This winter I’ve been teaching math with my dad (how lucky to get to try that!). In his teaching, he stresses the importance of reading. When we are young the majority of the math books are problems to solve. We learn that math is about solving problems. Later on, the textbooks change and become more and more text. This is when more people start having a problem with math. By only trying to solve the problems, first of all, the majority of the book is skipped (ever read one-third of a history book and expected to do well?). Secondly, it’s as hard as trying to read the text in a foreign language without learning the words first. Intuition can help to understand things, but there is no intuition for knowing that a right angle is 90° or that a rectangle has four right angles or what absolute value is. It’s just a concept to learn and memorize. I was teaching 12-year-old girl math and asked her what she did if she didn’t know or remember some math concept. She was not sure. Then I asked her what she did if she didn’t know some word in English. The answer was easy, look it up and repeat it 100 times!
“Look it up and repeat it 100 times!”
Being on the other side of the table, now teaching, has made me think a lot about how to study. I already wrote one article before about studying (Studying vs studying) so I had given this some thought but this time I am focusing more on math and the overall studying process, step by step. I gave a lecture about it to our students and they were happy about having this discussion. It also helped later on when I could remind them of this tip or that tool that would help them in some situations. Here is the summary of my thoughts:
I decided to divide the studying process into
READ -> UNDERSTAND -> REMEMBER -> USE
These steps don’t happen completely linearly, they mix but what is sure is that you have to start by reading(or hearing) the material and the main goal is to be able to use it. For each step, I will give a few points and thoughts on how to make it easier and more effective.
Being a student in computer science or related field makes it ideal to have your own website to host your CV. I just did so a few months ago and must say it’s also a lot of fun to design a website where the main subject is… yourself!
To make it an easier setup for others I wanted to share my process.
Get a domain
This is something you can do far in advance. Just make sure that perfect domain is yours. This is surprisingly addicting, there are still loads of domains I want to invest in. The website I used is https://www.namecheap.com/
In my studies, my fellow students or a Google search has introduced me to many handy websites and online tools. There are some that all computer science students know like Stack Overflow, Google Drive and GitHub and then there are others that not everyone has had the pleasure of trying out. Here is a list to go through and add to the bookmark bar if any are missing.
Tool for making diagrams fast with premade examples.
Possibly no need to introduce. Makes it easy to create and share Kanban style boards.
You can read Þórhildur’s blog about Trello here.
Apparently, it’s not enough to just study, you also should learn how to study. I was lucky enough to get advice from teachers at an early age. Despite that, I’m still adapting my techniques because not only does it differ what works between people but I also don’t always prefer the same things.
How I study if affected by many factors including (but not bound to)