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Study Skills: Strengths and Weaknesses

There are many challenges that I face with my studies, and they all boil down to one thing: being able to manage my time. Right now, I am travelling to New Hampshire, sitting in the passenger seat of a Ram truck, typing on my laptop. The driver is listening to the Republican debate, and my elbows and hands are cramped in an uncomfortable position. There are many opportunities to claim that I cannot do this. But alas, I must work tomorrow, so getting these five hundred words written must start somewhere. And that somewhere is the 90-freeway heading Northeast.

After calling it a night after just 100 words, I resumed at 7am this morning, while my co-workers are still sleeping. Henceforth, I will answer the following questions:

Do you always spend your time productively when studying?

Having a full-time job is not the only hindrance to managing my study time. Another is the study time itself. For my studies to be fruitful, I need to become better at shutting out distractions until the job is finished. I find myself unable to focus on one task for longer than twenty minutes. It is always tempting to browse the web or work on one of my websites. Another passion I have, besides my work, is building and designing websites. I would like to become proficient enough in WordPress by the end of this year that I am able to charge others for my services in making websites. But perhaps I should use WordPress as a reward for having completed an assignment, and not as a “smoking break” from my studies.

What mnemonic devices and other tools do you use to improve memorization?

I am not sure of any mnemonic devices per se that can help with my studies. But I am familiar with the advice that it helps to have multiple ways of absorbing information. That is why I bought the book for my math class, so that I can follow along with the online lectures. Seeing graphs and images of mathematical equations can really help sear the information into my brain. I try my best to have my learning mimic a well-balanced diet, with many different methods of learning material, so that I am not consuming information by just one method.

What can be improved in your learning process?

There are always things I can do to improve my learning process. One is having a set schedule, where I wake up early each morning, and devote some time to learning and studying. I have had this five o’clock reminder on my phone to study each day, and often it is forgotten, so what I’ve got to remember is that I owe it to myself to focus and study, even on days when I have not woken up as early as I would have liked. Not being so hard on myself is a key trait that I need to continue to work on. For example, today I slept in for an hour, but I am still looking at the day with a positive mindset. It’s important that I treat myself with respect in giving myself a little leeway sometimes. I am not a robot.

Are you confident when taking quizzes and tests? What can be improved in your test preparation?

Overall, I am a good test and quiz taker when I am fully prepared. But there are times when I feel underprepared, and that is generally due to a lack of studying consistently. I need to remember to study each day, and thereby not allow my assignments to pile up. The times when I do poorly on tests are when I leave my learning until the last couple of days before the test. I need to remember that the best way to learn is gradually over many days, thereby allowing the information to soak in.

When in doubt, it’s best to continue reading about a subject. There is nothing bad about reading and rereading the textbook when you do not understand something. Although I face many challenges when it comes to my study skills, I know that by maintaining a positive attitude, I will triumph in my schooling.

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