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Old September 20th, 2011, 12:08 PM   #1

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The Best Way to Study History

What is the best way to study history? This might be too large of a question.

Do you write summaries or precis? Just take good notes?

What's your method for studying a history book?
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Old September 20th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #2
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I first researched prehistoric period before Alphabet 3300 BC.
Then I tried to studied about Sumer, Egypt , Akkadians, Babylonians, Greek, ROME , Chartage, China, India, Japan, Inca, Maya, Aztecs, Persians, Arabs, North american natives, Byzant and so on because those Empires were interesting to me. I like comparative history and history of science,inventions, travelers and similar. So I started to read abour Ibn Batuta , Marco Polo, Al-Razi, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Greeks philosophers then I realized Im hooked up.
Now Im in process of learning. I admit I know very little (thats why I dont wrote often) comparing to guys here. Thats why Im here, some of these guys are real well of knowledge. Im still not to filling gaps rather building foundations of my knowledge.
Notes are welcome to me but I often loose them.

Last edited by Nadir; September 20th, 2011 at 12:31 PM.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 12:24 PM   #3

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I think the "best way to learn" varies from person to person, but personally I learn history best with some visual aids (especially maps) and background contextual materials available.

I keep references handy while reading -- these include period maps of the area (I am a heavily visual learner), an encyclopedia or book with terms relevant to the topic, and also any other books or sources I have available on the topic to cross-reference while reading. This takes a while during a read through, but I absorb the information in context, and I usually work on several topics at once to keep each from getting too monotonous.

Sometimes I find myself carrying around a small library of books, but on the plus side, I often read through two or three books simultaneously on a particular topic -- it makes the process more like a dialogue and less like a lecture.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 12:41 PM   #4

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For myself, I'm taking a cheap route. I learn best when engaged in a active class.
Since I can't afford to go to school, I make a fool of myself on history forums.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 01:25 PM   #5

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Read, read, read, read, read, read, and then read some more. Easy, huh?
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Old September 20th, 2011, 01:35 PM   #6

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I must admit that I've always been very lazy about making notes of things, and tend to work off the cuff more often than not. I do read a lot though, both online and offline, and it sticks. Really whether you take notes or not, I do think that reading is the best way to learn.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 06:34 PM   #7

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I dive into the primary sources for my "study" of history. Allows me to develop my own ideas about events and people plus I find it more interesting and therefore I get more out of it. That's just me. I've spent the last 5 years studying history heavily in the college setting and would have to say that doing the independent research allows me to get more from the field. That's probably due to the fact that I get more out of something I enjoy rather than something I am forced to study (which has happened all to often).
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Old September 20th, 2011, 06:54 PM   #8

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Be proactive. If you aren't doing a degree or component thereof that includes history, get access (find it!) to primary sources of areas you're interested in, read both popular (as an introduction) and then academic works (when you're more acclimatised to the scholarly world of writing), look at journals, or subscribe to some, and visit larger libraries for resources. And as avon mentioned: read. Read, but also sit and think. Sometimes, a few moments in deep reflection and analysis over what you've just read (even if just a few sentences) can prove vital to aiding in comprehension and historical analytical skill.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 07:28 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Robespierre View Post
What is the best way to study history? This might be too large of a question.

Do you write summaries or precis? Just take good notes?

What's your method for studying a history book?
Are you studying for a weekly test? An essay? Multiple choice?

After fumbling around with different approaches, I found what worked
for me was taking my notes in class, then coming home and retyping
them and even using my book to add to them.
Then, I studied my notes in small bites every night till the test.
If it was essay, I'd write an essay and make mental 'bullets' to help
jog my memory more.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 07:36 PM   #10

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Originally Posted by avon View Post
Read, read, read, read, read, read, and then read some more. Easy, huh?
In agreement here.

When I was first learning about Roman history, I was consciously trying to memorize everything, as I was doing the studying for an academic contest. By forcing myself to memorize everything, I can now save a lot of time, because I can recall a lot of information off the top of my head. Rote memorization works! So long as you enjoy the subject, that is.
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