Study smarter, not harder

By educating women, Ghana is growing stronger

Ever wondered how we have managed to stay at the top of the learning curve? Well, as the best GCE AS & A level school, we have a few tricks up our sleeves you might be interested in. Whether you are a junior high school student, a college student, or an adult who’s looking to learn new skills or perhaps a new language, these will work.

First and foremost, never leave class or lecture with unanswered questions. The classroom is the best learning environment, and it’s essential to make the most of it. If you don’t understand something during the lesson, it can be challenging to learn it on your own. Asking questions and seeking clarification in class ensures that you grasp the concepts being taught and minimize the need for additional tutorials or self-study. This not only saves you time but also helps you learn more effectively. In our experience, locating quality tutorials is challenging, and even when found, the lack of interactive questioning hinders the learning process compared to live classroom sessions.

Next, pay close attention in class to actively absorb new information. Your attentiveness not only aids your understanding but also contributes to the overall efficiency of the class, preventing unnecessary repetitions by the teacher.

Taking personal notes is essential for effective learning. It allows you to capture key points emphasized by the teacher, information not found in textbooks, and details that resonate with you. Creating your notes in class saves time that would otherwise be spent searching for specific information. Additionally, note-taking in class helps prevent forgetting crucial details and ensures clarity when revisiting the material.

Practice is essential for improvement, but perfection should not be the sole objective; progress is. You should not be afraid of the question. In fact, do it as badly as you can. Questions are part of the learning process. By questions, you connect the dots between concepts and their applications, because these are the same concepts being applied in the real world so treat the questions as real-life questions/models. Yes you are finding the mass of the sun, how cool is that? There is this whole stigma about exams and tests but they are not anything antagonizing, Rather, they are merely questions to be explored.

The students of the African Science Academy (ASA) have incorporated a study technique- flip learning. Going the extra mile in learning is exciting and fosters curiosity. Reading ahead provides a deeper understanding, and researching after class adds valuable insights. Actively recall information through spaced repetition to improve retention. Instead of passively studying, engage in active recall by solving practice tests. This technique stimulates the brain, creating neural connections for effortless material retention. Another tip is to conclude each class lesson with a mini-review to reinforce learning and identify gaps for immediate clarification.

In ASA, we value differences in learning styles as much as differences in culture. When it comes to learning, one size does not fit all. While some of us work best in the library’s quieter sections, others require some background noise to focus. Finding your learning style improves the overall process’s effectiveness and enjoyment, much like figuring out the ideal rhythm for your favorite song.

Again, there’s a study tradition in ASA: peer tutoring. This is based on Feynman’s technique. According to Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning American theoretical physicist, one of the best ways to study is to explain a concept as if you were teaching it to a five-year-old. However, there is a downside to this: it can be time-consuming, so help people but also be conscious about it.  This approach to explaining concepts to a five-year-old not only helps in understanding but also fosters creativity and critical thinking. It encourages us to break down complex ideas into simpler terms, enabling us to grasp the essence of the subject matter.

Finally, never forget that you are more than just a student. Make self-care a priority by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and doing things you enjoy. A healthy body and mind are better able to meet the demands of education.

Jane  and Nicole are  students from the African Science Academy

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