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Effective Studying —  Six essential rules to effective study

by Robert of Sorbonne, the founder of the University of Paris

A good plan and methodology for serous university study was promulgated by Robert of Sorbonne, the famous founder of the Sorbonne at the University of Paris, in 1257.

The student who wishes to make progress ought to observe six essential rules:

  1. He ought to consecrate a certain hour every day to the study of a determined subject, as St. Bernard counseled his monks in his letter to the Brothers of the Mont Dieu.
  2. He ought to concentrate his attention upon what he reads and ought not to let it pass lightly.  There is between reading and study, as St. Bernard says, the same difference as between a host and a guest, between a passing salutation exchanged in the street and an embrace prompted by an unalterable affection
  3. He ought to extract from the day’s study one thought, some truth or other and engrave it deeply upon his memory with special care.  Seneca said, “When you run over many things in a day, select one item for yourself which you should digest well on that day.”
  4. Write a resume of what you have learned, for words which are not confined to writing fly as does the dust before the wind.
  5. Talk the matter over with your fellow students, either in the regular recitation or in your familiar conversation.  This exercise is even more profitable than study for it has as its results the clarifying of all doubts and the removing of all obscurity that study may have left.  Nothing is perfectly known unless it has been tried by the tooth of disputation.
  6. Pray, for this is indeed one of the best way of learning.  St. Bernard teaches that study ought to touch the heart and that one should profit by it always by elevating the heart to God.

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Here is a link to an excellent pamphlet entitled, “Hints on how to study”, published by the Phi Eta Sigma Sorority.