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Five learning essentials

Learning at university involves understanding and applying information. This means you need to be aware of what you know and don’t know, and work on filling in the gaps.

1. You learn better when you know what to expect:

  • Dont miss your first class session
  • Look through your whole textbook: see what’s covered, what’s coming up, how concepts are divided up, etc.
  • Refer to your course outline often, know what topics will be discussed in the next class

2. You learn better when you review information

If you don’t review within 24hrs, you forget 50% of what you learned:

  • Read over your notes from class. Add information while it’s still ‘fresh’
  • Think through what was covered in class. What were the main ideas? Why are they important?
  • Try to solve practice problems by following instructions and hints in your lecture notes
  • Do the readings before class; review your reading notes after class and make connections

3. You learn better actively

Much of what you do in class is passive: watching, listening or reading. So, make it active:

  • Talk about what you are learning to yourself, to friends, family etc.
  • Write: summarize in your own words something you’ve learned. It can be an article, a problem, a concept, etc.
  • Do more practice problems, then do harder problems, and then get them right without help
  • Keep something with you (notebook, phone, tablet etc) to write down ideas, suggestions, questions and topics to cover
  • Make visual maps or diagrams of what you are learning

4. You learn better when you fix what you don’t know. Be proactive!

5. You learn better when you make studying part of your daily life

  • Study and learn every day; keeping up with your class assignments and readings makes learning easier
  • Make a weekly study plan. Set aside quality time to do your most difficult work. You can organize your study time effectively
  • Break larger tasks or assignments down into smaller parts. Do one part at a time. Start early when perhaps your schedule is less busy.
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