“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”Aristotle
Are you the kind of Sailor that uses Flash Cards religiously? Or maybe the kind that clicked CTRL+P on 1,254 pages of your bibliography only to Scan and Highlight the useful bits with the intent to revisit them later? There’s a possibility you are both, or neither, and that’s what we’d like to point out today. Every person has one or more study methods that work for them. The trick is to find which ones are the most effective.
To get us started, I’d like you to think to yourself, “Self, how do I usually study for an exam..?” And in that frame mind, mentally check the box next to the following study methods that apply to you. Ready? (The motivators are thinking, “Allllllways READY!!”…)
Pro: Simple, easy to use, and portable.
Con: Begin to rely too much on word association and you better pray the words you associated are the EXACT ones used on the exam.
*Tip: Take them EVERYWHERE. In line for chow? Study. Waiting at medical? Study. And be honest with yourself when answering.
Read and Remember
Pro: Develop a deeper understanding of the information. You understand context as well as content.
Con: Sooooooooooo boring, and time consuming. If this isn’t you, stay away.
*Tip: I once calculated it out. To read the entire HM Manual, it would take 50 hours of reading. Grab some coffee.
Scan and Highlight
Pro: Quicker than those guys (pointing to Read and Remember), removes the “fluff”.
Con: Sometimes that “fluff” is found on the exam. Also still a bit time consuming.
*Tip: Combine this with another type to revisit the highlights more rapidly, like Flash Cards.
OJT – On the Job Training
Pro: For the hands-on types, you will remember it experientially. (link to experiential learning)
Con: Have you ever seen something in an instruction and thought “Well that’s not how we do it in the Fleet.”
*Tip: Ensure the one doing the OJT teaches by the book. The book used to create questions for your exam.
Pro: Easy. Plug your headphones in and go about your life.
Con: It’s been proven that (link to sleeping/listening) does not work.
*Tip: If you’re going to listen to it while say, running or driving, you have to pay at least SOME attention to the material.
Pro: Can cover lots of subject matter. Self evaluation. Same method you’ll be tested on.
Con: Do NOT create your own quizzes. The process to generate wrong answers is not worth the time, the opportunity to confuse your word association, or the likelihood that you’ll throw in too easy detractors.
*Tip: Try Bluejacketeer and steer clear of Quizlet. There are just too many variables with unreliable content.
Pro: Can usually be done during working hours. You can clarify points with an SME.
Con: Same with OJT, you better pray they’re teaching you by the book.
*Tip: Have the material with you to cross-reference. Also, a great place to meet people that will also put the time into studying.
Pro: Your study squad will keep you accountable. (Jim Rohn quote: Average 5 people..)
Con: You probably remember a time in school when group projects failed because only one person wanted to do the work?
*Tip: Find other Sailors with particular interest in the Topics of your bibliography that you are weakest on.
One concept that permeates nearly every facet of today’s society is efficiency. Being able to accomplish the same task in less time allows for more time to either study or enjoy some leisure activity. Take some time to consider what Types of Study work for you. Combine types to maximize your efficiency as well as memory retention. And remember, at times we pay for the luxury of efficiency. Consider this, a small investment to improve your study process may result in an extra $184 (E4->E5 Base Pay) every month. So try out Bluejacketeer if only just to improve chances at PNA Points.