Study Tips Pt.2

Note Taking


Have you ever had times when your teacher and your parents asked you to take notes in class because they think it will help you to study better? Well I have. At times I wondered- what it actually meant to take notes, How I would know which is important and which is not and so on.
From different people’s suggestions over the years I’ve developed my own way of taking notes.


A. Taking notes in class
Some teachers dictate notes and others expect students to write lecture notes. Either way it is good to write notes in class. So how do we do it?


1. Write down those words or phrases that the teacher repeats more than once.
These words are useful as you can use them in your answers, which could fetch you a little grace from the teacher. Also note down all that the  teacher writes on the  board.


2. Copy the diagrams that the teacher draws.
These diagrams will help you to remember what was taught in class.


3. Paraphrase what the teacher says in class.
If you try to write down every single word the teacher says then you might not understand what the teacher is teaching and at the end of the class you might end up with a bunch of sentences which you cannot understand. So try to write them in your own words.


4. Write down outlines that are given.
These outlines are important as it will help you to remember things more clearly and in an organized way.


B. Revising your notes
Rewriting these notes in a more organized and attractive way is important. After you reach your home or hostel  compare you notes with some reference books and rewrite it. Rewriting will help you to clear any mistakes that you have made. Some might say this is a waste of time, but it’s a kind of revision session. While you rewrite the notes be creative: draw diagrams, use different ink pens, use post-its, and so on. All this will help you to remember the notes when you read them at a later time.


1. Make your notes more organized.
Organizing your notes is useful as it will help you to understand it even after few days.  While you were in class you would have just written down everything you felt that was important. You would not have had enough time to think and write the notes, so it is in a way a mess. Rewriting the notes brings clarity.


2. Compare with your textbook.
It is possible that you would have made a spelling mistake or written a wrong definition or so other mistake, this is one of the reason why it is good to compare your notes from class with your textbook. The other reason is it will give you a more concrete understanding of the particular topic as the book will have some creative way of explaining it, which will help you to understand it better.

3. Use the Internet for more information.
While making notes of each topic you could refer to the internet which will give you a broad knowledge of the topic. Also this is useful because if you find it difficult to understand the reference books there are lots of websites that will has different ways of explaining a topic.


I hope this is helpful to you and will help you in your studies. 


Study Tips Pt.1

ENVIRONMENT

We all sat in class with eagerness and anxiousness building up inside of us. We were waiting for the teacher to walk in with the results from the previous test. When she walked in, the loud noise turned to whispers.

I felt pretty good as I did well on my test. As the teacher gave out our answer papers there were smiles that came on people’s faces and some heads went down. I was part of those whose head went down. After a few such happenings I started to wonder what went wrong and why it kept going wrong.  

A few things that we should take care of while studying is our environmentnote taking and study method.

In this post I’m going to talk about our studying environment.

1) Adjust the Lighting and Ventilation

These two factors give a sense of refreshment to our brain and helps us to think effectively.

2) Cool the Colours

Colours play a very big role in the active functioning of our brain. Studies show that colours like green or blue will keep you inspired and focused. Bright colours like yellow orange, etc can easily irritate you.

3) Organize the Room

This actually saves you a lot of time because you wouldn’t have to spend time finding the books you need for studying. Keeping your room organized will help to keep your mind alert.

 4) Cut the Disturbance

It’s good if you can study in an environment where there is not much disturbance (by disturbance I mean music, texting, etc.) because no matter how much you try, at some point our attention will switch to what is happening in your surroundings. And if the things around you is much more pleasing than the book in front of you, then you will have a hard time bringing your attention back.


What I Learned About Friends

Friendships can be great or blah! Embrace the good ones and let loose the other. Here are three things I learned about friendships.

1. Take your time

When you meet a person for the first time you put out your best, and this is what every single person does. When you meet a person for the first time try you best not to tag them as your “friends “, because all you know is the best part of them. In a few weeks you will get to know their real deal and you might end up finding that the person you called your “friend” is not the right company for you. So make sure you don’t tie your strings too tight, which will make it hard for you to let go of that person. After a couple of weeks when you see mostly every side of them and if that is the kind of friend you want to hang around with then I there is less chance of you ending up hating that person for a wrong that they did, because you are sure that they have a lot of good in them.

2. Don’t be an open book

You don’t have to give your whole background to a new acquaintance. You don’t know if they are a gossiper or a user. You might feel like you can trust that person but your instincts could be wrong. People say its always good to trust your instincts but there are times when you shouldn’t trust them. Its ok to look reserved.

When people are sharing about their struggles to you, if you have gone through the same situation don’t mention it, help them without having to tell your past.

3. Cut your boundaries

Friends are good and essential. But too much dependence could be toxic. You should hang out with friends. You should find a friend that you can trust that you can open up to. You should be available for your friends at all times, but don’t be dependent on them like you would be with your parents. If you have  to study for a test or if you have an assignment which is due and your friends are calling you to watch a movie with them or to talk with them, you should tell them in a polite manner that you care for them but you cannot be their 24*7 entertainer. People will get annoyed at your change in priorities but they will come around and understand.


4 Tips for Writing Exams

1) Avoid studying anything new on the morning of the exam

For this you would have to start studying way before exam time. If you are well prepared then you don’t have to go through a lot of stress. A little amount of stress is needed to keep you motivated, but also don’t don’t give into the stress. Also when you study study in a systematic method. Keep your own version of notes, because later on when you are browsing through it, it will be easier to understand.

2) Choose short and familiar first

If a choice is provided for the questions, choose the one which is most familiar and the short one (short one – if you are given an option for two questions, for one of those you might need 4 pages to complete the answer and for the other 2 pages. In this case chose the one where you can get the whole mark by writing less)

3) Time yourself

Before writing an answer you have to set a time limit and make sure you stick to it! Time your self in a way that at the end of the exam you will have some time to go through or read through you answers.

Eg: for a 5 mark question take 3 mins, 10 mark question take 7 mins and for 15 mark take 13 mins

4) Think before you write

Before you write an answer think what all you want to include in the answer. Its always good to answer directly to the question, but teachers do appreciate a bit of extra knowledge. Some might deny it, but it is true. Its good to have paragraphs and its good to highlight the most important words of the key words. If you are writing about a person’s theory or a summary of a story/poem its always good to have a brief introduction about the person. Make sure to write an introduction and conclusion.


Forget Being Fake

Have you noticed when others try to trick you by hiding their true self?  Or may be you have tried to fake others for acceptance.  What if someone already knows your true color  and behaves as if they are ignorant of that or be still accepting of you?

Jews in the first century considered tax collectors as their enemies.  They were known for their unfair practices. Levi was a tax collector, but still Jesus asked Levi to follow Him. While Jesus was dining at Levi’s house, people criticized him.

Jesus knew who Levi was and his practices.  And he knew that the community hated him, but still he told Levi to follow Him.  Knowing who Levi was why did Jesus dine with him?

The answer is in Jesus words, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  Or in other words the reason why Jesus came is to save the sinners.

We might try to put our best self forward with others, but we don’t have to fake it with Jesus. Actually there is no use trying to fake it,  Jesus knows us inside out! The good news is the same Jesus extends His invitation to us,  “Follow me.”


Exploring Loneliness!

Not everything goes smooth in our life. At times we wonder ‘Is God even alive?’. When I came to Bangalore for college, I was homesick. Most of the time when I sit down to study or to read a book or anything else, half way through I’ll realize that I am crying. This lasted for quite some time. When ever I shared it with my friends they used to say “Don’t worry, you will feel better in due time”.  And for me this ” due time” never seemed to come around.  I tried doing different thing to distract myself. But still when I came back to my room I would start crying. This went on for three weeks. When people prayed for me they said “This happens, God wants to build up something new in you, that is why you have trouble now”.

I did have good moments in those first three weeks. Like, three girls I met in college ended up buying me a cake for my birthday. I was surprised because I only knew them for 5 days and they bought a birthday cake for me. God continued giving me friends in college and in my dorm, but still the sadness that I felt when I entered my room seemed to be permanent.

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As time went by, I stopped crying, but I always had this empty place in me.  Few weeks ago, sitting in church I was asking God “Why lord? Why is this empty feeling still haunting me? Why can’t I be happy? Why do I feel alone all the time? Are you even there?”. These questions rushed in my mind and I couldn’t listen to the message. During alter call, I wanted to go up front but I couldn’t my legs felt heavy. And again I started questioning God. When I opened my eye I saw my aunt walking to me. She came close to me hugged me and asked “Do you feel alone? Like you are all alone with none around?” I couldn’t speak. I just nodded my head and started crying.  Finally after a long time I felt like someone understood how I felt. She prayed for quite some time and she said ” God knows how you feel. He is keeping this gap in your life to mould you and to make sure you never turn away from Him even if you have everything you need.” Suddenly everything started making sense for me. I felt so light at heart and I smiled wholeheartedly after a long time.

Most of the time in our life we feel the same way like we are alone and that there is no one who understand how you feel. But that’s not true. Jesus knows how you feel, he felt the same way when he was in this world his own people treated him badly. We even see that in Joseph’s life, his brothers betrayed him, he was sold to foreigners for money. God was with him through his life. Every where God took him he made sure that Joseph learned to trust God even more. Even when Joseph was tempted to do wrong, he didn’t because of his love for God.

So even if we feel alone we’re actually not alone. God is with us. He leads us through different situations to make sure that we learn to turn to God, and to keep our trust in him. I know it is hard to understand all this when we are going through hard times. And all we could do is to ask God to help us to understand and know that he knows how we feel and that he holding us in his arms.


Forgiving When You Don’t Feel Like it

“I want my money now” Chris demanded, choking one of his collegues. “Where’s my money? I want it now.” The collegue begged and asked him to be patient. But Chris kept demanding the money and finally got fed up and filed a case against him. At that time, Chris had forgotten that he was in the same position as his collegue was, a few days back when the boss was demanding money. And when Chris begged for mercy, his boss forgave his debt. When the boss heard about what Chris did, he was greatly disappointed.

Most of the time in our lives, we are like Chris. We forget how Jesus died for our sins and how God forgave us. Its easy to be judgemental about others when they act like Chris, but when we look into our life we’ll be able to see many more times we’ve been like Chris.

Some time back, I came to know that one of my friends was lying to me about some things. I was really hurt and whenever I saw her, anger used to build up in me because we were so close and I used to tell her everything in my life. I didn’t want to forgive her as I felt betrayed and used.

I attended a camp where a doctor came and shared about a particular instance in his life, in which he started seeing a flashback of all the wrong things he has done. And after this he heard a voice telling him “Son, inspite of all this I still love you.”

I sat there and broke into tears and this phrase kept sounding in my ears over and over. I could literally hear God saying to me “Sharon, I forgive you for all the things you’ve done wrong. I love you. And as much as I love you I love your friend and I’ve forgiven her too.” Even though it was hard for me to forgive her I was reminded of a verse which says “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). After this, I was able to forgive my friend.

Most of the time when we get hurt by others, we tend to hold them as a “hostage.” We usually get hurt when a close friend of ours lies to us or cheats us. But the difference we see in people is that some hold it to their hearts while some others don’t.

Its better to forgive them than to hold things against them.


Risky Decisions

  Daniel and the three friends took a very risky step. They decided to disobey the king while they were being trained to serve the king. When you disobey the king, most probably your fate is death. Daniel could have feared death and could have obeyed the king. But he chose to be faithful to God. Even though he disobeyed the king, he was obeying the King of kings.

Image Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon asked the chief of his court officials to select some of the Israelites who were from the royal family and the noble. They were to be young men without any physical defects, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, and other good traits. These men would serve the king in various duties. Daniel, Sadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were among those chosen. The King also gave some orders to teach them and to give them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. But Daniel and the others asked permission to the chief to give them vegetables and water, but the chief disagreed. God gave favor for them and they were tested for ten days. By the end of these ten days, these four were found to be better nourished and God gave them knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.

 At times, even though we know its wrong to do a certain thing, we do it. We may think God is a forgiving and loving God. So, its OK if I do this. He’ll forgive and we’ll be best buddies like before.

 No matter if its among your friends or family, wrong is always a wrong. And if you take a step for God in what you believe, He will surely be with you; just like how he made Daniel and the three ten times better than the others who ate choicest food, God will give you success. When you take a step in your life for God to obey him, at first people may make fun of you when they hear about it. But remember God will take several steps for you. It’s hard to do it by ourselves and the only person who is by our side 24 hours a day is God. So let’s ask his help to take certain risky decisions for him even if our lives are at risk.


ABILITY OVER INABILITY

  Nick Vujicic, the man with no hands and legs has been an inspiration to many. Look at his life. Isn’t it amazing how he does different things? He looks happy and he’s there to encourage people, but there might be some time in a day when he wishes he was like others. He can swim, when he looks at us we have hands and legs. Still we are independent in many aspects. We can run, walk freely and write with ease, but that’s not his case. He could have just sat home and have people do different things for him. He could let his inability to do many things rule over his abilities. But where is he in life? The best thing about him is that he does not allow his physical inability to stop him from doing many things we do. Besides, he travels to different places to encourage others.

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We are all made with weaknesses. I think we need it. But the problem with most of us is that we let that rule over us and we start to say “oh look at me, I can’t do that,” “I’m not good at this,” or “look at my friend, he is good at this.” As if that is not enough we have people around us to say similar words.

Most of the time when we get good at something, some people get jealous. If anything we does go wrong, they just step on us and trample us with their words. As humans we do value others’ words. So when we hear someone say something so cruel, it just pierces into our hearts like a real sharp sword. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-28, it says about the kind of people God uses. He uses the lowly, rejected, weak, and the foolish. Sometimes I think I’m glad God takes us through tough times. It helps me grow close to him and to love him more. I’m glad he didn’t make me a too good a person. Because I would have been like Lucifer. Sometimes its good to hear about our weaknesses from others. It may hurt at first, but we would be able to trust in God and ask for his help.


Destruction for Construction

Last year our dog Amigo got his vaccination shots. But before to that we had to tie him up. Those shots were painful for him. Even though he couldn’t say it, we knew it because he was howling and barking too much. After he got those shots he was limping while he walked, so he didn’t walk much. He might have thought “Why did these people do this to me? I didn’t hurt them. Don’t they love me? Don’t they care about me?” Well he sure doesn’t know why he got those shots or what those are for. We take care of him, so we know that he needs it to live a healthier life.

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This is kind of what happens in our case. When God sees something in us which is not working right, he gives us our “vaccination shots.” We don’t know why God is giving us these shots. But we know that whenever God leads us through something, he has a great plan for us. When we go through trials this concept is really hard to understand and to grasp.

The difference with what happened to our dog was that he could see us standing close to him during and after he got those shots, so it was easier for him to believe the concept that we still love him. But in our case we can’t see God standing next to us holding our hand through those tough times. This makes it hard for us to believe God loves us or that God is near us, which also makes it easier for us to question God and to complain or doubt about his love and care for us. Even though we don’t want to doubt it, it just happens as a normal process.

We can’t work alone and find a way through these trials. We need God to help us. If God sent us through these trials, I believe He is faithful enough to hold us through the whole time. There is no one in this world who never faced a trial, even Jesus did. This is a part of our life. We need to go through these trials to become the person God wants us to be. While we’re going through trials we might feel that everything around us is in such a great destruction. It may look like a destruction which can not be reconstructed. But know this, you are not the one who is going to reconstruct it, God is. And as we all know there is nothing impossible for God. Remember that all the destructions that happen to us is to construct us into a better person.

Photo by Sarah G