|05-28-2010, 09:27 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
How I Actually LEARNED My Latest Courses
And so I'm back. I learn a lot in these little hiatuses from the boards. Kind of like going on a hunt and bringing back the spoils to share with the tribe.
I'd like to share my latest experiences, this time in a couple of courses I've been working on. Recently, I changed my study methods and have found a massive difference in my knowledge. I've actually learned the material as oppose to memorizing things for the exam!
I'll tell you how I didn't do it. I did not spend tremendous hours on it, I did not reread my material over and over, I did not use flashcards to remember definitions.
Without further ado, here's how I did it...
Currently my courses are Arboriculture (taking care of trees) and Soils of Horticulture. Both exams are coming up and I've never felt more confident. I started out the courses on similar terms as always. I read the material, answered the study questions and wondered how I was going to remember everything. Then I made a switch in my thinking. I decided that instead of memorizing facts, I would learn concepts. Wow, what a relief! Suddenly thousands of facts became a handful of concepts! Focusing on a concept/process allowed me to view the facts in context. Much more effective than the way I was "learning" before.
To assist me in learning the concepts, I went back through the entire courses and made notes. I then rewrote those notes and voice recorded them into the computer. Both of my courses have been condensed into a single hour of lecture. Burnt them on a CD and listen to them in the truck or on the iPod.
In Arboriculture, we are expected to learn a tremendous amount of plants (close to 100). You have to be able to ID them based on a sample, a brief description and a picture. I'll give an example of how I did this very, very quickly. See if you can apply it to your situation!
Woody landscape plants (in my area) fall into three categories: tree,vine,and shrub. That was my first division. Secondly, I looked at the leaf arrangement (opposite or alternate). Once again, I had a division. My work was getting easier and easier! So lets look at vines. I'm down to four plants. One has opposite leaves so that's obvious. The other three are alternate. So I made a few phrases: when you walk past a Creeper, it tries to steal your wallet (palmate plant, five leaves). Grape points the way (3-lobed, ends in a point). Bittersweet is all alone (process of elimination).
Next was shrubs. One again, the leaf arrangement can be opposite or alternate. Here's my story for opposite shrubs. You don't have to use the plants real name, just something that sounds similar. I tried to add in a characteristic where I could. See how this could apply to your studies:
The thorny buffalo (Silver Buffaloberry) went to visit the puny elder (Elders, pinnately compound leaves). "For Sythera" (Forsythera) he said, as he handed the animal the honey trumpet (Honeysuckle, trumpet-shaped flowers). Suddenly a hydra appeared, firing balls of flowers (Hydrangea, ball-like flowers). The flowers transformed into oranges and began mocking the two (Mockorange). The hydra then started to vibrate (Viburnum) and grew three heads (Viburnum here have three lobed leaves).
I'll throw the alternate shrubs in there too:
The current swept the yellow bell away (Currant, yellow bell flowers). The hawk swooped down and came up with three flowers (Snowbird Hawthorne, 3 lobed leaves). Nine barks carried through the reddish sky (Ninebarks, reddish-brown twigs). A thorny, long-tipped pear (Pear, thorny branches, long tipped foliage) fell into the cup, where it was poked by a pin (Pincherry, cupped leaves). "Potent", it said, "compounded (Potentilla, compound foliage) by that toothy prince"(Prinsepia, toothy foliage). The prince then zig-zagged away (zig-zag twigs on Prinsepia) and fell into the odd rosebushes (Rose... odd pinnately compound). One bush had purple berries and said it was from Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, purple poms). Suddenly, the prince was at the horned ocean (Seabuckthorn, thorny). The prince used an umbrella to shield himself from the spiralling raindrops (Spirea, umbral flowers). He brushed up against a smooth twig and got poison sumac (Sumac, smooth hairless twigs).
Curiously, the less sense the story makes, the easier it is to remember. Give it a shot, works wonders. I can recite either of these stories and write down the names/characteristics with ease.
Let me know what you guys think of my tips!
|05-30-2010, 02:57 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
I was writing my Arboriculture exam for the first time yesterday and half my class was rewriting. One rewriter said, "I hope I don't fail again. Next chance is in November. By then I'll have forgotten 90% of this stuff".
I laughed to myself a bit when I heard this because it's exactly how I used to think. I realized how silly that actually is. If you spend 26 hours in a classroom, say 20 hours studying and $500 on the course, only to forget it all six months later, that's pretty sad. What was the point of taking the course in the first place?
Solution? Record those notes into MP3. I reviewed my entire course twice while driving to my exam. Doesn't get easier than that.
One more thing that made me grin on the exam... half way through the exam, one rewriter proudly exclaimed, "Well I'm f**ked!".
|05-31-2010, 01:26 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
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