by Anthony Foxcroft
CFI of Aviation Training, with 20 years’ experience as an airline pilot and instructor
It can be very tempting and it’s very easy to just click your way through the presentations and come to a quiz at the end and realise you hadn’t been paying attention at all, or perhaps didn’t understand things as well as you might have thought. Try not to see the quizzes as a ‘road-block’ but rather as a tool to help you ensure you really have understood each concept before moving on.
Make and keep a study schedule. When studying remotely by CBT it takes some discipline to treat your studies as seriously as you would if attending classes at a college or university. Set aside certain hours of each day for study. Keep the same schedule faithfully from day-to-day.
If concentration is your problem, then the right surroundings will help you greatly. Your study desk or table should be in a quiet place – free from as many distractions as possible. You will concentrate better when you study in the same place every day. It’s a mind-set. For example, when you sit down at the kitchen table, you expect to eat. When you sit down in an easy chair, you watch TV, etc. Developing the habit of studying in the same place at the same time every day will improve your concentration.
Your study desk or table should be equipped with all the materials you might need for the subject, e.g., pencils, pens, erasers, protractor, maps, performance manuals, calculator, slide rule, snacks, and liquid refreshments, etc. With your materials at hand, you can study without interruption. Turn your phone off or at least to silent - you can return the calls after you have finished studying. Taking your snack food and drinks to the study location will eliminate those endless trips to the kitchen which break your concentration. Researchers tell us that there is a relationship between orderliness and high-test scores. Knowing where to find your materials when you need them is crucial.
Reviewing early acts as a safeguard against forgetting and helps you remember far longer. Frequent reviews throughout the course will bring rewards at exam time and will alleviate anxiety.
Flash cards aren’t just for kids! They are a legitimate study tool. Use the front of the card to write an important term, and on the back, write a definition or an important fact about that term. Carry your flash cards with you. Use them during ‘dead time’, such as standing in a queue, waiting in a doctor or dentist’s office or riding a bus. Post them on your bathroom mirror to review while shaving or applying make-up. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish during those otherwise ‘dead times’.
Psychologists tell us that the secret to learning for future reference is overlearning. Experts suggest that after you can say, “I know this material,” that you should continue to study that material for an additional one-fourth of the original study time. The alphabet is an example of overlearning. How did you learn it? Probably through recitation which is the best way to etch material into the memory. Manipulate the material as many different ways as possible by writing, reading, touching, hearing, and saying it. In an experimental study, students who overlearned material retained four times as much after a month than students who didn’t overlearn. A student who does not review material can forget 80% of what has been learned in only two weeks! The first review should come very shortly after the material was first presented and studied.
Aviation Training is a registered South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Aviation Training Organisation (ATO) and offers comprehensive CBT courses for PPL, CPL, IROP, ATPL, and General Radio exam.