In my three years at U of T, I have tried many ways to learn course material and complete my assignments, especially when I quickly found that the ways I learned in high school were no longer applicable. My prior multi-tasking abilities in class have made it incredibly hard for me to focus in university classes and I realized my learning technique would have to change, which I am still figuring out to this day! This week, I’m looking into what I have tried to change this term to assist my learning.
My main issue is that I rush my learning for my classes, which means I don’t have time to fully understand the course/concepts. The problem isn’t quite procrastination, but rather that I am unable to concentrate in class, meaning I have to catch up on notes even if I attend. My notes are always a mess, some have parts completely missing, others are just purely the slideshows the professors used, and a few are complete and detailed. So, I spend a lot of time just trying to get organized instead of learning the material.
From understanding this, I decided to re-innovate two parts of my learning: notetaking and studying.
Despite having access to peer note-takers as part of my accommodations, I am trying my best to get my own notes to reflect my need in learning. Since my classes are a mix of theory, math, and diagrams, it makes it hard to write everything down nicely. I decided I would work on creating summaries while the professor is teaching or right after the class. I could always go back to posted lecture material, but summaries really make sure I understand the material to the best of my ability. So far, this has been incredibly useful, and I find myself becoming more familiar with the course material.
By saving time on making my notes, I was able to understand that I study best by practicing course material. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been working out too great – I have been incredibly burnt out this term from personal health and just being in my senior years of university. I tried working during the hours where I am most productive (early mornings), but I have still fallen behind on my coursework and struggle to keep up. However, I am trying to delegate specific hours during the day to catch up on course material and practice which is still something I am working on improving.
I have tried focusing on my personal health so that I feel better when studying but doing so has also put me behind in classes. As I am trying new learning techniques, I am still learning about myself and what works best. For every student, this will be different, and it’s important to learn that this difference does not determine your success or your intelligence. Anyone else try out any new learning techniques you’ve found helpful? I’d love to read them in the comments!