Recently, you applied to a technical institute to enhance your HVAC knowledge and skillset. You just received a letter that says you’ve been accepted and can begin classes. Congratulations!
Though your time at a technical institute will focus primarily on hands-on experience, you’ll still need to memorize part names, define what happens when an AC’s coils malfunction, and more. If you find studying tedious, don’t worry. Here, we’ll explain effective study habits that you can implement as you advance your HVAC know-how.
1. Take Notes—and Review Them Regularly
Nothing seems more boring than taking notes. You might look back on your high school or college years and realize that you hated to copy down lectures from a black board or slide show. But as tedious as taking notes can be, this method can also help you learn more than just listening in class.
Bring a notebook and pen with you to each class. If you can use a separate notebook for every course, you’ll study better when the time comes. And since every person learns differently, you might not take notes in the same way a class member does. Test out the following tips to see which one works best for you:
- Write quickly. Even if you can’t write as fast as your neighbor, you can still write down all of the information you learn in class. Use shorthand to write more complete notes in your notebook.
- Establish a general note-taking form. Implement an outline before you write anything down. This method will ensure that your information appears well organized and easy to read. Use headings, subheadings, bulleted or numbered lists, etc. to keep relevant information together in groups.
2. Ask Questions
You might prefer to keep quiet in class, but this technique can negatively affect your ability to do well on exams or homework. Sometimes you feel embarrassed that you don’t understand a concept, and you believe you would feel even more so if you asked the teacher to provide further explanation.
However, don’t be afraid to ask questions in class. Your instructors won’t know if you don’t comprehend something unless you let them know. When you inquire about certain topics, your instructors can better relay the information to you and the rest of the class.
But if you don’t like to draw attention to yourself in class, write down any questions you have in your notebook. When class ends, approach your instructor and ask him or her the questions you have written. Then copy down the answers so that you can reference them as you study later on.
3. Pick a Good Location
As you prepare for an exam, where you study matters just as much as what you review. Pick a quiet room at home or visit a library to improve your focus. Or, if you prefer, pack up everything you need (don’t forget a snack and water), and head down to your local park to study outside.
If you can’t concentrate without some form of white noise in the background, create a music playlist to listen to while you study. Just try to avoid music with lyrics, as the words will distract you as you learn. Listen to the following songs or types of music:
- Instrumental soundtracks (Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, The Last of the Mohicans, Master and Commander, etc.)
- Classical music (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.)
- Nature noises (rainfall, waves, rainforest sounds, etc.)
4. Make Flashcards
Don’t think this method only applies to children and teenagers in school. Flashcards can help you learn definitions and concepts better than some other study habits.
Write the name of a term or idea on one side of the card and the corresponding definition on the opposite side. Have a friend or family member help you study if possible. He or she will read one side of the card while you give the appropriate answer.
And if you don’t like to use real paper flashcards, Google “flashcard maker online” to create electronic ones that you won’t lose as easily as paper.
5. Schedule in Frequent Breaks
Breaks matter too. For every 30 minutes you study, take a 10-minute break. Get up and stretch your body, take a quick walk in your backyard, or make a quick snack. These small rest periods allow your brain to process what you’ve learned so far—also, you’ll improve your focus.
7. Teach Someone What You’ve Learned
The best way to know if you truly understand a concept is to teach it to someone else. When you can clearly explain terms, topics, or other information to your friends and family, you’ve successfully absorbed the material. And if your audience understands what you’ve taught them, then you won’t have any problems identifying these items on a quiz or exam.
As you continue your education at an HVAC technical school, implement these study tips. Help yourself remember the terms you’ve learned during your time at this institute so you can more easily transition in your new career as an HVAC technician.