47 - Hard Start - Jump to Easyدوره: Coursera – Learning How to Learn / درس 47
47 - Hard Start - Jump to Easy
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Now that you’ve gotten some insight into how your brain works,
we can give you some final useful tricks that can empower your test taking.
The classic way students are taught to approach
tests is to tackle the easiest problems first.
This is based on the idea that by the time you finish the relatively simple problems,
you’ll be confident in handling the more difficult.
This approach works for some people,
mostly because, well, anything works for some people.
Unfortunately, however for many people, it’s counterproductive.
Tough problems often need lots of time,
meaning you’d want to start on them first thing on a test.
Difficult problems can also scream for the creative powers of the diffuse mode.
But to access the diffuse mode,
you need to not be focusing on what you so badly want to solve.
What to do?
Easy problems first or hard?
The answer is to start with the hard problems,
but quickly jump to the easy ones.
Here’s what I mean.
When the test is first handed out to you,
first, take a quick look to get a sense of what it involves.
You should do this in any case.
Then, when you start working the problems,
start first with what appears to be the hardest problem.
But steel yourself to pull away within the first minute or two,
if you get stuck or you get a sense so you mind not be on the right track.
This does something exceptionally helpful.
loads the first most difficult problem in mind and then switches attention away from it.
Both these activities are what allow the diffuse mode to begin its work.
If your initial work on the first hard problem has unsettled you,
turn next to an easy problem.
Complete or do as much as you can.
Then move next to another difficult looking problem and try to make a bit of progress.
Again, change to something easier as soon
as you feel yourself getting bogged down or stuck.
When you return to the more difficult problems,
you’ll often be pleased that the next step or
steps in the problem was seemed to be more obvious to you.
You may not be able to get all the way to the end immediately but at least you can
get further before you switch to something else of which you can make progress.
In some sense, with this approach to test taking,
you’re being a little like an efficient chef.
While you’re waiting for a steak to fry,
you can swiftly slice the tomato garnish and turn to season the soup,
and then stir the sizzling onions,
the hard start-jump to easy technique,
may make more efficient use of your brain by allowing different parts
of the brain to work simultaneously on different thoughts.
Using the hard start-jump to easy technique on
tests guarantees that you will have at least a little work done on every problem,
it’s also a valuable technique for helping you avoid einstellung,
getting stuck on the wrong approach because you have
a chance to look at the problem from differing perspectives.
All of this is particularly important if your instructor gives you partial credit.
The only trick with this approach is that you must have
the self discipline to pull yourself off
a problem once you find yourself stuck for a minute or two.
For most students, it’s easy.
For others, it takes discipline and willpower.
This may be why test takers sometimes find that the solution pops to mind,
“right as they walk out the door.
When they give up, their attention switched allowing the diffuse mode,
the tiny bit of traction it needed to go to work and return the solution.
Too late of course.
Sometimes people are concerned that starting a problem and then pulling away from it,
might cause confusion on an examination.
This doesn’t seem to be a problem for most people.
After all, chefs learn to bring various facets of a dinner together,
but if you still have worries about whether this strategy might work for you,
try it first on homework problems.
Also keep in mind,
that if you haven’t prepared well for a test,
then all bets are off.
Just take what simple points you can.
I’m Barbara Oakley.
Thanks for learning, how to learn.
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