How to study
These great professional tips from a former long-time student and current member of the teaching class are great!
Using these tips you can study better!
How to survive a lecture
There are basically two ways to get the most out of a lecture. The first, the so-called “chump's way”, is as follows:
- Have a good night's sleep.
- Eat something.
- Go over the previous lecture's notes.
- Look at your materials and see what the lecture will be about.
- Arrive early, make notes, ask questions, don't disturb the other attendants.
- After the lecture, review, collate and retype your notes. If any new questions rise, approach the lecturer or the TA.
Since there isn't always time for this approach, or because some find it distasteful and “too wholesome to be cool”, the following approach, the so-called “knife-edge way”, has been come up with:
- Sleep, eat, no matter; just get to the lecture at the starting time, plus minus ten minutes.
- Take all the coffee with you.
- Place yourself at the back of the room, and gauge the importance of the present subject by the reactions of the meters (other students) in front of you.
- Asleep: not important.
- Making notes: not important.
- Sitting up and staring: not important.
- Asking if “Is this gonna be in the exam?”: VERY IMPORTANT! Also gonna be in the exam no matter the answer.
- Screaming and crying: Probably worth making notes on.
- If staying awake is difficult, drink anything. Coffee and tea contain caffeine; water just keeps you up by the power of straining dams.
- When staying awake is still difficult, sit on the edge of your seat; you'll wake up when you fall.
- When staying up is still difficult, place pens and other sharp objects strategically so that any nodding will push them into your flesh.
- When staying up is nonetheless difficult, take a nap. Don't be a nut about conscious lecture absorbance. (Warning: sleeping on some lectures can cause nightmares. Prepare a question beforehand just in case you wake up with your screams still echoing, and everybody staring at you.)
How to do homework
Doing homework is easy. Just look in the lectures, find the corresponding example, and apply it to the homework question.
The corresponding example is the one whose beginning most matches the homework problem.
There always is a corresponding example as long as there is at least one example in the lectures. (The proof is trivial.)
The application is as follows: match each number and symbol in the problem to one or more in the example. Then copy the example, replacing the numbers and symbols as you've chosen them.
Finish the problem by writing the words “I'm not sure if this works but I tried this.”
How to read a book (for an exam or something)
Start at the cover. The cover is visible when one of the largest facets of the book object is perpendicular to your line of sight, with the binding on your left hand and the text on the facet right side up. (Here “right” means “correct”, not “opposite of left”. Also, this does not work for books from Germany, Japan, etc.)
Read the text on the cover. The parts written in the largest letters should be the “name” or “title” of the book; and a human name or a series of human names. These human names are the “authors” of the book. Read only books by esteemed authors. (For the appropriate local definition of “esteemed”, consult your professor.) The more authors there are, the better the book is. Be sure that both the title and the author(s) of your book are correct. The smaller text, pictures, etc., on the cover can be disregarded.
Beware of “blurbs”. These are sentences, often in quote marks, followed by a name. The name is usually not that of one of the authors… usually… and should not be confused with them.
Next, “open” the book using the following steps. Place one of your hands on the spine (the one of the smaller facets which is surfaced in the manner most similar to the surfacing of the largest facets), and squeeze the spine tightly with that hand. Place your other hand, or any of your hands which is not the one holding the spine, on the opposite facet. Move this second hand vigorously towards your face. This should lead to a situation where equal parts of the book reside on the left and right sides (from your point of view) of the hand holding the spine. Your should be able to view parts of the book interior (“pages”) with text on them. If this is not the case, repeat the above steps. In case of trouble, start over from finding the cover of the book, and check that you are actually using a book and not, for example, a pencil.
Assuming you can read the text on the pages, do so. If you cannot, check the title of the book. If you cannot read that, ask your professor about a different book. If you can read the title but not the text, repeat the previous steps until you find text you can read.
Some parts of the text on the pages may have been emphasized like this or like this. Underline those parts using a pen or a pencil, or overline them using a neon-colored marker. (Do not overline using a pen or a pencil.) These are the “key points”. Memorize them.
The pages may have small numbers printed in one or more corners of each page. These numbers should not be memorized, except so far that you should not memorize anything from a page if you have memorized something from a page containing the same “page number”.
Repeat this until there is no more time.