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Assalamu'alaikum everyone. I am happy to share with you some of the tips I received during my first year geology course at Adelaide University (2009). Credit is given to my dedicated lecturer Dr. Karin. The original article was prepared by her, and adapted from WH Freeman website.
May Allah make this information useful and practical for us and all the other people.
This tips sharing may be more revolving around geology courses. Nevertheless, the common points can be practiced in other field or discipline as well.
1. Use the recommended textbooks in a smart way.
Chapters: Each chapter begins with an outline of what will be covered, and ends with a dot point summary of the important ideas of the chapter. Before reading a chapter of the book, we have to read the chapter summary first. Consequently, this will provide us with a way to organize our reading and study.
Key Terms: The key terms are printed in bold within the textbook. We can further speed up our reading time by being observant and watchful for key terms in bold. When we see such a bolded term we know it is the most important concept in that paragraph. Focus on understanding that concept. Read with purpose. Furthermore, the author provides a list of key terms at the end of the chapter, and the page on which it is defined.
2. Preparation before lecture.
Preview: Why preview is important and helpful?
Introductory courses can be difficult. There are lots of new terms, new ideas, and new skills during a first semester geology course. However, we need to wise to ask: "Which ideas are 'important'?" How do we focus our effort? We need to arrive at class with an overview of the lecture already in mind. An overview means we have already identified what geological process will be explained and what key questions the lecture will answer.
How do we get the overview?
We just need to spend a few minutes before lecture previewing the chapter that will be covered.
Step 1: Skim the text. Look for the three or four most important questions the material will cover.
Step 2: List the questions. Limit ourselves to just three or four so you will be sure to remember our framework during lecture. However, be sure that we identify the questions that are the most important for us.
Step 3: Answer the questions. Spend the rest of our pre-lecture study time finding preliminary answers in our text. Read just enough to get idea of the answer. Do not allow ourselves to get lost in details.
3. Attend the lectures.
Our basic goal during lecture is to get a good set of notes. To avoid getting lost in details, keep the big picture in mind: Bring our printed lecture notes to class so that we are able to amend them throughout the lecture.
As we listen to lecture, identify questions you need to ask to understand the material. Try to formulate at least one good question we can ask during every lecture.
The most important task during lecture is definitely taking a good set of notes. Note taking is not easy. It is a skill that improves with practice.
Here are a few tips that will help insure you take an excellent set of notes.
4. Make an excellent set of notes.
Note Taking Checklist
- Organize our notes in a binder so that we can easily reorganize them.
- Date each day's notes so you can find material later.
- Take notes in a format that makes the main topics and concepts easy to be identified. Some students accomplish this by taking notes in outline format.
- But many other approaches are possible to be done. Visual learners may find it helpful to highlight main points (after class) in colour.
- Keep the preview questions in front of us during lecture. Be sure to leave class with good answers to each of the three preview questions.
- Indicate areas where we need to follow-up work with our text, instructor or demonstrator with a question mark in the margin.
- Indicate possible test questions by putting a "TQ" (Test Question) in the left margin where we can easily see it.
5. Review Our Notes
- Right after lecture, while the material is fresh in our mind, is the perfect time to review our notes. Review to be sure we understand the key points and wrote them down in a form that will be readable later.
- Do not postpone this activity. Immediately after lecture much of what was said will still be in our short-term memory. If we missed something we will still remember it and be able to put in our notes. But short-term memory is just that. Wait even one day and we will have forgotten eighty percent (80%) or more of that important points.
- The basic idea of reviewing our notes is to fill in what we missed and add helpful material from the text.
6. Intensive Study Session
- We should schedule at least one hour after each lecture for intensive study. This can occur anytime before the next lecture. (Short-term memory is no longer a problem since we have completed note review; we have a good set of notes to work with).
- Why do we need an intensive study session? We learn geology as much we would build a house. Before each lecture, construct a frame of questions. During lecture, attach details and ideas to the frame. After lecture, master those ideas during an intensive study session. Each chapter support those above it. If we do not completely master this chapter the next will be more difficult.
- Schedule at least one hour after each lecture for intensive study. Devote this time to mastering key concepts. Mastery is not gained by just reading the text. Mastery occurs as the result of asking ourselves questions (and answering them).
7. Preparing for Tests/Exams.
Our lecturers are the ultimate guide in regard to the question "What is important?".
Be sure we know the format of the exam. Is it multiple choice, true false or essay?
Be sure to attend review sessions if these are offered.
Once we are clear about the nature of the exam, begin our review. Conduct review in an orderly systematic manner that insures focused review of all the important material.
Exams Preparation: Seven days study method.
- Day one: Getting organized.
- Day two: Study 1/4 of the material.
- Day three: Study second 1/4 of the material.
- Day four: Study third 1/4 of the material.
- Day five: Study fourth 1/4 of the material.
- Day six: Review all material.
- Day seven: Exam day, stay focused, and be confident.
The day of the test:
- Get a good night's rest. Being able to think clearly will help us more than those last few facts we crammed in, particularly if we attend class regularly.
- Review our notes or summary sheets to ease our mind. We probably know more than we think we do if we have been studious.
- When taking the test, try to stay calm. Do not expect to know everything. Skip the questions we do not know immediately and come back to them when we have completed the exam.
After all, do not forget:
- To always make du'a (prayer) to Allah; ask Him to guide and help us.
- Allah is The All-Hearing, All-Knowing and He answers all the du'a made to Him.
- Trust Allah wholeheartedly.
- Correct and purify our intention, make it always in the purpose to seek His blessings. Insya Allah, each moment spent on our study is counted as 'ibadah.
May Allah make us from those who listen to the saying and follow the best of it.