Advice for Students: How Does One Learn to Learn?

“They know enough who know how to learn”- Henry Brooks Adams (American journalist and author)

Rightly so, those who know the secret to learn can master pretty much everything. To do so one must begin with self reflection. Knowing yourself can help a great deal in charting out a process to enhance your learning capabilities.

Without delving into the reasons and benefits of learning which are quite obvious let us come straightaway to the point of this article, i.e., how to learn? Here is a list of practical steps that any individual can follow: –

  1. Self reflection- As mentioned in the beginning, the first step always has to be an assessment of the self. To become a perfect learner or at least try and become one you must first know where you stand. Grade yourself as a learner on a scale of 1-10 objectively. If you find that too difficult ask someone else, maybe a teacher, to do it for you.
  2. Measure your strengths- The second step would be to figure out areas that come to you naturally, i.e., places where you learn with interest. This will help you analyze your strategy which is the next point.
  3. Analyze your strategy- Once you know what you are good at, go over how you learn that subject, be it anything from mathematics to golf. There must be a procedure that you follow when you learn stuff you enjoy. Think carefully and the method you follow might even be the reason for your merit in those fields.
  4. Application- Modify your learning formula to suit the need of the subject you find difficult to cope with. This is a little tricky as surely dance methods can’t be applied to science! But think about is, how do you learn your dance steps? You look (i.e. read), Imagine how you will look doing it (i.e. process it in your brain and link it with yourself), practice (write) and remember. There, your perfect performance is ready and so is your science test.
  5. Testing- now that you have formulated your learning method use it everywhere and as frequently as possible. The more you do so the better you will get at learning and more importantly it will develop into a habit thus becoming effortless.
  6. Detect problems- Most people don’t make a conscious effort to understand that the reason behind their struggle to learn might be problems in certain areas of their study and blame their own incapability. Clearing confusions are a very important requirement of learning.
  7. Set targets- Have achievable expectations from yourself. Aiming too high will only disappoint you and discourage further learning while setting the bar too low will lead to over confidence that will again restrict your growth.
  8. Tried and tested- Hard work and diligence never fail. If you can study smart, well and good, if you can’t, do it the hard way. The easiest way to learn is to try tirelessly. It might require a lot of patience and be time consuming but it works when all else fails.

Pratyasha Ghosh

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