This is an age of competition .The increasing competition has made the whole teaching and learning process of today marks-centric. Securing more and more marks has become the first and the last goal of the students. Because of this they are getting more and more away from the real aim of education and in the process losing even their mental balance too. Anxiety, tension, depression etc. are becoming part and parcel of a student’s life today.
We cannot reduce or remove this increasing cut throat competition, but by knowing some underlying secrets and adapting ourselves accordingly we can take study to a higher level. Most of the students fail because they are not aware of the science of study. That is why we often witness the phenomenon that some students in a class seem to study less and still secure higher marks than other more studious types. The reality is that there is not so much difference in their respective intellectual capability as in their different approaches to study. The fact is that study is an art. Indeed, it is not only an art, but a science too. To know ‘how it happens’ is science; ‘how it is done’ is an art. To study any subject, to understand it, analyse it in the mind and finally present it before others is an art which can be learnt and practised by anybody anytime.
The common meaning of study is reading. But its wider meaning is to know about any subject or thing. It does not matter through which process we know about it - by observing, by reading a book, or by hearing about it. Viewed thus, we find that we are always learning. In other words, any activity in which our mind is involved becomes a learning activity. It is also important to know why we want to study. Indeed the main purpose of study is to learn, but there could possibly be many other reasons too. A book is read by many persons and all of them might have different objectives. In fact, how to study the book depends in a large measure on why we want to study that book. Generally there are three broad purposes behind study — for pure enjoyment, to succeed in an examination, and to develop an understanding. The latter two, on many occasions, could overlap. If a student develops his understanding of a subject, he is very likely to secure good marks in the examination too. But still there are many subjects which are studied almost exclusively for examination purpose. The scope to develop understanding in them remains very low. The first cardinal principle of study is that the student must be clear in his mind about why he is reading that particular book.
The seed may be of very good quality, but if not sowed in a fertile land, or on appropriate time, it is not likely to grow properly and give a good crop. Normally, one can study any time, and people do indeed study at different hours of the day. Success is achieved too. But is any thought ever given over what might have been lost in the process? It is quite possible that the success which was gained would have been even greater had the factor of ‘right time’ been kept in mind. To take an analogy, howsoever we might sleep during day time it can never equal the sound sleep which comes only in the night. This applies to study as well. The ideal time for it is in the early morning, because the mind and the body are completely fresh at that time. Rest has already been taken and they are fully energized. The capacity to grapple with the tasks is maximum at that time. Gradually, as the hours pass, and the mind starts coping with the grind of daily chores, its receptive capacity begins to decline. In the morning, an added advantage is that our sensory organs are calm. Concentration has tremendous power. Morning hours provide us – internally and externally – the exact environment which is fully conducive to concentration build-up. As time passes, and we increasingly begin to engage in miscellaneous activities, concentration becomes fragmented.
Positive thinking acts like a good fertilizer for study. Students should study only when their minds are peaceful and happy. Studying with a disturbed and unhappy mind is like ploughing on a rocky surface. Whatever we read and want to keep in mind, it can only be possible with a receptive mind. If we are not receptive about something it is obvious that we would not retain it. If we want to retain it, it means that it is acceptable to us. This acceptance will be still deeper and fuller, if there is reverence for it in our mind and heart.
Another thing. Whatever be the subject, the students should study after first emptying themselves from inside. They should presume, rather feel, that they do not know anything about it. This is not easy, of course. Even the most ignorant are not conscious that they are ignorant. This is the biggest obstacle in the path of knowledge. This consciousness about ignorance is a psychological state of mind. There is a law in science which believes that emptiness has great force of attraction. When the student empties himself and becomes conscious of his ignorance of the matter, he develops within him a magnetic force of attraction which pulls towards it whatever facts he is reading about at that time. One should not confuse this with inferiority complex, which is a different thing altogether. Emptiness is a conscious attitude that whatever we are reading about is unknown to us, or that whatever we are reading or hearing about may give us some new knowledge or insight.
There are many other important aspects to study which, if adopted by students, can make their learning process simple, effective and fruitful. We organize youth groups across the UK and kids develop this art and know the science behind it which results in excellent academics and personal skills.