I am now a graduate student. When I was an undergraduate, I would mostly study on my own directly from the books, and not concentrate much on lectures. Also, since I was a pretty good student, I would have studied at least a part of the course I was taking, and hence, I had a pretty good idea about how to go about studying a particular subject and hence, when the course would start, I would be able to dive right into the things and complete the syllabus in time.
Now, however, I attend lectures and I am not sure what exactly is the structure of the subject I'm studying till almost my mid-terms. Halfway through the course, I understand how exactly to approach a theory and only then would I be able to study in a way that is really puts together different parts of the subject in a single viewpoint.
To give an example, during my course on measure theory, for the first half of the course, I was only solving the problems, sometimes by looking up, and sometimes on my own, but I could almost never fathom why a particular problem actually turned out the way it did, in the bigger scheme of things. However, by the times the mid terms came up, I was able to piece together the different pieces of Caratheodory construction and Borel measures in general, and was able to relate how it fit in with the section on Radon measures. After this, I was able to start studying on my own, and making my own notes, and by the time I was done with the notes, I had the whole map of measure theory in my mind.
In short, I find myself taking a tour of the subject in the first half of the semester, solving assignments etc, and only later, I work rigorously enough to consolidate my learning into a coherent mass. This generally puts enormous pressure on me in time for my mid term examinations and sometimes even final examinations, and I was wondering if other people face the same problem, and if they do, what are the methods to counter it?
( 5 months ago )
I've experienced the same thing with quite a few courses - I think it's just the nature of quite a lot of topics that it's an awful lot easier to understand the theory when you're able to put it into the context of the examples and the bigger picture of the topic.
I'm not sure if it's even really possible to counter it, and it is the nature of some modules that it's actually better to spend the time when the module is being lectured just getting a tour of the topics then spend more time on it at end getting a full deep understanding rather than trying to spread out the overall module workload evenly.