The method of study is certainly one of the essential elements to proceed effectively in the studies, and yet there is little talk about it and always in a vague manner.
The truth is that behind a brilliant student there is a solid method of study. The method of study is personal and everyone should investigate and test to see what works with them self, but I am convinced that taking a cue from those who have a very good can be a good strategy to improve their own.
That’s why I decided to interview two of the brightest female students I know to show me the tricks and secrets that allowed them to have such satisfying results in their studies.
Introduction to methods
The first method can be applied to humanistic subjects or concerning the social sciences, while the second method is more suited to scientific subjects.
The methods are divided into three distinct periods: the lecture period, the individual study and the exam.
Claudia’s study method (Political Science)
Claudia Calamai is a student of political science dealing with the master in strategies of public and political communication. Claudia graduated in equal to the triennial and was awarded as the best student of all political sciences in Florence. Moreover, those who know it in person can confirm, have a social life that could envy a PR.
Claudia’s method of study is convinced that it can be applied to many economic exams, certainly to political science and jurisprudence. In general, all the exams that require a thorough study of the subject.
During the period of the lessons
The first topic we talked about was to take notes. The Claudia method involves taking notes via the PC, which then allows them to correct and integrate the notes at a later stage.
Also during the period of the lessons (not during classes) Claudia starts reading the books which she always summarizes using the computer.
This allows you to arrive at the exam session with two writings: the notes and the summary.
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The pre-exam study lasts more or less two weeks. At the beginning of this period Claudia prints her notes and summaries; in general it tries to have all the material that will be used by hand.
Before starting Claudia you do a study program with minimum goal. If you make a program with impossible goals, this thing will surprise you a lot!
In practice, Claudia sets the minimum daily goals that, even if a meteorite falls, will have to do. These goals (e.g. two chapters per day) are below what you will actually study and this is good because you will probably have more time towards the end to review everything.
Having said that this method of minimum goals is psychologically very valid because it allows you to always be in control and satisfied with how your study proceeds. It is not the classic that runs after an impossible program, but rather anticipates a feasible program!
Returning to the real study, once printed the summaries and notes, Claudia begins to read them emphasizing the most important concepts. Already from the first reading begins to repeat. In the first reading it is obviously not important to repeat everything, the important thing is to remember and repeat the fundamental concepts, those underlined (in red) during reading. After the readings after the first one begins to repeat in more detail, but always constructing the repetition on the basic concepts!
An important part for many students is the management of anxiety during (and before) an oral. Claudia, who is very anxious about her, manages anxiety with the awareness of being very well prepared. Moreover, having built her own study on fundamental concepts, he knows that during the oral period he will always have strong foundations even if unfortunately he does not remember some smallness.
Another important thing during the oral examination, according to her, is to make connections. In this way you make the professor understand that your studio has an extra quid, the X factor for a good thirty and praise.
I add a very nice thing that came out of the interview, or how those famous “basic / fundamental concepts” are for Claudia what then will go to form your general culture:
An essential core of information, maybe a revolutionary idea, that you will always carry with you.
Elena’s study method (Science)
Elena Corradi is a student of Physics enrolled in the magisterial of nuclear physics. Elena graduated in Physics with 110 cum laude. Surprisingly, the high school of origin was a classic.
I report the method of study of Elena as the most suitable method for the study of scientific subjects.
During the period of the lessons
Follow a scientific faculty is essential, because the lecture notes will be the basis of the study and allow you to stay on par. The notes for Elena should be sufficient to prepare the exam; the book can help to integrate an unclear topic. The most important thing is to stay on par and do not let yourselves be blocked by a doubt. The doubts that you will have during the period of the lessons will have to be clarified as soon as possible because not having understood a key passage during a lesson can compromise the understanding of all subsequent lessons.
There are various ways to resolve doubts. That of not being able to do it alone and losing hours and hours of your time is the least recommended.
1) Ask the professor during the lesson if it is something that can affect everyone or if it is a longer thing ask him at the end of the lesson.
2) Ask your classmates. Studying with other people is a great advantage because it allows you to help each other.
3) Go to the reception. Even at all receptions, the important thing is to stay on par and dissolve doubts.
Pre-exam study (written)
Elena starts studying from 5 to 10 days before. In this phase of study the theory must already be more or less clear, the one on which the exercises are concentrated. The only theory that revises is that useful for the exercises.
In this phase, studying (and doing exercises) in a group is an excellent way to proceed.
If the examinations of the past years are made available, it is better to make them all. The philosophy is that if an examination is already done, then you must be able to do it perfectly.
Pre-exam study (oral)
Before an oral examination, it is advisable to have already seen a previous oral exam for an idea. In the preparation phase, Elena’s method is to print the lessons register and, once an empty classroom is occupied, systematically repeat the most complex parts on the blackboard. The second and third time the repetition on the blackboard (as a lesson) should only focus on the topics that I do not remember well before.
During an oral exam, one of the most important things is to smile. The winning attitude during an exam is that of a person who wants to make it clear that she has studied very well but without pride. An excellent trick when you are in trouble is to look for confirmation in the look and expressions of the prof. so as to understand if you are giving a right answer or if you are off topic.