(C) LEARN BY YOURSELF -
LEARN BY YOURSELF - FREE and EASY - Just some
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- The method has 3 steps...
Teach Yourself - You have to anyway!
You may have attended college classes and discovered for
yourself the teacher usually does not know or care whether you
are alive or dead. This will not apply to young attractive
members of the opposite sex, of course, but when there are 30
to 100 in a class you need a seat in the front row and then
extra visits to the teacher's office to make your mark, which
are neither open nor attractive to all.
So, like the 99% of the class, you have to listen, take notes,
read and memorize the material and, in fact, teach yourself.
I've heard high school seniors say this does in fact start
well before college. From my own experience I can say this
goes double for university, unless you happen to be in a rare
class with very small numbers.
Teaching yourself then becomes the actual and only method
available to any student. Now, the method described next is in
addition to the normal study activities prescribed, thus
appears as extra work. You will find however, that using this
method will allow you to excel in your exams. And here's how
to do it, irrespective of your age or other achievements - you
do need to know how to read, however.
This method has three steps
o- Write out your
vocabulary in standard school notebooks as the words occur
during your normal studies. Be careful to write in columns,
usually two per page (the new word on the left; the meaning on
the right), so you can cover the material on one side to read
and learn by rote.
o- About once per week,
when you have 50 to 100 new words and their meanings noted,
read them into a recorder - your cell phone or laptop. State
each new word, then leave a gap of three to four seconds, then
read your written description or translation. If needed, say
the new word once again right after, as - "What is xxxx".
o- Play these
recordings, saying your answer out loud during the four-second
gap. Play them until you are sick of them. When you are sick
of them, you will know the words.
This works in a number of ways - (i) Writing out the words and
meanings or descriptions gives a physical and visual aide-memoire.
(ii) Reading your listed words is simple mnemonic studying
(iii) Reading the list into a recording device is
embarrassing, and, because you are embarrassed it helps your
memory. (iv) Playing back means listening to your own voice,
which normally causes more embarrassment and therefore more
You can use a $5 microphone (or none) and a program called Audacity*
on your laptop to clean up the recordings, and take care to
read slowly, as you are testing yourself during the playback.
These steps can result in studio-quality recordings - nothing
fancy or expensive is needed.
Most young adults today have not memorized their
multiplication tables, which is a serious drawback for any
kind of scientific endeavor. In simplistic terms, this is why
Indians (from India!) and Asians so often excel at American
jobs, as each and all have learned their multiplication tables
by heart at an early age. You can see the above system is
perfect for this kind of study.
Now, I can hear you over-40s baby boomers (whatever that
means) saying - But I am too old - older people cannot easily
memorize new things - (Gosh I wonder that the GOP politicians
can even find their way to their Senate seats ... and remember
which corporation paid the most that they are supposed to be
legislating on behalf of.) Well, perhaps there is some truth
here; but while this can be used as an excuse to fail to
learn, it is nothing that some further listening to your
recordings will not overcome.
As well, let's distinguish between plain vocabulary as for
another language and vocabulary as used in science, be it
medicine or engineering.
Plain Vocabulary - This is mostly in languages, where one
word usually translates to one other word, perhaps with a
gender, without longer description. It's just the
pronunciation that needs work, so the listener can give their
answer within the three to four second time-gap before the
spoken answer comes.
Scientific Terms - These can be more complex, often
requiring a short sentence to explain. The pause should be the
same as before, but the item should finish off with saying the
same word again, including the phrase - "What is" xxx.
Lastly, the lengths of the recordings are found to be good
between 20 and 30 minutes - longer, often means interruptions
before completion - shorter, means insufficient words are
covered in each session. Multiplication tables are up to you -
a refresher course could have six tables per session, for two
sessions; while a newbie might need a maximum of two per
When you name these files, you can use the world's simplest
system - that date. But Japanese-style, which is YY/MM/DD -
and for the year, we do NOT need the first "20", as we will
all surely be indifferent by the time 2100 comes around. So
your file name starts with 200315 being 2020, March, 15th (or
merely 2003) and then continues with your identifier. All such
files will line up in the right order, even if you make
changes to them later.
Those of you who like to use spreadsheets can of course write
up your vocabulary in that format, and create your recordings
from there. You'll experience a slight loss for the physical
and visual mnemonic, but perhaps the ease of handling will
make up for it.
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