How To Study

Around America school is starting up again over the next three weeks. Here is part one of a psychology professor’s five part series of videos on how to study:

Your Thoughts?

A Moral Philosopher on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
City on a Hill
ISIS’s Iconoclasm, The Bible, and The Problem With Taking Literalism Literally
About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Patrik Roslund

    Being a psychology student i must agree with him. Nothing in the five video series sticks out as controversial if you are familiar with cognitive psychology.

  • Patrick RichardsFink

    I’ve never found these kinds of study guide instructions to be useful. I think my learning style is… unusual, honed after decades of autodidacticism, and I have the fortunate gift of very rapid reading combined with good retention. On the other hand, I do attend every class period if at all possible (and have a good sense of when a class can be skipped without consequence to my learning, as opposed to when a class can be skipped without affecting my grade, two very different beasts), and do 99% of the reading ahead of time.

    The motivations and real-world experience of non-traditional students makes a big difference. Academia, at least on the student side, is an incredibly forgiving environment after punching a time clock for years.

  • Jesse

    I’m curious what any educators (with experience in HS teaching) think. Prf. Chew notes that students’ metacognition is accurate for high school but not college (or at least honed that way). That says to me that it isn’t that a student has poor metacognition skills — just that they are set up for something way different. I’m a pretty good sprinter, for instance, but that doesn’t mean I can run marathons or play baseball.

    I don’t see much else in there that’s at all controversial either, even for people like me to whom much of cog sci and cog psych is unfamiliar.

    More seriously, as I have gotten older I have become a bit more of an educational “traditionalist.” Some things require deep comprehension, which takes time. And to a large degree I no longer am so upset that my English prof made us read a ton. It forced me to focus and, ironically, read faster by doing just that — reading and reading only, with no distractions or thoughts about anything other than what was in front of me.

    I’d tell any young kids out there that if you want to learn and read fast, go to a room with no wifi or internet access, sit in a chair, and just read. It’s even better if the room is nice and quiet and you have a good glass of wine (something full-bodied and room-temp friendly). I got through whole Bible chapters and Dante in what seemed like record time that way — and I didn’t realize the time had passed, even. (OK. the wine wasn’t a good idea. :-) ) But really, relaxation helps. I find that people have a lot of trouble when they say “OMG I can’t do this I am bad at it AAAH! Test in 2 weeks!”

    Daniel, I am curious. If I were a college professor, and I had a student who failed a test badly, and that kid comes up and says “can I do it again?” I would be inclined to say yes. Because if you ask for that it means you care enough, you know? (I wouldn’t do it too often, obviously). But I don’t know how practical that is, even for undergraduates. Do you ever run into that? What do you do?

  • Phil Goetz

    Most of your blog entries recently have been videos. I don’t watch videos on the internet to get information, ever, because they are a very, very slow way of getting information, and there is always something next on my list that is equally valuable and written in text.

  • rork

    I worry our young people don’t get it about concentrating.
    What I want is for you to be able to concentrate 100% on a difficult, complicated task for hours on end. That ability might be more important to me than what you actually learned earlier in your life. What you really need to know we can teach you later. Much of what you’ll need to learn isn’t even known yet, or you’ll have to invent it yourself.
    When your horsepower and stamina are polished, come out here and help me kill tumors with equations and some heavy computers, or help somebody else on something else important. We sure could use a hand.