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  1. #1
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Question How do you study?

    Hi there forumites! I'm getting ready to enroll in college the second time around, and I've been trying to compile some information about how to succeed in school. In high school I hardly ever had to study, which is the reason I didn't do very well in college the first time around; it was a drastic change for me. This time I've finally decided on what I believe is the proper major, as well as being more motivated to succeed. However, I'm really not sure how to study, or manage my time. I'd like advice from anyone who can offer it, and particularly suggestions for an INFP.

    I have a problem staying motivated, and keeping up with a schedule. Any resources would be greatly appreciated!
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by raine_lynn View Post
    Hi there forumites! I'm getting ready to enroll in college the second time around, and I've been trying to compile some information about how to succeed in school. In high school I hardly ever had to study, which is the reason I didn't do very well in college the first time around; it was a drastic change for me. This time I've finally decided on what I believe is the proper major, as well as being more motivated to succeed. However, I'm really not sure how to study, or manage my time. I'd like advice from anyone who can offer it, and particularly suggestions for an INFP.

    I have a problem staying motivated, and keeping up with a schedule. Any resources would be greatly appreciated!
    As an INFP, the things that hinder me from proper work/study habits are:

    Inferior Te: Makes every new assignment look insurmountable, making me tend to procrastinate.

    Auxiliary Ne: This is an open-ended, churning, brainstorming function. It dislikes coming to closure. So when I do finally get involved in a project, I tend to work on the project too long, try to be perfectionist about it, and end up mismanaging my time. I don’t observe deadlines, I burn out on long projects and leave them half-finished, etc.

    How to handle these problems: Use Te properly.

    Perhaps the most important trick I’ve learned is to break tasks into 20- or 30-minute chunks. I’ll work on two or three projects at the same time, doing 20 minutes on one and then stopping and doing 20 minutes on the next. It results in kind of an ADHD feeling of skipping around too quickly; my Ne wants to dig in and linger on a task till it’s done.

    But Te isn’t just about planning and organization; it’s also about knowing when to stop. Skipping around among multiple tasks keeps me fresh on each task; and breaking down large projects into such bite-sized tasks makes them easier to pick up and resume.

    If a project look particularly daunting or lingers on my to-do list too long, I break it down into even smaller segments, as short as 5 minutes.

    For example, on the same day that I get assigned a monster project, I take 5 minutes to simply gather the books and resources that I’ll need and put them in a single pile. Later that same day I’ll take another 5 minutes and crack open the books and identify what sections I’ll probably need. Later that same day, I’ll take another 5 minutes and sketch a few preliminary notes about how I want the final product to look (this is the start of an eventual outline). And so on.

    The idea here is to start early and take a few tiny bites out of the big project. Even if I don’t make much actual progress, the project will be percolating in the back of my mind during the breaks. Ideas will start popping up, I’ll jot down more notes, and pretty soon the logjam breaks: I can see how the whole project will come together. Then I can start working on the project in 20-minute chunks as usual.

    Anyway, that’s the single biggest trick I learned as an INFP for staying productive and plowing through lots of work in a “slow but steady” fashion.

  3. #3
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Perhaps the most important trick I’ve learned is to break tasks into 20- or 30-minute chunks. I’ll work on two or three projects at the same time, doing 20 minutes on one and then stopping and doing 20 minutes on the next. It results in kind of an ADHD feeling of skipping around too quickly; my Ne wants to dig in and linger on a task till it’s done.

    The idea here is to start early and take a few tiny bites out of the big project. Even if I don’t make much actual progress, the project will be percolating in the back of my mind during the breaks. Ideas will start popping up, I’ll jot down more notes, and pretty soon the logjam breaks: I can see how the whole project will come together. Then I can start working on the project in 20-minute chunks as usual.
    This is great advice. In fact, it's how I approach projects as well, though I tend to work in much bigger chunks of hours at a time. For a term project, though, even that will just put a dent in it.

    Raine: may I ask, how long were you in college the first time, what did you study, what do you feel were your main difficulties, and what are you studying now? Also, what have you been doing with yourself since leaving college the first time, and what now motivates you to return? (Feel free to PM if you prefer.)

    I have found that different subjects/courses take different methods of studying, further modified of course for different people.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  4. #4
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Raine: may I ask, how long were you in college the first time, what did you study, what do you feel were your main difficulties, and what are you studying now? Also, what have you been doing with yourself since leaving college the first time, and what now motivates you to return? (Feel free to PM if you prefer.)

    I have found that different subjects/courses take different methods of studying, further modified of course for different people.
    I was in college for only a year the first time, and I was a music major, vocal performance. As much as I love music, the environment is toxic and very anti-intellectual. If you weren't only focused on music then essentially your life was meaningless, according to my peers. After dropping out, I've been just working at odd jobs (I now work as a phone operator for a medical answering service) and doing a bit of volunteer work. My second semester in college I took a sociology class and fell in love with it. It was a way for me to articulate the way I see the world, and a whole field at that! I will be a sociology major, and I hope to go to grad school and end up either in research/academia, or potentially becoming a social worker. I am motivated by the fact that I truly enjoy my chosen major (I was somewhat pushed into music) and the fact that it will satisfy my intellectual needs. I also really want to help people, and feel as though I could make a difference, and to do so, I need an education.
    4w5-1w2-5w4 -- RLUAI -- Chaotic Good/Neutral

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  5. #5
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raine_lynn View Post
    Hi there forumites! I'm getting ready to enroll in college the second time around, and I've been trying to compile some information about how to succeed in school. In high school I hardly ever had to study, which is the reason I didn't do very well in college the first time around; it was a drastic change for me. This time I've finally decided on what I believe is the proper major, as well as being more motivated to succeed. However, I'm really not sure how to study, or manage my time. I'd like advice from anyone who can offer it, and particularly suggestions for an INFP.

    I have a problem staying motivated, and keeping up with a schedule. Any resources would be greatly appreciated!
    i don't know how to study outside class really,
    i'm very much a kinesthetic learner, and at
    most outside class i will do reading, and will
    have to do an outline of it to really understand,
    because i have incredibly bad reading comprehension.

    and i pay attention in class--i take cornell style
    notes. margins are my best friend in school.
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

  6. #6
    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    Everyone's study habits will be different. But here's some advice that I've found works, no matter what your preference.

    Take notes in your own voice. Don't write down what the professor says verbatim. Put your pen down and listen. Make sure you can rephrase the material in your own words. Get comfortable with shorthand - this was tough for me. I used to require a perfect-looking page of notes. Now, I don't care; everything is a tool to help me understand material.

    If/when you get study guides, don't use the book. Tackle the answers first, using your knowledge. Try and write down as much as you know. Knowing this material - actually knowing it, not just regurgitating it - will be reflected in your grades.


    I... suppose. Yeah!

  7. #7
    Senior Member The Great One's Avatar
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    I do the problems in the book a lot. I find making slideshows with pictures to represent the subjects that I am trying to learn is very helpful. Also, I am talking online math classes and those seem to work well, because they break down the steps for me so I can see how to solve the problem.. I hate doing paper and pencil math though.

  8. #8
    defying your expectations SoraMayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Perhaps the most important trick I’ve learned is to break tasks into 20- or 30-minute chunks. I’ll work on two or three projects at the same time, doing 20 minutes on one and then stopping and doing 20 minutes on the next. It results in kind of an ADHD feeling of skipping around too quickly; my Ne wants to dig in and linger on a task till it’s done.
    So, something similar to the pomodoro technique? I've never played with this but I've heard it can be quite useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmhmm View Post
    and i pay attention in class--i take cornell style
    notes. margins are my best friend in school.
    I use the Cornell style while taking notes, so I'm already good there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rajah View Post
    Take notes in your own voice. Don't write down what the professor says verbatim. Put your pen down and listen. Make sure you can rephrase the material in your own words. Get comfortable with shorthand - this was tough for me. I used to require a perfect-looking page of notes. Now, I don't care; everything is a tool to help me understand material.

    If/when you get study guides, don't use the book. Tackle the answers first, using your knowledge. Try and write down as much as you know. Knowing this material - actually knowing it, not just regurgitating it - will be reflected in your grades.
    Thanks! I mostly relied on this during high school, where I already knew the information, or learned in via the in-class lectures.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great One View Post
    I do the problems in the book a lot. I find making slideshows with pictures to represent the subjects that I am trying to learn is very helpful. Also, I am talking online math classes and those seem to work well, because they break down the steps for me so I can see how to solve the problem.. I hate doing paper and pencil math though.
    I would hate to take a math class online, without being able to discuss the problem with someone directly! My preferred learning style is by reading, with audio as a close backup. I can agree on hating math with pencil and paper, though!
    4w5-1w2-5w4 -- RLUAI -- Chaotic Good/Neutral

    Johari -- Nohari

    Ask me about my crippling social dysfunction!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by raine_lynn View Post
    So, something similar to the pomodoro technique? I've never played with this but I've heard it can be quite useful.
    I had to look that up. But yeah, based on what I see on the front page, Pomodoro seems about the same procedure. Pomodoro is all about time management; it even sets the work interval at the same length that I mentioned.

    As Coriolis mentioned above (“...though I tend to work in much bigger chunks of hours at a time”), over time the basic work interval will probably end up being much longer. Eventually the work itself will suggest where to take breaks.

    But if you have had problems in the past with bad time management and/or procrastination, then I would recommend shorter intervals at first (20-30 minutes), and work on establishing a pick-it-up-and-put-it-down rhythm. The more daunting the task, the shorter the work interval. The idea is to favor Te methodicalness over Ne inspiration, for the reasons I mentioned in my first post. And then use the breaks to do some busywork on another project, get some distance from the main task, and let fresh ideas percolate up.

    [Edit:] BTW, I also use this method for projects around the house like repairing stuff, doing taxes, etc.. It's not just for bookwork. You can give the method a test run right away rather than waiting for the first day of college: Break out some projects at home that you have been procrastinating on and give it a try.

  10. #10
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    As Coriolis mentioned above (“...though I tend to work in much bigger chunks of hours at a time”), over time the basic work interval will probably end up being much longer. Eventually the work itself will suggest where to take breaks.

    But if you have had problems in the past with bad time management and/or procrastination, then I would recommend shorter intervals at first (20-30 minutes), and work on establishing a pick-it-up-and-put-it-down rhythm. The more daunting the task, the shorter the work interval. The idea is to favor Te methodicalness over Ne inspiration, for the reasons I mentioned in my first post. And then use the breaks to do some busywork on another project, get some distance from the main task, and let fresh ideas percolate up.
    Yes, the work itself will suggest its own timing, in combination with your own personal inclinations. You might readily focus for hours at a time on a class or project you enjoy, while you might have to force yourself through a class you dislike using every organizational trick in your repertoire. Use Te to manage Ne, as I would use it to manage Ni. That is, allot a specific amount of time for brainstorming and open-ended consideration of ideas, and bring it to some conclusion at the end of that time, even if that conclusion is a list of questions you need to answer before proceeding.

    I'm not sure what kinds of assignments and exams you will have in sociology. I suspect it will be much different from math and science, which focuses on weekly problem sets, probably involving lots of reading and an occasional term paper or project. The only advice I can offer on this is:

    1. Keep up with the reading. It is easy to get behind, and then you will have a ton to review at exam time.

    2. Find a study group. You can encourage and help keep each other on track, compare notes on things you don't understand, work together on projects if allowed, etc.

    3. Find out what the instructor and the course requirements are like from students who have taken the course previously. While learning the information is the main goal, getting a decent grade is necessary as well, and having some idea what to expect on exams, etc. can help in how you prepare.

    4. As several people have already said, organize your work, prioritize your deadlines, and break large tasks down into smaller ones which you complete on a schedule.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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