You’ve done the research and landed on the perfect Nanodegree program. You’re eager to learn in-demand skills, build incredible projects, and gain an industry-valued Nanodegree. Now, it’s time to dive into your program and study.
The word “study” often brings about memories of dusty books, handfuls of hastily scribbled notes, and caffeinated sleepless nights cramming for a test. Fortunately, these are just the results of poor study habits and can be avoided.
People who regularly practice good study habits are shown to have a better ability to learn new skills and retain information, not to mention often having better job opportunities and advancements.
Here at Udacity, we want you to succeed. We want to help give you the skills necessary to pursue a career in tech. So how does one go from anxiety-ridden nights full of last-minute test-prep to being a calm and prepared lifelong learner?
Start with these four simple study tips
1. Get hands-on experience
Reading about a subject is great, but it can only get you so far. The best way to learn is to practice what you are studying.
Learning to become a developer? It’s valuable to spend some of your time reading about programming concepts and looking at examples, but the real learning happens when you practice on your own.
Udacity’s Nanodegree programs incorporate real-world projects so you can get the hands-on experience that will prepare you for your ideal developer job.
2. Find a mentor
While independent learning is important, finding a trusted mentor to help guide you is key. Mentors are able to impart the wisdom that only experience can provide.
Ever get stuck on a tricky problem that takes hours to figure out only to have the solution be something deceptively simple? A mentor is someone who is there to point you in the right direction once you’ve gone astray.
Mentors are a key component of Udacity’s Nanodegree programs. Learn more about how mentors impact the student experience in our Life as a Udacity Student series.
3. Learn at your own pace
Before you begin studying, take some time to figure out your goals. These goals should be defined by you, and only you; not your teacher, not your friends, and not some internet forum. What is it that you hope to accomplish? Only once you know what you wish to accomplish can you figure out the steps to get there.
Don’t know where to start? Udacity can help! You’ll receive a customized learning plan tailored to fit your schedule so you can reach your personal goals on your timeline.
Remember, studying is not a competition and nothing is gained by trying to work faster than your peers. The only true merit of success is how much information you’ve retained in the long run.
4. Make studying a habit
We’re all guilty of a cram session every now and then, but unfortunately cramming does not foster true learning. To truly absorb information, it is important to study consistently, for short bursts of time, every day (or at least most days).
Consider lifting heavy weights with your arms. Your muscles need time to rest and repair post-workout so that they can get stronger. Then, when you return to the gym, you’ve reaped the benefits from the work you put in before and can accomplish even more.
The brain works the same way in that it needs unfocused time to process information. If you work at something a little bit every day, you are guaranteed to improve, even if it takes some time.
Putting It Into Practice
Learning can be a deeply enriching experience. The best way to become a lifelong learner is to cultivate these study habits and make them part of your routine.
Get real-world experience to solidify your knowledge, find a mentor to help give you a boost when you feel stuck, learn at your own pace to best achieve your learning goals, and study a little bit every day to ensure that what you learned leaves a lasting impact.
With these four tips in your arsenal, you can’t lose! So, what are you studying for next?