Figuring out how to study takes time, but gives you a feeling of safety, mastery and belonging. Congratulations on your first step! This is a study guide made for an event held the autumn of 2021, which with time will become a full blown project. Study-techniques should be much more accessible! The guide is written in english.
Å finne ut av hvordan du skal studere tar tid, men det gir deg en følelse av trygghet, mestring og tilhørighet. Gratulerer med ditt først steg på reisen! Dette er en studieguide laget til et arrangement avholdt høsten 2021, som med tiden skal bli et selvstendig prosjekt. Studieteknikk er underkommunisert! Guiden er skrevet på engelsk.
These are some other guides and resources on how to study:
by SiO Semesterstart
Kom i gang med studiene!
Introductory, in depth
Hvordan studere effektivt
Straight to the point
Focuses on academic writing
v Søk og Skriv
Practical book on how to learn based on how your brain actually works
by Olav Schewe and Barbare Oakley
Scientific book on learning, expertise and deliberate practice
by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
But you don’t have time for 6 different resources, you need one MASTER resource!
Meet our guide, your guide! We hope this guide will put you on your way to figuring out how to study. We also hope you want to join us in making this guide better, which you can do by supporting us or becoming a voulenteer member of Folkeliggjort.
First of all, you need time
Studying takes time, and figuring out how to study takes time. First things first, here are some suggestions on tools for managing your time:
A loose weekly plan for when and where you want to spend time
An advanced spreadsheet for keeping track of time spent, feel free to use something less advanced
Reward and punishment for spending time on your most important tasks
Now, let’s explore some aspects of making sure you are spending as much time as you would like on your studies.
What won’t you sacrifice for your studies? Make sure your studies don’t impact these activities. This is a good first step to figuring out what hours of the day you should work on your studies.
In what environments are you able to study? It would be a good idea to have your studies taking place in these environments.
Manage your goals and expectations. If you feel like you aren’t being successful at studying, you won’t want to study. An idea could be to set as low goals as possible when it comes to what you expect of yourself. Otherwise, you might feel like you have run out of time.
How do you hold yourself accountable? Some measures could be reward, punishment, or putting yourself in an environment where not prioritising the task might be embarrassing. Consider implementing this for the tasks that are most important, the ones you expect yourself to complete.
Decide, be quick to redecide, forgive and evolve. There are a lot of ways to decide on how you would like to spend your time. A common tool is to make a loose weekly plan that you take inspiration from when you make your “regular” more specific weekly plan. Another tool is to keep track of the time you spend.
Your social environment is important
While studying and exploring how to study, you need a comfortable and useful social environment. If you aren’t enjoying life as a student, you won’t enjoy studying. Here are some tools for making a good study environment.
Events and workshops
A study space where you organically meet other people
UiO’s page listing all Academic student associations
UiO’s own event on “how to study” is called “Klar ferdig UiO!”. This is a great starting point for figuring out how to study. But where do you go from here?
Some relevant events for your social environment
Some of our own events are relevant, you can find them on our Facebook-page.
A good way to meet the Academic writing centre is to attend their “shut-up-and-write” events. You could attend some with your exam work as soon as this friday! The Academic writing centre publish their events on their website.
Student associations host some of the best events. Take a look at the event pages on their Facebook-sites. Wondering what student associations are at your faculty? Most faculties have a site listing connected student associations, but you might need to do some extra research to make sure you have found all of them. Perhaps you could make a page like this one for the student-association-events at your faculty as a voulenteer member of Folkeliggjort?
Academic student associations migth be key
If you would like to make a good study environment, academic student associations might give you the most bang for your buck. These are students interested in both being social, and figuring out “how to study”. What are some of the most academic oriented associations at your faculty? You tell us, we haven’t done the research yet. (And until we do the research, we actually would love for you to do it for us)
Study method and technique
Using the correct method while studying can guarantee that you spend less time with your materials and achieve better results. The truth is, there are a ton of study methods and techniques. And different methods and techniques work better and worse for different people. It seems like the most important thing is that you implement active learning. Paal Fredrik Skjørten Kvarberg recommends the book “Peak” by Anders Ericsson. Here we will mention some tools for studying, and give some suggestions on what could elevate your studying.
Some tips for getting in the zone
The zone is your friend. Find it!
Turn off distractions – you need to be focused to understand your complex textbooks! Consider turning off your devices in order to create a distraction-free zone. This may be difficult when you are reading on your laptop, but there are still steps you can take, like turning off the internet or blocking notifications.
Find your ritual – the study process can be different for everybody: some of us like to focus on one thing, others (try to) multitask; some listen to music while reading, and others cancel out all noise; some like to sit by the window and others create a restricted view around them. In any case, it is important to find your own ritual, especially, if you have to work from home. You can do this by working on your senses – pick a dedicated space, adjust lighting, maybe include some meditation or scented candles. The main thing is to create a setting that works best for you.
Pressure to your advantage – people around you can be a distraction or an advantage. If you are in a situation where everybody’s studying, peer pressure will put you in a flow zone as well. So, sit down with your friends and make a “shut up and study” session.
Some Tips for Reading
Prepare – a lot depends on how we frame processes or events in our heads. If you approach reading your textbooks as you approach reading fiction, you may end up not remembering much! To avoid this, you can think about what you aim to get from the reading process and strategize accordingly. Do you want to remember a lot? Do you want to find and map sources for your exams and papers? Do you want to get a grasp of technical lingo and academic writing? These are the questions you can ask before.
Preview your readings – knowing what you are reading gives you an overall view of what you will be reading about and what are the questions that the reading aims to answer. For instance, if you are reading an article, read its abstract, skim through the introduction and conclusion.
Adjust the process – our reading speed differs depending on what we are reading, so adjust your reading speed to your reading and inside your reading. Try to read faster the passages that are easier to understand and dedicate more time to understanding complex sentences.
Collaborate – sometimes reading the immeasurable amount of materials can be a taxing task. To make it easier, you can collaborate with your classmates and divide readings to take notes from or read and summarize for each other. This way studying becomes a social exercise and uses peer pressure to make your reading efficient.
Be aware of your limitations – because of our phones and notifications, we all have a short attention span! While you should work on your focus, you should also be aware that your brain can only do so much. There are many research-based techniques that help to schedule the work process around your attention span. For instance, the Pomodoro technique divides time into intervals, usually 25 mins each which are followed by small breaks.
Sources and further reading:
Some Tips for Note Taking
Do not copy-paste – writing down everything that is said at the lecture or written in the book may prove pointless if you do not manage to keep up or understand what is written in your notes. Instead, summarize the content and write in a way that makes sense to you, even if you use slang, abbreviations you invented or images!
Take notes regularly – note-taking is a skill and needs to be polished. Do not employ it only before exams but try to take notes during your classes or while reading for them. Have your weapon ready for final battles!
Do more with your notes – your notes do not need to be a formal recording of what you listened to or read. Vice versa, the better they reflect and interact with your personality the more likely you are to read and understand them afterwards. You can make them interactive by inserting your questions and observations about the material or colour-coding them. When it comes to active learning, you might actually get more use out your notes making of maps, diagrams and writing open questions. This way you are forced to do active recall and interact with your notes.
Make a conscious choice about your note-taking medium – Do you write notes by hand? Do you you use Word? OneNote? What about Notion or Obsidian? Research shows that taking notes by hand is more productive mainly because typing is faster and mindless. However, typing also has its perks, especially for the efficiency of reorganizing your notes. Still, writing down your notes are just part of the process. What medium you use when you write your down your notes, impacts how you are abele interact with them both while taking them and after.
Read your notes – and not only before the exam. Try to reread them right after taking them or the next day to see whether you understand them or if they are comprehensive enough. It is better to find the gaps before you forget the content! When it comes to active learning, it might actually be best to quiz yourself or engage in them in a way that gives you feedback.
Choose your technique – familiarize yourself with different note-taking techniques that have been refined by decades of research and choose your own or make your “Frankenstein” technique with features from different techniques. Few techniques to look up include the Cornell method, the Outline method, Mind Mapping, Line diagrams, etc.
Sources and further reading:
Something worth exploring in the world of note-taking
Have your heard of Notion or Obsidian? With modern technology, the world of note-taking is expanding. We recommend you explore some of these new tools for taking notes.
A block-based note-taking app
Non-linear note-taking as a second brain
We hope you keep exploring “How to study”! No matter how you do it, our recommendation is that you do it together with other students. This way you can learn from each other, and most importantnly have fun while doing so.
We would love to keep exploring this with you btw, so don’t be affraid to contact us! One of the many ways to contact us is to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And we hope you keep us in the loop about your further exploration! Until next time!