I promised I would share my Dad’s study tips. I know that not everybody has the resources to follow all of them — some students’ days are pretty packed — but am kind of charmed that a man of eighty-five would share these; and some of them may be adaptable to different times and circumstances.
I. Suggestions for studying based on experience in graduate school.
(1) Write copious notes in class in a notebook dedicated to the course.
(2) Don’t worry about not understanding all aspects of lectures while writing notes in class. You will find that your notes are usually intelligible even when you didn’t understand the lecturer as he was giving the lecture.
(3) As soon as possible after class, transcribe lectures neatly in ink in another notebook dedicated to the class in question. If you don’t procrastinate on transcribing, you have the best chance of remembering segments from the lecture that you may have missed in your notes.
(4) When you study for exams, write questions from your notes – some general, some specific – and number the questions. When you have finished the list of questions, go through the questions, answering them in writing. Review the questions you have answered incorrectly or whose answers you are unsure of. Don’t waste time “learning” what you already know. Each time you review the questions that you had previously marked incorrect, continue to review the “incorrect” ones until you know all the answers.
(5) Find a quiet place to study, free of distraction.
(6) In studying for exams or in understanding concepts, sometimes it is useful to study with a partner from the same class.