9 Study Tips for Engineers

Summarized by 1% Engineer, Destiny Aghabueze Ayo

There is a lot of useless study tips on the internet, some are super basic, boring and not helpful, like don't procrastinate and study with friends. But I wanted to make this blog post to give you some more advanced techniques so you can get good grades in your challenging engineering courses.

1. Prepare for class

Set yourself up for classroom success. Preparing yourself for lecture is very important. This way you're not scrambling to pay attention in class. You're not actually seeing things for the first time. Look into the material the night before or days before you reviewed it, familiarize yourself with it. So, you're not just scrambling and playing catch-up in the classroom you're ready. For those first questions and to apply your knowledge and it just helps you lock in the information. Those equations or formulas, whatever you are learning in class they will be remembered so much better because you've seen it before.

2. Take good notes

Make sure you take good notes and I'm going to give you a specific tactic so that you can do this. Check out the Cornell method. This note-taking technique divides your paper into three sections. The rightmost section is where you take all your notes, the leftmost column is where you do keyword summaries and little questions. For example, you would talk about a keyword like a technique or Newton's second law. Then you would have all the equations on the right side and then at the bottom of the page. This is your third section. You will summarize that page of notes and this gives you so many advantages when it comes to studying or doing your homework because you can glance at the left column or down at your summaries and then you can use the core section of your notes to call on the equations or look at the formulas.

3. Form good habits

I recommend you read Charles Duhigg's book, called "The power of habit". He is an expert on habit. In his book Duhigg talks all about the three-pronged habit forming cycle and what that is, is that you have a response, then you have a reward and a habit is grounded by these two pillars. Then the third one is the reward. This is super-duper important if you're actually rewarding yourself every time you accomplish something great like finishing a homework assignment on time or studying for an exam on time. You need to make sure that you're rewarding yourself properly instead of doing the wrong execution and then rewarding yourself improperly. Investigate some of the reasons in this book and you'll find that you can form a very very strong study habit that you can deploy in your life.

4. Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a good way to make sure that you're not burning yourself. That you're not overcommitting and making yourself turn to procrastination. Instead, deploy a technique like the Pomodoro method and what that is, is you chunk your time up such that you focus on something for 25 minutes with no distractions, then you take a five-minute break and this falls right after the habit suggestion because that 5 minute break is the reward for committing yourself to a 25 minute study period. Then you do it 4 times in a row that's 2 hours of studying or 2 hours of homework before you then reward yourself even further with a 15 to 20 minute break. While you're in the Pomodoro method what you need to do is write down any distractions that come into mind instead of looking at your phone or googling something.

5. Study in groups

Study with a group even if it's just one other person. It is very very key to success because sometimes you will not get that homework assignment. Sometimes you will be caught up on an exam studying portion. Having someone else there to support you or even for you to instruct them or for you to teach while you are studying is very very important because in order for you to teach something you have to understand it so thoroughly, helps you understand something even deeper. I highly encourage you to work with people who are at the same student caliber as you. I always encourage 1% percent nation to find little study groups 2, 3, 4 people max.

6. Spaced repetition

Studies have shown that if you introduce yourself to a topic. Wait a little bit, introduce yourself again, wait a little bit, introduce yourself again. You can deploy fewer hours to your study commitment versus binge studying and trying to compact it all to three days before an exam. You will invest less time if you space it out. Studies have shown that you can invest significantly less time if you start studying for an exam a week to three weeks ahead of time and study for just one hour and then wait three or four days and then study for two hours and then wait three or four days and then study for two hours again.

7. Diffused versus focus thinking

One thing to keep in mind is the power of diffused versus focused thinking and there's a reason why I put this right after the space repetition method because when we are concentrating with full force, we're studying or trying to learn with focused attention. You need to give yourself breaks and allow yourself to sleep on things and allow yourself to think about stuff passively, while you're in the shower, you're going over certain equations and certain problems, very casually and you're trying and remember things but you're not actually fully focusing on these things. This way you're allowing your focus attention and you diffuse attention to come together and lock in those memories.

8. destroy procrastination

Procrastination is the kryptonite of all students. You have to break down your study tasks into the smallest microscopic details so that you can create a chain reaction of wins and get a good grade on your exams. What you need to do is break that down to very very small manageable goals. You say I'm going to study for each class 3 hours a week which means you're going to have to deploy about 45 hours of studying per week in total. Assuming you have a 15-semester credit load. What you need to do is go into your calendar and block in study times and actually plan those out so that you stick to the plan. So, that you break it down into these little tiny microscopic tasks and then they build up to those good grades at the end of the semester. If you make these things too challenging for yourself and say you want to study for 8 hours on Saturdays and Sundays those could be unmanageable tasks. You could have a tendency to procrastinate if the goals you set for yourself are too hard. You should go to a library or to a coffee shop with soft music or something and remove distractions so that you can kill it during your study time.

9. Corson in method

If you guys get stuck on something while you're studying for that exam then what you need to do is make sure that you dive into it enough such that you write down all of the steps and you get to that stopping point or that frustration point where you can't go any further and when you do actually go ask for help you can say "OK I did this and I tried that and then I got to here and this is the part that I don't understand". What you're showing your professor or your TA is that you have been ambitious enough to try it and you did deploy what you learned in class but you got stuck here and it shows that you tried. It also helps them help you because they know the exact source of the confusion. They know the exact source of frustration. You need to try it yourself first and then ask if you get stuck.