Tensai Success Tips

Tensai Success Tips

List of Contents

General Study Tips

1. Rewrite it- Yes, by hand

Studies have shown that writing information down helps you remember it. By rewriting your notes, you are helping to ingrain the information into your memory. Additionally, by revising your notes, you are reviewing the material. One trick in rewriting your notes is by contraction. We recommend a two level contraction; the first level should be a sentence, only long enough to stimulate your brain to remember the larger content. The second level contraction should be one or two words that stimulate your brain to remember the larger content. Writing is so powerful that it doesn't even have to be on paper, Once you have completed the second level contraction, continue writing, almost anywhere you can; on the table top and even in the air.

2. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Each time you reread information, you will learn some additional information. Ensure to reread the content until you get to the top of the diminishing returns curve.

3. Read your text BEFORE class

Research has shown that most people need to expose themselves to information a minimum of FIVE times before they learn something. Your teacher will go over it in class only once, if at all, and you are responsible for the other four times! Reading the text before class, even just to see it once, not necessarily understand it, will make it familiar and you will understand it better and faster in class. Because this type of reading is relatively passive, you can read the more difficult topics just before you go to sleep. Once you go to sleep, your brain will make these connections passively and enable you to understand these difficult concepts better when you read them a second (or third) time.

4. Study ahead of time, and often

This is especially when you are preparing for tests or exams. Studying ahead of time allows enough time for neuron connections to be established, resulting in understanding and successful development of long-term memory.

5. Explain it to somebody

Wise people say, 'The more you share, the more you gain'. If you are able to explain the information in a way that a child can understand, then it means you also have understood it. You can also explain it to an imaginary audience, speak it loud, trust me you will not look insane, but again, you are better off looking insane and excelling in school, than the contrary.

Final Considerations

    Sit at the correct spot in class. Think about your eyesight, concentration levels and your ability to overcome distractions. If all these three are low, then you are better of sitting in the front of the class.

    Ensure you get enough rest, and enough sleep. Refrain from studying throughout the night, even during examination times. You are better off with a clear understanding of 50% of the content, than a jumbled up mess of 100% of the content in your brain, that you may never be able to retrieve during your tests/exams.

    Although we recommend limiting the use of energy drinks or general performance boosters, beverages such as coffee and tea may be acceptable if they are essential to maintain alertness in class.

How we learn

Let us begin by describing the theory of learning. There are two distinctive approaches to learning, as described in the article - The Intention to Both Memorise and Understand: Another Approach to Learning by David Kember, 1996. According to this article, students can learn superficially with the intention to pass exams only, or in a deeper meaningful manner. We will call the former - memorizing, and the latter, understanding. In this article, we will recommend using both approaches in a balance.

Memorization is only partly helpful and can only take you so far. On the other hand, understanding concepts will take you further than memorization. However, it is the combination of the two approaches that will create enough synergy to enable you to not only perform better in your tests, but also be able to translate the information learnt into practical life changing knowledge. The trick will be to determine when understanding is needed, when memorization can suffice, or is necessary and when the combination is critically essential.

The Understanding/Memorization Combo

The combination and balancing between understanding and memorization has been utilized in several countries including China, Japan, Finland and some European countries. The combination can occur in two directions: The first involves, first, understanding the concept through extensive elaboration of the information presented, then once understood, the student will practice the information, repeatedly, through recitations and writing the information repeatedly by hand so that the learner can remember it accurately. This process can be described as knowledge retrieval. The second approach involves memorizing the information first and then over time, the student develops an understanding of the information. Students who utilize Foundations learning resources are encouraged to adopt the first approach more frequently. Research has shown that memorizing first results in learners finding less need to develop the more important 'understanding' of the concepts. However, the student should be able to memorize, whenever they encounter a concept that they have totally failed to understand.

Understanding Vs Memorization

Memorization, alone, has its place. For example, in remembering people's names, or the names of different animals. Mathematical and chemical formulas, laws, theories and illustrations, such as those in Biology, can also be memorized. Memorizing, alone, is temporary, but it allows the learner to output the content exactly the same way it was inputted. Understanding is ideal for remembering concepts and processes. Understanding can be used alone, if there is a flexibility between the output and input. Understanding allows a learner to use his or her own words to express the same information. Understanding is permanent and can be retrieved from memory whenever it's required.

Tips for online learning

COVID-19 has placed most of us in uncharted territories, probably even worse for students who, having been accustomed to in-class learning, may find online learning difficult and frustrating. We compile here some tips that will help students going through self-learning, maximize the results and have fun while at it.

Create a plan

a. Make a road map of some sort. Compile the sources of knowledge you will use, such as videos, online lectures/presentations and textbook materials.

b. Remember to set time aside every day for planning and preparing, prior to the actual learning sessions. During this time, you will select the resources you will use. Ensure you have access to that textbook, or lecture presentation and others. This is necessary because online learning is like Netflix, you might spend more time deciding what to watch, and have no time to, actually, watch.

c. Be careful not to get overwhelmed with options. You should prioritize these sources so that you do not end up with too many options. Three different sources of materials tends to be optimum.

d. A monthly or weekly personal planner is beneficial. Especially accompanied with reminders set the day before the activities. Reminders help you put your mind in the right psych, maybe also collect the various resources beforehand. For example, if you intend to learn a particular topic, on a particular day, it will be best to identify the videos you will prior to the actual day.

e. Create due dates for yourself, and timelines when you intend to have achieved specific milestones. For example indicate when you need to have completed and understood a certain topic to the extent that you are ready to successfully complete a test or assignments in that topic.

Stay up-to-date as much as you can.

a. Do not wait until the last minute to review recordings of online classes that you didn’t attend. Attend online classes live as they take place. Avoid the temptation to do most of the work just before the examinations. Especially because under an online learning approach, you can never be very sure of the scope of information that needs to be covered, as compared to notes written in a book where you can count the pages you need to revise.

b. Maintain a regular school-like schedule. This will help you stay on track. This is important because you will soon realize that the amount of content covered is not less, just because it is delivered online.

c. Take notes in your traditional way, as you would in an in-class session.

The school at home

a. Set up the learning area, the smart zone, creativity corner, or whatever you call it. Choose an area, be it in your room or a more designated area and set up a comfort zone that is calm and allows you to focus, yet not necessarily too formal that it might limit creativity. Ensure it is comfortable, a comfortable chair and table. If you are one of those that like to crisscross your legs, then ensure your chair is spacious enough. If you like to raise one leg then ensure there is a platform for doing that. Do everything to achieve your most comfortable postures.

Ask for help

a. Stay in touch with your friends. When you talk to your school friends, try to understand what challenges others are facing, which topics they find more difficult, try to use your cohort as a way to gauge how well you are doing. In addition, of course, ask for help. Whether it is from your peers or from professionals such as teachers, tutors, instructors, professors, even your parents. Talk freely about your experiences, be open to ideas and know that you are always going to learn something new.

Set aside time for rest, and fun

a. It is understandable that some of the fun activities you like to do may not be possible if you are either locked indoors, or with limited access to the outdoors. Still, identify activities that you can do to relax. Board games, movies, novels, walks at the park, jogging, walk the dog, music even a nap. Only make sure that you have set aside time for these activities.

Hopefully these ideas will motivate you to adapt and be successful in your school work. All the best and stay safe.