For some people, academic life means simply to be enrolled in a school and attend some classes. Studying, however, is something more; it is to learn about a wide range of knowledge through the exercise of one’s intellect, memory, and will power, as well as with the capacity to analyze, synthesize, and compare, etc. The dictionary explains that studying means to exercise reasoning in order to be able to achieve or understand something.
In order to study well and to carry out whatever job to term in a responsible manner, three things are necessary: capacity, motivation, and the knowhow to work or study.
Studying requires intelligence, as well as the rest of other human faculties. There is no doubt that intelligence is closely linked to academic success. Logically, in an environment of equal conditions, an “intelligent” student should be able to get better grades than his or her less intelligent classmates.
To want to study requires the wish to do so, as well as the determination to gain some knowledge. There are students that with an average level of intelligence manage to get good results due to having put just enough personal effort and for having dedicated just enough time to studying. Motivation and wanting to study are just as important as intelligence itself, if not more. Many students fail not due to their lack of intelligence, but due to not being interested in studying, having apathy, leaving the work until the last minute, in other words, due to the lack of motivation.
Knowing how to study is the third factor that can help in achieving a good academic performance. There are cases where the student may have just enough intelligence and dedicates just enough time to studying, however, the results are still poor and ends up failing. This may be due to the student’s bad study habits. This is where the gap between effort and performance is evident.
Other than these very important factors, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration, such as assimilating previously acquired knowledge, dedicating enough time to studying, and using adequate and effective tools, for example text books, dictionaries, and atlases, etc.
We can only do little to improve intelligence, but we can do more to improve motivation and especially study techniques. There are general techniques that have been proven by actual experience, as well as by the theoretical and experimental knowledge of pedagogy and psychology.
Concretely speaking, it has a lot to do with: reading, underlining, making summary tables and schemas, knowing how to take notes, knowing how to prepare exams, developing projects and other techniques such as making murals, theatrical reading and debates.
In order to achieve the objectives of the class, it is not enough just to know the techniques described above. In fact, it is important to implement them when it is convenient. Combining theory and practice will improve academic performance.
Arturo Ramo García
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