“FLORA”

This article is not about flowers, but the technique can be used to study them.

Studying is a debated subject on campus. One student may say that they don’t need to study, and another may say that music helps, or that flashcards help.

One person who belongs to the first camp, Ryan Hebets, said, “If I study, I get a worse grade.”

Katie Bahnweg agreed, saying, “I can study and study and study and it won’t help.”

Professor James Berry believes otherwise. He said that if a student is willing to put in the time and follows most professors’ advice to study two hours for every one hour in class/lab that they’ll perform better, and grow brain structures called dendrites, which retain information for each thing we learn.

He also has a studying technique called FLORA, which stands for, “Focus your attention, Learn in small units; Organize your studying, Repetition is important and Apply the information learned.”

The first step, the “F” in FLORA, is to focus your attention. Berry said that there are two elements to this; interest in what you’re doing and a positive attitude.

Learning in small chunks can be most helpful. Berry advises taking five minute “biology breaks” every thirty minutes of study, which essentially means that a studying student should get up, take a walk and clear their head of the subject they are studying. “Create a schedule that dictates that and live it.” Said Berry.

Organization is primarily picking a correct learning environment by reducing distractions such as noise or one’s cell phone. “I see students ‘studying’ at the library, but all they are doing is chatting, texting and people watching.” Berry said.

Berry said time management is not an effective tool, but an excuse for not prioritizing class preparation.

“You can’t run out of time.  What you did was not make what you were supposed to do a priority, plain and simple…we blame time on why we didn’t get something accomplished.” He said.

Repetition is a key element of effective studying. The more times a student sees information pertinent to learning, the more likely they are to remember it. Researchers, according to Berry, are saying that it takes 700 times of repeating information before it converts from short to long-term memory.

Finally, apply the information. Find a way that the material connects to your life, your major or the job you aspire to do. It also means asking oneself questions from the chapter(s) that could end up on the test. Simply, give yourself the test multiple times before the actual hard copy that the professor typed up appears under your nose.

Flash cards, rocking the iPod, or reading the textbook, whatever your method is, try adding a little FLORA into your routine and see what happens. Who knows what might bloom?

Angel Shappee

Staff Writer

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