“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
This is the 9th session on the Keys to Studying Well.
Until the last session, we have looked into three conditions to be able to study well. What are the three things?
They are: first, adequately high intelligence quotient, second, good environment to study, and third, ability to concentrate on your studies. The fourth condition is the practical know-how in studying of your own. In other words, you need to learn how to study.
Many experts on education say that knowing how to study is more important than having high IQ. So, in order to study well, you should find the right methods to study and apply them to yourself. Nowadays, there are many kinds of ‘know-hows’ and methods of studying that are recommended by the experts.
But you should find out the kind of studying method that suits you the best. People are saying that ‘self-guided studying’ is important. Easily put, it means you have to study for yourself. Beginning with setting the goal of your studies, you have to do everything for yourself in choosing the materials and methods of studying and evaluating the results of your studying. You might feel it is hard in the beginning. But in the long-run, the achievement level is much higher when you do everything by yourself.
Let us talk about some basic studying methods. You can apply them in your actual practice and make self-improvement strategies to bring up your grades.
The first know-how in studying is that you should learn to enjoy your studying. People remember the things they are interested in very well. For example, some people know a lot of things about a particular sport such as the height, weight, position, and winning rate of a particular athlete in that sport. Or, some others like cars very much. They know the brand, year, engine performance and other special features of many cars.
Do they find it hard to memorize all those things? In most cases they don’t. They have interest in the things they like, and they can easily input the information on such things. When you study, you can study better if you feel it is easy and fun. On the contrary, if you feel negatively that it is hard, you cannot study so well.
So, here, let me introduce a method with which you can study easily. How do you memorize the things that you have to memorize? Can you memorize well just by reading the books? No. Things that are dry and not interesting are not usually input into your memory easily. In such a case, you can utilize your feelings. If you have a strong feeling when you see or hear something, that memory lasts for a long time.
As in the allegory I gave you of the transplanting rice seedlings, feelings make the knowledge go deep into the memory device. The feelings of untruth are the main cause of idle thoughts, but good feelings can help with your studying. If you utilize your feelings in memorizing things, you can more easily memorize dry and uninteresting things.
We can understand this from the four different ways of forming our memories. In the spirit, soul, and body lectures, God explained to us about the four different types of memories in the explanation about the soul. The main point of this categorization is that different memories will last for different periods of time according to how you form your memory.
The first memory type is just passing it by. When you see or hear something, you don’t pay attention and you just let it pass by. Imagine your class. The teacher is explaining something very hard, but you are daydreaming and later you don’t remember anything you heard. Because you didn’t pay any attention to what the teacher was saying, it came in one ear and straight out the other ear. This kind of memory does not remain in your brain at all.
The second memory type is casual association. In the class, you listened to the teacher understanding what the teacher was saying. You think you know it for sure at the moment. But after several days, you cannot remember it any more. If you store things in a basket that has no lid, they will come out if you shake the basket. Likewise, what you casually stored in your brain can be easily forgotten.
The third memory type is planting the memory firmly. Before the class begins, the teacher says, “We will have a test after the class is over. You will get one point deducted for each wrong answer you get.” Then, the students will try to focus on the class. They will try to remember whatever they hear. If you pay extra attention to what you study, the memory lasts for a relatively longer duration of time.
But there is another type of memory that lasts much longer. It is the fourth type, which is to plant it in both the brain and heart. This is to plant the information not just in the brain but also in the heart along with the impression and feelings associated with the information.
For example, in the class, a teacher you like very much asked you a question about the subject in the class. Fortunately you gave the correct answer because you went over the lesson beforehand, and the teacher commended you. You were really happy about it. You probably wouldn’t forget about that problem. You did not only remember the answer to that question, but you also planted in your heart the joy of being commended at the moment you gave the correct answer.
There are some medical evidences that show you that people’s memory does not exist only in the brain. Due to traffic accidents there are some patients who damage the parts of the brain that stores memory. But, they still remember the things that took place before the accident. They don’t remember everything, but only the things associated with very strong impressions.
Now, among the four different ways of forming your memory, which one is the most efficient when you try to memorize what you studied? Yes, it is the fourth type, which is to plant memory both in your brain and heart. Even unbelievers apply this kind of principle.
One of the examples is to memorize with association. It is to familiarize with or have strong impression of things that are uninteresting and unimpressive by associating them with something else. Anything can be used. You can associate them with objects or people, or you can amplify the feeling through the five senses, namely sound, color, smell, taste, and touch. You can use this method when you try to memorize something new.
For example to memorize spelling “geography”, make a sentence using the letters of the word to make a sentence like: “George Ellis’s old grandmother rode a pig home yesterday. G-E-O-G-R-A-P-H-Y the first letter of each word of the sentence helps you remember the spelling.
It is also good method to chant something out loud or to put a melody on the contents that you want to memorize and sing it. For example, sometimes they put some melody and rhythm on the multiplication table to let the children memorize it. (In English, the Romance languages and German young children learn to sing their ABC’s)
Also, we have a song in Korea with the names of the 66 books of the Bible so we can memorize them easily. Let us hear it. It also helps with the memory if you think of the touch, feel or sensation that is related with what you want to memorize.
In the Hell sermon series, I once suggested that you think of the fear of Hell by putting your finger in boiling water. Of course, it is not easy to intentionally put your fingers in boiling water, but if you have got burned by fire or water, you would feel the pain of Hell more vividly. You can imprint the fear of Hell in your memory and heart more deeply.
Let me tell you one more way to enjoy your studies. It is that you should begin to like the subjects that you used to dislike. If you just keep away or give up on that subject, you would only dislike it more and your grades will fall. Then, even if the grades of the subjects you like are very high, the average cannot go any higher. Therefore, you should begin to like the subjects that you dislike, so that you can do better in the subjects that you are not good at. This way you can enjoy your studies more.
For example, do you hate math and find it very difficult? Why don’t you overcome math just as Jacob wrestled with an angel and overcame. For your information, experts say math grades are directly proportional to patience. If you wrestle with the math problems and solve them, your feelings will change. You can gain the confidence that you can also do it, and math will feel different to you. Here, what you have to remember is that you have to tackle the easy questions first. If you try to solve difficult problems from the beginning and fail, you might get adverse effects from it.
Those of you who dislike English can also try this method. The Lord tells us to love even our enemies. So, obey His word and try to love English. Try to look for the good points and interesting points of English. Invest a little more time in English than other subjects and play with it. If you promise to play with English for certain duration and fill it up, you can reward yourself.
For example, you can do light exercise to loosen yourself up, or refresh your head listening to praise songs. You can also have a snack. If you reward and encourage yourself whenever you achieve your goal, you can feel a sense of achievement. You can also increase your patience. If you invest your time and effort this way, you will increasingly like the subjects you used to dislike, and you will do better in them. You will feel the joy of your overall grades going up.
Grown adults should also try not to avoid the things or work you don’t like. You have to begin to like them and do better in them. You will have considerable improvement in spirit and body.