For most of my educational career, I have severely lacked the metacognition skills necessary for effective learning, and that led to frequent confusion and frustration throughout high school. However, since enrolling in dual-credit college classes in 2016, I have built on my personal processes for learning, and since entering college as a full-time student those processes have only gotten better. Now that I better understand what it takes to fully comprehend what is being studied I am able to find where I went wrong in classes where I did poorly. During the Fall 2017 semester, I was enrolled in two dual-credit courses at my community college, and without realizing it, my learning strategies varied between each class and my grades reflected that.
One of my dual-credit courses was Chemistry, and while I struggled with the material I still believed that I was trying my hardest. From staying up late reading, and cramming for tests the night before, I was astonished that I had continued to receive bad grades. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was lacking in using effective learning strategies; I did not use a single one of the six effective strategies (Weinstein). My reading style was only skimming, without going back over the text for an in-depth reading. While “studying” the way I was, I just assumed I was learning the best way I could, and blamed other things for my poor grades.
I believe if I had known that my studying strategies were non-effective I would have been able to comprehend the material in a beneficial way. The other course I took at the same time was Spanish, a class that I enjoyed taking and felt passionate for. Because of my passion, I believe I naturally studied more sufficiently. There was more effort put into the work I was doing; I enjoyed explaining new concepts to family and friends, I would reread text until I understood it, etc. (Weinstein). It is likely that I had used all six of the strategies without knowing, simply because I was more passionate about the material. In turn, I continuously received high grades for the class. The contrast in study habits between this class and the Chemistry class is drastic, but it was not apparent to me at the time. Now that I understand what effective learning strategies are I am able to apply those to my current classes, even the ones that I am not passionate about. I actively reread texts I need to better comprehend. I minimize distractions and adjust my environment to fit the needs for adequate studying.
In turn, I can acknowledge some ineffective study habits I still subconsciously take part in; such as skimming when I am unfocused and sometimes still getting distracted by my phone. In conclusion, since the introduction of the six effective strategies for learning, my metacognition has improved, and my study habits are more efficient. I am better able to identify the problems in my past and current learning strategies, and therefore I am more aware of when I need to alter my methods. Thankfully, I now understand what it takes to study and learn effectively, and I already can notice the difference in my current college assignments.
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