If you 'know' the textbook, will you pass?
Thanks to the way a lot of school and earlier level exams are set, this feels true. If you know more theory, you’ll get higher marks.
So, if you were a computer, if you could remember all the theory, would you pass all your exams?
Is more theory the answer to all your study problems?
Do you want your studying to be neat?
We’re not consciously studying to be a computer, but the reality is that the way we’ve LEARNT to study, is more about remembering theory and calculations than it is about THINKING and applying whatever you do know.
We also like our study process to be ‘neat’. Comfortable. We struggle with the ‘messiness’ of learning when things don’t go right quickly.
Google has changed EVERYTHING!
In my chat with Tom Clendon (you can see our full chat here), we spoke about how the profession and exams have changed, and why.
He gives us some great insight on what we’re supposed to be able to do for our clients, and we want you to think about whether your studying is preparing you for this?
Your clients HAVE computers. You don't need to be one
If your clients have the same knowledge on their desk that you do… you have to ask yourself what they need you for.
This is something you need to ask yourself every time you study. Whatever you’re planning on focussing on, is this what your clients will need from you?
Let's pretend your textbooks are in your head...
Take a random question from your study material. Keep ALL your notes and textbooks with you, and use these to answer the question.
At earlier levels in your studying, the textbooks will probably be able to fill in the answers fairly quickly and easily, without much changing, application or problem-solving.
At later levels in your studying, you’ll find that it’s taking you longer to find the answers. You may find the right topic, but it seems to take longer to turn the textbook info into the answer. The question still requires ‘something else’.
If your textbooks can’t GIVE you the answers to your questions, then your perfect knowledge of theory isn’t the problem.
Your clients want customised help
Every client has a different problem. While the topics might be the same for two clients, just ONE thing might change EVERYTHING about how you’d solve the problem for them.
We have to be able to visualise their problems and understand the ‘shape’ of their particular problem and the different elements of their issue.
We need to have the skill of building different solutions for different situations. This isn’t ‘clean’, their problems and solutions will not be ‘textbook’.
How do we prepare for this?
Sadly… our best preparation for this requires getting our hands dirty! The most effective learning for this type of work is to ‘practice’ and experiment, to expose yourself to as many different situations as possible. We need to practice seeing how situations are similar, different, look and feel the same, and how they can be solved.
What we’d LIKE to have is a table. We’d love to have a table for EVERYTHING we learn that tells us how it works in every situation we’ll ever come across. This would solve the problem of us having to figure out for ourselves how this will work here.
What YOU feel when you do this
When you do questions, you can’t help but feel that you should be getting the answer ‘right’. That’s what you’re aiming for. Your GOAL is to get it right.
Based on what we’re talking about here, the GOAL should rather be the PROCESS of practicing, experimenting and giving yourself exposure to different situations.
It IS uncomfortable for us to not get answers right. We will feel very chaotic and the process will feel messy. We have to decide whether ‘neat’ is going to get us to our goal, or whether we need to adjust what we’re doing to get there.
What do I want for you?
I want you to be prepared for what you’re going to find, in your next exam, and the exams after that. I want you to be prepared for your career.
I want you to be aware of what your exams want from you, and the thought process that those exams are developed with.
Give it some thought, consider whether you’re trying really hard to be a computer, or whether your studying is going to help you achieve your goals.