Academic or vocational education? Fundamentally these two fields differ in both domain and scope.
The former focuses on the cognitive domain, in that it seeks to impart theoretical knowledge and research skills within a broad scope of subjects. The knowledge gained can usually be applied to a variety of occupations within a certain field.
The latter focuses on the psychomotor domain, in that it seeks to impart practical skills and actual experience within a specific craft or trade such as carpentry, plumbing or hairdressing. While today most fields of study include both, considering which type of education you find or see yourself in, is undoubtedly seminal to your methods of study.
For example, an education that is predominantly vocational usually requires study methods that include hands-on practice; while a predominantly academic field would require more study methods that help you to master concepts. Essentially, the methods should match the type of education.
Another important aspect to consider is your preferences or comforts. We all have unique personalities, which manifests themselves in various preferences or comforts, and it is imperative that we take these into consideration as they affect the efficiency of our learning. I, for example, study most comfortably and efficiently alone and during the complete silence of the early morning hours.
Having chosen an academic field of study, I would tranquilly study a topic by reading about it from different sources, after which, I would scribble down notes on my understanding and the contents of it, before moving onto the next topic. It worked for me, and I enjoyed it. Someone else, however, may prefer studying in a group or with music in the background. Others might prefer listening to audiobooks instead of reading; the list is endless. Sometimes though, we must be flexible enough to operate outside our comfort zones for the sake of getting through an assignment, a subject; or even to explore new methods that might yield better results. Nevertheless, for the betterment and effectiveness of learning, I say: to each their own. Combining the best study techniques with the most enabling environment will not only increase your chances of getting an A symbol but will, more importantly, equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for a successful career. Chapter five of the ‘Graduate – Think about Thinking’, further lists and discusses ways and methods of studying.