Education Study Skills

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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One of the most widely used systems for teaching students strong study skills is the so-called M.U.R.D.E.R. method, which isn't nearly as violent as it sounds. The acronym stands for Mood, Understand, Recall, Digest, Expand, and Review. Beginning students are urged to memorize and then apply this procedure to make the most out of new (and challenging) information.

Setting the proper mood means preparing yourself to learn. If distractions abound, there's no way a student can adequately focus on the material at hand. Next comes understanding, which can be tricky, namely because true understanding and perceived understanding are radically different things. Learners are here prompted to mark any concepts or facts that challenge their understanding.

The M.U.R.D.E.R. Principle

Recall is indispensable to the application process. If you had everything you'd ever learned constantly at your fingertips, you'd be boundlessly intelligent, but this is rarely the case. For this reason, teachers urge their students to recall what they've learned by putting ideas into their own words. At this point, students may now return to the material and digest it more fully, making sure to clarify any points of confusion before proceeding further.

Next, the learner must expand what he or she has just taken in, which means asking follow-up questions and making the information as relevant as possible. In particular, the student may ask, "How is this new data related to what I already know and what I hope to understand?" Once he or she has done this, all that remains is to go back and review the entire lesson one more time to shore up any gaps or misunderstandings.

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