different scenarios. There are always patterns on how to solve certain problems, too, so look for those if you’re having difficulties. 
  3. Study in bits. (Don’t cram!) This has been reiterated many, many times in our previous articles, but it’s true: cramming does way more harm than good. The best way to retain information is to regularly study little bits of information so the brain can more easily digest and retain it. This method of studying is also better for long-term memory, so when it comes to that final, you will only have to do minimal reviewing and you’ll be able to skip the late-night cram sessions.
  4. Watch (relevant) YouTube videos. Crash Course is a popular channel for students, as well as Khan Academy. The tricky thing with these is that sometimes the videos are not always entirely aligned with your curriculum, so be careful not to learn unnecessary information, or worse, miss important information that is covered in your syllabus but isn’t covered in the video!
  5. Motivate yourself. This one is also pretty tough for students to grasp because it requires commitment to motivation over a long period of time. Nevertheless, this is one of the most important things to learning independently (imho), because if you make the subject interesting for yourself, homework will not be dull and going to class will be more exciting. Look for the aspects of your classes that interest or inspire you, and use that energy to keep you motivated to learn. 

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