Study Strategies for Lifelong Learning by Suzanne Krumenacker, AuD | Author of Hearing Aid Dispensing Training Manual
Let’s talk about “hands on” assessment study strategies shall we? It is something that most of us wish we could do better. Unless you are blessed with a photographic memory and have the amazing ability to perform a task perfectly after having seen it done once, then we all hope that the time and effort that we put forth when we are studying for some type of examination was enough preparation. Successful study skills are not something that we generally are born with, successful study skills are something that we mainly learn by trial and error and lots of practice to find what works best for us. The important thing to remember here is that everybody learns differently and there is no one way or right way to studying if it is a successful way for one to learn, comprehend, and apply the information that we are needing for a practical “hands on” exam. The following information that I will be sharing is from personal experience of teaching and coaching students over the years and the techniques and strategies that I have found that work best for the majority of people.
Study strategies or study skills as defined by Wikipedia “are approaches applied to learning. They are generally critical to success in school, considered essential for acquiring good grades, and useful for learning throughout one’s life.” It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in and what you are studying for whether it be a college exam, continuing education assessment, or state licensing exams, the same skills apply. If you have already found study skills that have worked for you and have helped you to have a positive outcome with your exams, than stick to what you are doing. If you are someone that has always said “I am not good at taking tests” then I hope that you find some value within this article.
Where should you start when studying? In order to prepare for success with passing “hands on” exams you will need to start with some fundamental core knowledge. First, you must start with your core study materials: textbooks, lectures, online classes, articles, or diagrams and form a game plan. This first phase of your three phase studies is known as the “Hear One” phase. Start by creating a study calendar and write down tasks of the things you need to do to keep you on track, for example, week 1 you will concentrate on Chapters 1 & 2, week 2 Chapter 3 & 4 as so on. If there are 10 lessons and you need to complete all lessons before the date of the exam, break it down in smaller pieces that can be completed in a timely manner. Some strategies you may want to consider during the Hear One phase is to use a small pad, flashcards, or note taking application on your phone, tablet or computer so that you have your study material with you wherever you go.
An example could be read one lesson. Next, list all foreign words and look up their definition and create your own vocabulary/glossary list that you can easily take with you wherever you go. After you have read lesson one and created your list, re-read lesson one and create a study guide which consists of a list of true statements or pictures of things that you find important in each paragraph of the lesson. The glossary list and study guide will be your learning tool that you can carry around with you all the time. When you are waiting at your hair or doctor appointment you can review your guide. For each lesson or chapter you will have a list of facts and pictures to refresh your memory of learned material without being bogged down by books.
Once you have the core concepts down and you can recall them without having to refer to the flashcards or study guide, and then do it. The “Do One” phase is where you apply the cognitive aspects of the concepts and put it into action. The most important aspect of mastering any skill is to master the simple procedures first and then build upon those skills in order to perform more complicated ones. (Birnbaumer, 2011) Before physically performing any procedure, talk out loud the steps that you will be taking while you visualize yourself doing them. Once you can successfully talk it through and before applying on actual patients, use some type of model that is available to you until you have mastered it. Now you are ready to perform the skill on a human subject. “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Vince Lombardi.
The last phase is the Teach One phase. Now that you have diligently practiced the skill, and are proficient at it, you are ready to teach it. The true test of mastery of a skill is the ability to teach someone how to perform that skill.
In summary, as you embark along any new learning experience, remember to Hear One, Do One, and Teach One. Take each concept, read it out loud taking note of the key words and phrases, practice what you have read and then teach someone what you have learned.
Diane M. Birnbaumer, MD, FACEP Teaching procedures: improving ‘‘see one, do one,teach one’’ From the Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA. CJEM 2011;13(6):390-394