Self-study means studying/learning about a subject or a concept without a teacher. So, if you are studying all by yourself at your home, in a library, or at any other place then you are SELF-STUDYING.
Though it was earlier confined to a small lot of students, over time, it has gained tremendous importance.
With the advent of internet, more and more students are resorting to self-studying. Students have persistently shown a greater inclination towards self-study ever since online education came into existence. It has bestowed students with endless resources and self-study tips. Free online courses, e-tutorials, and mobile learning apps are of great help for the students studying on their own.
It is certain that self-study has myriad merits to offer, but it is also important that it should be done wisely.
Other than concentration, dedication, and motivation, there are a few things that one should keep in mind while studying on his/her own.
Below, I have listed a few self-study tips for effectual self-learning. Make them a part of your self-study routine and realize better results.
So, have a look at the following self-study tips and make your self-study sessions more fruitful and worthwhile.
15 Self Study Tips
Setting goals and achieving those brings in confidence, happiness, and self-esteem. But, setting goals under someone else’s influence can make them vague and unapproachable.
For instance- setting a goal that is too high for you, merely because your friend has those goals too, will only implant dissatisfaction, frustration, and low self-esteem in you. But, setting them as per your style, technique and nature will make them more realistic and attainable for you.
Plan things according to your capability and capacity and not according to anybody else.
Schedule Your Self-Study Time
Imagine yourself studying only one subject throughout your college/school hours. What if you have to attend a History class all day long and no other subject?
That sounds blah, doesn’t that?
And, that is why having a proper schedule or time table is mandatory in schools and colleges. And so is the case with your self-study sessions. You need to schedule your time.
A proper time-table for, maybe, a week, 15 days or a month (that depends on you) is recommended. Switch among different subjects (you can take 3 subjects at a time) and decide the number of topics that you need to cover for a specific period.
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When scheduling your self-study session don’t forget to keep a provision for revision sessions. Yes, they are important too. Regular revision sessions will keep your knowledge intact and will better your performance. Besides, revising a topic will pinpoint your weak points and strengths.
So, every time you study something new, make sure you revise it. It will enhance your understanding and retention power.
You can decide a review cycle that suits you the best. Keep such session either on a daily basis (like an hour daily or once a week) or, whatever that works best for you.
Maintain Your Study Environment
Great plan, ideal mindset, and ample of study resources, all go in vain if you do not have a perfect place to execute them. An adequate location and an environment conducive to study are a must.
Choose a place that is free from distractions, well-lit, and comfortable. Doing this will boost your concentration. Whereas studying in an inappropriate place can make your self-study sessions unproductive. Also, make sure that your study space is well organized before you begin to study. Keep things like pen, notebook, books, etc. that you might need during your session all near you. So, don’t forget to consider this factor while you are on your mission to effective self-study.
Following self-study schedules might often keep you away from your classroom. But, never mind, the only thing you need to pay attention to is that you are continually updated. Always keep an eye on anything new that is related to your course.
You can do so by either discussing it with your teacher or checking the trends on the internet.
Never confuse self-study with isolation.
While self-studying, you will have to stay away from daily lectures but that is of no harm. Until you seek the guidance as and when it is necessary. Like there will be times when you will get stuck, which is natural. Focus on finding out the right ways to resolve the issue.
Whenever confusion arises, quest for a well-guided assistance. It can be anybody like your teacher, friend or a classmate. Discuss with them and clear your doubts. Under no circumstance make decisions in disguise.
Keep a note that taking assistance will not only clarify your doubts but will also give you a new perspective to deal with the problems.
Oh! So you planned for self-study, but it’s been a week since you actually opened your books. Now, it seems more like a hazy idea than something concrete.
Kill the PROCRASTINATOR in you.
See, be it anything, consistency is important. Planning self-study sessions and sticking to them in the long run, indeed, are two different things. Mere planning will not solve the purpose. So, if you really expect results from it, keep it regular.
Focus on Learning, Not on Grades
You chose to self-study apparently because you want to score well. It’s implied, but it shouldn’t be your sole purpose as it will cause more harm than benefit. While studying, always focus on learning because if you are learning well, you will score well.
Keep your focus on enhancing your knowledge; mere cramming will not be fruitful. Develop the study habits that give you the maximum outcome.
Periodic Performance Check
Another point to reflect on is self-assessment. While you are studying, take out some time to evaluate that how far you have come. Solve test papers, assignments, or any other stuff that helps you to analyze your knowledge.
Keep these assessments periodic and cling to them strictly. They can be used as an assessment tool to check how much you have learned and retained so far.
So, download a few online assignments, or buy some sample papers related to your topic and solve them once you are confident enough about that topic. Also, make sure that you have the answer key so that you can later check your performance.
Highlight the Important Points
A cliché but an important study tip.
Keep a highlighter handy when you begin with your self-study sessions and mark the important points. The highlighted points will later succor easy memorization. This way, you’ll leverage your revision sessions.
Okay, I have two situations for you.
Situation one: You are lying slothfully on your bed and reading your chapters.
Situation two: You are sitting erect and reading attentively. Besides, you pen down the relevant facts and prepare a summary of the chapter.
Which one goes for you? And which one do you think will give better results?
Needless to say, it is the second one. Right?
It is because situation 2 asserts more attention and greater involvement than situation 1. Make interactive and interesting notes. Though more than note making, the emphasis is on involvement. That’s because higher association will lead to greater retention and memorization.
See this video to learn some effective note-taking techniques.
Keep No Doubts
Having doubts is completely all right but what’s wrong is not sorting them out. Clear your doubts as soon as they arise. For instance- while learning a language, keep a dictionary handy and clear your doubts as and when they pop-up.
Try Different Techniques
You can switch between different study techniques to cover your self-study topics.
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Using a range of study techniques will keep you away from boredom. Also, it will enhance your retention power.
Don’t Assume, Research
Not everything you’ll read from a source would be 100 per cent true. There might be times when what you often read from one source will contradict with another source.
What will you do at that time?
Which answer should you settle for?
Of course, if one source is more authentic than another than go for it. But, if you can’t measure the authenticity then it is advisable to research well about that topic.
Never settle for an answer on the basis of your assumptions. As I have already suggested, keep no doubts. Clear them, be sure, and learn what is right.
Last but not the least, take proper rest. If you do not rest well, you will not be able to perform well. Also, don’t study for long continuous stretches. Take breaks. Decide the duration of your break time and study sessions as per your convenience.
For instance- You can take a 10 minutes’ break after every 2 hours of the study session. But be strict with your schedule and get back to studies as soon as the break-time is over.
Taking breaks is important, but how you utilize that break is significant too.
Here’s what you can do to make it constructive.
During the break, eat something healthy, go on a stroll, or you can simply lie down quietly for some time and relax.