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Unit Title: Study Skills in English
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2  Introduction
2.1  Why have a study strategy?
2.2  Studying and learning
2.3  Making a plan
2.4  Making productive use of your time
2.5  Having the right tools
2 Summary
Department of Computing, Goldsmiths College
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Section 2.5 - Having the right tools

The ability to study effectively depends very much on having the right tools and environment. By tools, we mean everything from the right computer equipment to somewhere to file your notes. By environment, we mean somewhere conducive to study.

Ideally, you should have:

  • a quiet area in which to work, which is also well lit and where the temperature is appropriate, away from distractions of family, television etc.
  • access to the internet
  • pens and writing paper, including paper for printing out from your computer
  • a filing system - during the course of your study, you will acquire a lot of printed material, in the form of notes, computer programs, web downloads etc. As you will not be able to remember everything you learn, it's important to have a good filing system which will enable you to locate these resources.

Activity iconActivity 25

A good place to file things can be on the computer, in folders. If you haven't done so, create a file and folder system to make your studying easier for you.

Whatever system you have, it will need to allow for frequent backups (to floppy disks or CD-ROMs) in the case of problems with your hard drive.

You also need access to a computer with the following specification:

  • a Windows interface ('95 or higher)
  • a minimum of 32 megabytes of ram (preferably more)
  • a minimum of 3 gb hard drive (preferably more)
  • a Netscape 4.5 or IE 5 browser version
  • a 56k modem or preferably a faster device
  • a sound card and speakers.

In addition, you may find it useful to have a Linux interface for programming.

Activity iconActivity 26

Look at the positive and negative aspects of your present environment. What can you do to improve it?