The most common skills used in study are reading and writing. The following hints will help you to improve the way you use these at work…
There are three levels of reading.
- Skimming means glancing at an article or book very quickly to get a rough idea of what it is about without going into much detail. You do not read every word. You could do this by looking for key words, reading the first line of each paragraph or skimming along the contents, index, chapter headings or sub-headings.
- Scanning is searching through a piece of text for specific items of information, for example, a date, a figure or a name.
- Careful Reading is when you need intensive reading and it can be done in five steps: Survey, Question, Read, Recall and Review (SQ3R).
SQ3R It is not suggested that all of your reading should be done by this method but it is very useful when you are doing intensive study of a text.
- Survey – Look over the chapter or section you are about to read and try to get a general idea of the content from the headings, charts, illustrations and by a quick read of the first and last paragraphs.
- Question – Set yourself some questions that you want to find answers for from the reading and note any questions, which the Survey has suggested to you.
- Read – You should read the chapter or section thoroughly. Vary the speed to suit the material and mark the text which contains essential information.
- Recall – Remove your text / book and jot down a summary of your reading from memory including the main points and the answers to the questions that you noted earlier.
- Review – Look back over the chapter or section and see compares with your Recall. Make any amendments or additions which you will need to make your notes complete.
Note Taking (Writing)
The main purpose of making notes is to help you remember things, they also help you understand, revise, make links and concentrate on the subject matter.
Notes should be clear, concise and easy to read. Be well organised and suit your way of learning.
There are a few types of notes:
- Linear Notes – notes which are in lines. First point, then second point etc.
- Mind mapping / Spider Diagrams – are a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. They help you quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject and the way that pieces of information fit together.
- Index Card Scheme – write a question or term on the back of an index card. On the front of each card, write the answer or explanation using your own notes/words whenever possible. Test yourself on the material.
- Reviewing – Looking back over what you have learned, as often as you can, helps move the information you need from the short-term memory to the long-term memory. It is recommended that you review your work one day in a week, then once again in a week and again in a month’s time.
- Linking – The best way of trying to remember something is to link it to something else. We do this by using mnemonics.
- Mnemonics: Aids that help us remember things. Here are some ideas.
- Make up a sentence e.g. Richard of York gave battle in vain. This sentence helps us remember the colours of the rainbow. In this case each first letter stands for a colour of the rainbow. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).
- Make up a rhyme. “30 days has September, April, June and November”. This helps us remember the days in each month
- Chunking – Most people can only memorise 5-7 pieces of information at a time. If you have a lot of information to remember it helps to break it in to groups. Think of how you remember a phone number: by grouping the numbers in to two or three “chunks”. You can do the same with a subject too.
- Teaching – One of the best ways to learn a subject is to teach it. If you can explain something to someone else then you really do understand it.
- Visual – Select a location that you have spent a lot of time in and know very well, for example your house. Imagine yourself walking through the house, selecting clearly defined places – the door, sofa, refrigerator etc.. Imagine yourself putting objects that you need to remember into each of these places by walking through this location in a direct path. It is important that you use a standard direct path and clearly defined locations for objects. This will assist you in remembering the information.