Study Tip: Gain knowledge and understanding, not familiarity 

Have you been I the position where someone asks you to explain something to them? You think, “Sure, that’s something I’ve read up on” – you feel familiar with the topic and happy to talk about it. But then, the wheels start falling off – as you go to explain the concept to your friend, your familiarity is not enough, everything starts to fall away, you don’t have enough knowledge or understanding of that topic to provide an explanation. It has happened to me – it’s embarrassing😉.

Talking with many registrars who have failed the exam, familiarity with the material is an enemy. They have looked at the material a number of times, but have never actually learnt the material in a way that enables them to impart knowledge to others ( specifically in answering exam questions).

How do make sure that you have learnt (know) the information?

This article from UNSW, gives some good advice on active reading and note taking as a basis for learning. Make sure that you have understood the material, before your leave it for the first time, by questioning yourself and reviewing your notes.

It is vital that you practice imparting your knowledge, and checking understanding, many times, before you get to exam. You will have read about the importance of active recall multiple times on this blog, as it is the key. 

  • Go back to your notes and practice recalling as much information as you can before looking at your notes again. Highlight any areas of difficulty 
  • Explain something to a friend, colleague, student, pet, pot plant.
  • Practice past SAQs, without your notes in front of you – be honest with yourself
  • Get people to ask you questions 

Have a look at this post from January. It shows you how important revision is. 

Make sure your learning is active. Familiarity is an enemy – you want to gain knowledge and understanding…

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