When you study, do you output as well as input?

Hollywood is remaking the classic 1986 movie, ‘Short Circuit’, about a robot called Number 5. When speed reading, the robot declares  ‘Need input . . . more input, more input!’ (at 0.53).


Input is the action of entering information. Reading during study is a stream of input.


Output is the action of retrieving information from memory. Answering a question is output. Exams are all about Continue reading

Posted in Exam preparation, How to study, Memory aids, Notetaking, Study Skills, Wrong way to study | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting ready for University or College

Starting University or College is a big change from school and marks an important milestone in your life. Here are some tips to make this transition stress free.

1.    Visit the web site. Minimise uncertainty by reading up on your chosen course and about student life. Find out what support is offered.

2.    Get involved. Go to Orientation Week and attend welcome lectures. Consider joining a club or activity group; it’s an essential element to your university experience. Become familiar with campus layout and location of lecture halls so on day one you can easily find your way. Get your student ID card.

3.    View the booklist and get your prescribed textbooks and materials early. Perhaps there’s an option to purchase second-hand.  Before the first lecture, scan the Table of Contents and opening chapters so you are familiar with key concepts and terminology.

4.    Find out your timetable and adjust outside commitments (e.g. part-time work, sport) to match.

5.    Who do you know has been to Uni or TAFE before? Ask them for their tips on how to settle into student life.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Learn 60 People’s Names In One Go

I am on a day trip by boat to a small island off Fiji, sailing on the schooner ‘Whale’s Tale’. A member of the crew, Victor, hands out drinks and snacks, and as he does, takes time to find out all everyone’s name – all 60 passengers.

Arriving at the island, we first gather in the community hut. Victor takes the group by surprise as he introduces each of us, one by one, by name.

I capture on video only the last 30 seconds, naming the last 15 people. (He’s already identified 3 rows of people – making a total of 60!)

Aferwards, I ask Victor about his amazing skill. He said:

‘I used to remember only around 6 passenger names.

Then 6 months ago I decided to try to remember everyone’s name,
and introducing everybody when we arrived at the island.

What I do – once we are sailing, I take time to get to know everyone. One by one, I ask them if they want a drink. At the same time I ask their name. When I hand them their drink, I use their name. ‘Here you are, Sandy’ and so on.

It takes me only 30 minutes to learn around 60 people’s names. The most names I’ve remembered at one time is 100.’

Victor is 47 years old.

Sometimes simply deciding to try to remember is the first step way to cultivating a better memory.

In summary:

1. Victor decided it was possible to learn to a list of names.
2. He had a process to capture the to-be-remembered information.
3. As part of the learning process he verbalised and self-tested.
4. The more he did it, the easier it became, the better he got.

Posted in Memory aids | Leave a comment

Can Students Study While Watching TV And Remember Stuff?

If you were working on your computer with the TV in the background, can you estimate the number of times you would switch attention between the two?

Are you likely to switch attention:
i)                   17 times
ii)                  57 times
iii)                120 times

Researchers at Boston College observed the attention of students who interacted with a computer while a TV was on in the background.  These students estimated they would switch attention only 17 times in 27.5 minutes. But in fact, they switched attention 120 times; that’s more than 4 times per minute.

How much multitasking do we think we’re doing when studying and how much are we actually doing?

Can this affect our memory of what we are studying?

Should we practice focused attention when reading to remember (studying) rather than continuous partial attention where we are monitoring more than one information or media source?

Here’s the link to the full article < http://bit.ly/hOziUZ >

Posted in Study Skills | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mnemonic Method To Remember The Periodic Table

A mnemonic is a memory aid to help you remember things.  This video
describes a way to remember the Periodic Table in Chemistry.  I wish I thought to do this
when studying chemistry.  Simple yet effective.

Posted in Memory aids, Mnemonics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


When reading during study I recommend marking important points in the margins with a pencil tick or highlighting keywords. Adding margin notes or marginalia while reading is called ‘active reading’.  It keeps you more mentally alert.

(Some students even seek out second hand textbooks with marginalia added as a guide to own study. So don’t worry about resale value – add notes.)

There are many ways to mark up text beyond simple ticks or highlighting. Develop your own repertoire of symbols or personal codes to add in the margin e.g. three asterisks if truly important, question mark or exclamation, arrows to indicate relationships.

For a good discussion on how to mark a book while reading, read Continue reading

Posted in How to study | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Multiple Intelligences Measure Talent, Not IQ

Copyright 2011 Nina Sunday. All rights reserved.

Eveyone Has Strengths and Talents – What’s Yours?

It’s easy to go through life thinking some kids are smart, some kids are dumb. But if someone is poor at Maths and English yet talented at Art, are they ‘dumb’? What if someone can build a motorcycle from spare parts but doesn’t excel at written tests?

Stop and consider how people can be intelligent in different ways.  In fact, educator Howard Gardner listed eight intelligences. Can you guess what they are? Continue reading

Posted in Learning styles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

teAch me hOw 2 stUdy

I just love this video. You will want to sing along with it! After viewing, please comment about the ideas expressed in the lyrics, or share your answers to these 2 quick questions . . .

1. Have you ever been taught how to study effectively?

2. What best describes your studying technique?

a.        Read and make notes as you go                        Yes / No
b.        Read and make notes, then summarise notes       Yes / No
c.        Read and highlight, then reread and make notes   Yes / No
d.        Other _________________________________________

Have you ever asked a teacher,  Continue reading

Posted in How to study, Study Skills | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment