She hated science class. I was working with another student on her studying and science was her worst enemy. She absolutely hated everything about it. One way you can understand why a student feels a certain way about a class is to ask them to describe it.
I never really minded science class so I had to ask her to describe what she sees. She described science courses in terms of excessively long and boring papers and memorizing useless facts.
After hearing that I could suddenly appreciate what she was saying. It certainly wasn’t what I saw when I took a science class but I could see where she was coming from. I wasn’t a huge fan of writing long papers and my science classes tended to need long papers.
I wasn’t a huge fan of memorization either. Science classes had plenty of that too. There are some quick ways to deal with that kind of stuff. For some tips you might want to check out 6 Memory Strategies You Need In Your Study Toolbox. The thing is, I see so much more than that in science class. Sure the bad stuff might be there but it gets buried under a heap of other things I enjoy.
The vast majority of preference comes down to perspective. Sure, there is some subjectivity to most things but only a tiny subset of the population actually enjoys masochistic pursuits. Sure, you may think Particle Physics is the most boring thing in the world but there are people that think what you love is boring. Virtually no one likes writing long papers and memorizing random facts but that is a part of almost any course you take. The most significant difference is the way you look at those papers and facts.
To study better and faster you need to enjoy the subject. If you want to study science while enjoying it, you need to be willing to adjust your perspective a little. There are a million different ways you can look at science. Some of them will motivate you and give you pleasure. Others will bore you and give you pain. It’s up to you to be willing to choose the right one.
Appreciate The Method
Science classes are often horrible at teaching this point but many students find it to be one of the most interesting aspects of science. Science fundamentally has nothing to do with facts or memorization. Sure, it is forced to play a role in a school environment but ultimately, science doesn’t even accept facts. Anything that can be studied with science can’t be accepted as a fact.
Sure, the theory of gravity has been proven right throughout history millions of times. Despite that, scientifically, it cannot be accepted as a fact. That’s because theories can never be proven right. They can only be disproved or reinforced. So, all theories are either objectively wrong or not yet objectively wrong. There is no acceptance of right or wrong. No, that doesn’t mean you can answer your test questions wrong and be right. It just means the “right” answer typically refers to the most objectively proven theory instead of actual right or wrong.
(To understand real right and wrong you might want to look at math. 2+2 is certainly 4. Science doesn’t make such bold conclusions. All “conclusions” are tentative.)
The reason I mention this is to point towards the most important aspect of science. Science is fundamentally about the scientific method. The scientific method takes objective reality and tests right and wrong. Those tests are the final determinate of right and wrong.
In English class, your teacher can say your poem sucks and there is nothing you can do to prove it’s great. In science, objective reality is always accepted as right. It doesn’t matter how popular a theory is if it’s proven wrong. That is science.
This may seem like a minor difference but compared to most of history this idea is still revolutionary today. Objective reality is almost inevitably ignored in the vast majority of human discourse. People believe in things that have absolutely no proof in reality while disbelieving in things that have objective proof. This is standard practice everywhere except the (skilled) scientific community. (I add skilled because there are plenty of “scientists” that aren’t particularly good at this. There are also plenty of people that aren’t officially scientists that are skilled at it.)
Science is fundamentally about taking reality over superstition. You may see a long paper but I see a paper that’s uniquely objective. Sure, it’s dry but it’s not clouded by anything (ideally.) It’s just reality put onto paper.
While memorization may be a typical factor involved in science classes, science has nothing to do with regurgitating facts. It has nothing to do with regurgitating facts because there is no set of facts that stand above the evidence of reality. It all comes down to the scientific method. Nothing is above it. That means all of science comes down to physical experimentation.
I know, most science classes don’t represent this fact very well but with it being such a fundamental aspect of science, it leads to most classes relying on it. In almost every science class you’ll be given time to do experiments. Science isn’t about any certain set of facts. It’s about what you learn while conducting experiments.
Most students dilly dally through the experimentation as a test of following directions more than considering what each step is for. You can do that and it won’t have a dramatic negative effect on your grade but it can have a dramatic effect on your motivation. Experimentation is the absolute central procedure of science. Science is little more than superstition without it. It might as well be memorizing facts at that point.
By ignoring the hands on aspect of science you’re much more likely to lose sight of the enjoyable aspects of science. Instead of focusing on the good things you’d focus on the bad things, that can have a dramatic impact on every aspect of your class.
There is more to science class than experimentation. While science doesn’t require too much of the following aspect, science class tends to focus on it. This aspect of science is one of the most popular motivators of students looking to learn science.
Science is often virtually the same as a science history course. You don’t need to understand every aspect of history to understand science. It can help but it’s virtually a completely different subject. This history aspect of science is where many science classes turn their focus towards. Once you notice it, it can become a whole lot easier to get motivated to learn science.
The history of science is a tumultuous one. People regularly got killed (and still today) get killed for pushing the value of objective reality versus superstitions. It involves hundreds of years of “witch trials.” The few that speak out against the atrocities that the mainstream committed under the guise of morality, end up suffering the consequences.
When science attempts to push superstition out of any field, superstitious people inevitably fight back. Since superstitious people can’t compete with evidence they’re forced to fight with threats and weapons. Science, despite that, continues to plod forward.
When you need to learn gravity, there are plenty of different aspects you can focus on. You can focus on the math. You can focus on the experiments. You can focus on the theories. They are all interesting questions but there is a focus that virtually everyone can get into: the story.
All of science has a similar story to tell. This aspect of science is one of the easiest aspects to use to master science. Stories are enjoyable. They’re easy to remember. And, they can give you many of the facts you need to know to pass the test.
The key is to change your focus away from the aspects of science that you find boring and instead focus on something else. That something else will vary from person to person but there is always something there that you can enjoy. You may just have to look a little bit harder than you have before.
Part of this has to do with finding your own best methods of taking in the information. Finding the right book or information source can make all the difference. For more information on that Your Zen Study Method: How To Study, Learn, and Love The Process.
Once you refocus on the enjoyable aspects of science you’ll start to see changes immediately. From the refocus alone you’ll likely see a boost in your grades from increased attention during class alone. This is how to learn science more effectively. Of course, you’ll get increased focus and motivation in every aspect of your class. That means you’ll find more time to study and that time will be even more productive.
Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow and check out the archives. Also, be sure to check out the ebooks in the sidebar to learn everything even faster!
CAUTION! Don’t Let This Happen To You
This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.
R. is a college graduate that I know. He went to one of the best colleges in his field. He worked hard. He scored high. He did everything he was supposed to do…
He’s a smart guy.
Now R. has the degree… but not much else except tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt.
He lives at home with his parents barely able to get by paying his loans off… He blew it because he wasn’t ready despite the high scores.
It can give you the fast-track in life…
But it’s not everything.
You need more than just good scores. You need:
- Efficient learning strategies (you can use through life)
- High-scoring testing strategies (to prove you know your stuff)
- Pareto-esque prioritization systems (to use your time better)
- An enjoyable life WHILE learning and scoring high (because if it’s not enjoyable, you won’t keep doing it.)
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