The obvious tips to learning which are often forgotten.


There are several points that help with learning in practical terms and very often they are so obvious that no-one thinks to mention them.  So they are overlooked but in practical terms they really help!

Ask Questions

One problem that comes up quite regularly is the reluctance of students to ask questions.  Sometimes a teacher will assume that because they have ‘explained’ a point in language they understand, everyone understands.  Sadly, that is not always true – a technical term used for the first time in an explanation may be completely incomprehensible to a worried student. That single word can work like a treetrunk blocking a river, nothing gets past and the river of knowledge is blocked.  As a result, you do not understand a topic. It is not you being stupid – simply that you did not understand that word. Therefore, when a word is used that you do not understand – ask what it means. It may make all the difference.

It is also an interesting fact that when that happens, approximately 50% of a class are in the same position, so the person who asks the question is brave and working for the good of the whole class  – so ask that question!

Take Notes

There is a very real memory connection which exists in our minds. It operates in the following way:

  • We hear or see something (Aural or Visual)
  • We write a note about or draw a picture/diagram in response. (Linguistic or visual)
  • It imprints itself on our memory (Brain)
  • We can recall it.

If we take brief notes or make quick sketches whist listening to a teacher, working with a textbook, are involved in a discussion with our peers, it helps imprint facts and ideas on our minds.  The notes made during a lecture or class can then be checked through at a later stage and the gaps and omissions filled in.

Go Through your Notes

Notes, whether yours, copied from the board, printed or dictated, need to be checked through, because there will be points in them where we have assumed we understand but in fact have no idea. Do it very soon after you have made or been given them, because then you will see where the gaps in your knowledge are and you can get them filled in.  A good rule to follow is if it does not make sense to you – Ask someone!

Remember, the knowledge in those notes may not be needed until maybe six months after they have been made, if you check them, more or less immediately, you are likely to find the mistakes and be able to put them right.  That way you will not make mistakes in the exams.