Have you ever sat through Physics tuition classes, feeling like you thoroughly understood everything your tutor was teaching you? But the moment you sit for the Physics paper, you can’t help but blankly stare at the question in mild confusion and slight hope that some sort of recognition will come to you.
It's odd, because in class, you’re able to breeze through everything but the moment you’re alone with a difficult problem to solve, you can’t. And therein lies the issue: you never really learned it in the first place. Mindlessly reading through and highlighting your textbooks and notes, and working on assessment books with the correct answer right next to you, is the result of passive learning.
On the other hand, active learning is when you’re fully engaged in the process of learning. To learn, understand and absorb a new piece of information, you need to trick your brain by practising how to remember the study material in order to aid active recall. Rather than spending hours mulling over the same few materials, put in short bursts of hard work to cement the information in your head! Here are three ways to approach active learning.
1. Read to remember
Reading your textbooks is the traditional way to study, but it isn’t great for memorising. Then again, textbooks are one of the most convenient ways to study since all the information and graphics you need, are compiled in a book!
To aid in the memorisation process when studying from your textbook, close your eyes everytime you read a short section in efforts to remember the content. Then, recite it out loud before verifying if you nailed the content!
2. Teach yourself concepts out loud
Instead of reviewing your notes silently, learn the material the way you learnt it. This way, you’re taking on the role of a teacher, but you’re teaching the content to yourself. Explain it out loud using complete sentences, as if you’re talking to a group of students, to see if you can explain the concept articulately without referring to your notes. If you’re able to do this successfully, then it means that you fully understand it.
You can do this by preparing a two-column table, with the right side filled with questions and the left with answers. As you’re revising, cover the column on the left as you try to answer the questions.
3. Work through complex problems independently
When your tutor is going through the solutions to a problem, copy it all down. Don’t worry if you don’t understand anything just yet. Anytime you’re self-studying, start small with the simple problems from class. Then, work your way through slightly more difficult questions while taking your time to understand the variables, relationships and steps.
Once you feel comfortable with fundamentals and solving problems, start engaging active recall to make your study session more efficient as it involves you retrieving knowledge from your brain! To do this, solve a problem by working through the steps off the top of your head without referring to any materials. After, check the answer booklet to check if you were right. Repeat this process with various problems to build your preparation for seeing and responding to tough questions on the Physics exam paper!
We all have 24 hours each day, but what sets us apart from others is how we choose to spend our time. Studying more effectively lets you fulfil your time spent studying, especially since you have other subjects to juggle with. If you struggle with Physics, reach out for help by joining our JC Physics tuition class. Mr Phang will guide you, and each class will be supplemented with the relevant materials to aid your Physics learning!