Good Engineering Student Study Habits

One of the lessons any Engineering student learns is that no matter how smart you think you are, there will always be one or more classes that will force you to work hard. For most, that means most classes. Here are some lessons I've learned. They are common-sense, but not commonly followed.

  1. Take Notes! Hearing, writing and seeing new concepts and information is crucial to learning. Pay attention, interact with the instructor, and take copious notes.
  2. Review. Review class notes every day some time after class. Every day you go to 3 or more technical classes learning things that you probably never imagined existed before. When you learn things in class, they are in your short-term memory, but with so much information to cram into your brain, much is easily lost without further review. A good practice is to create time slots for each class you attended each day and review your notes for that class. You'll find places where you didn't finish out a sentence or equation. Fill in these blanks while the information is still fresh in your mind. Professors are notoriously bad at writing their explanation on the board. Write in your own explanations into your notes. My notes are usually filled with lots of equations, plots and diagrams, but little explaining them. When you make the mistake (like I have) of waiting until the night before your exams to start studying and reviewing your notes, they will be illegible and not as useful.
  3. Study Groups. Study groups can be both hazardous or extremely helpful. The key is to find people to study with that are willing to work hard. Many people are lazy and only come to study groups because they want to copy homework assignments or have others explain to them information they never cared to learn during class. Find hard-working, motivated individuals. It is a bit selfish to say it, but find people who are your peers or smarter than you. They will keep you pushing yourself to new intellectual limits.
Time for me to get back to studying for my finals, but I'll work on this list and expand it as necessary.

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