By PAUL JAGER
Imagine this. There’s a ring at the front door. You’re greeted with a delivery. It’s the study workbook from MOL for your National Federation of Property Professionals Awarding Body (NFoPP AB) qualification. As it’s handed to you, its weight almost pulls you to the ground.
One of two things now happens. Either the workbook is stored away safely, never to be returned to. Or, you ask yourself a question: “Where do I start with this workbook?”
As Richard Attenborough says in hushed tones in Jurassic Park, ‘I’ll show you’.
A property agent’s time is at a premium. Your working lives move at a 100 miles an hour with private lives following close by. You need to ensure that your study time is used effectively. Follow this simple seven step plan and this can be achieved using the MOL workbook to prepare for the NFoPP Awarding Body qualifications.
Step 1: Your Surroundings
Avoid distractions. Find somewhere quiet to study. Make sure that those around you know what you’re doing and the private time you need. There is nothing worse than reading an important passage of text only to lose your train of thought because you’re disturbed. It’ll be difficult to learn anything meaningful if this happens and valuable study time will be wasted.
Distractions to avoid also include TV, radio and music. Be kind to your brain. Give it a peaceful environment to absorb the knowledge you need.
Step 2: Your Mind-Set
‘I want a qualification’ is very different from ‘I need a qualification’.
The first is a vague wish. The second is a far more powerful desire that must be achieved.
Having an ‘I need’ attitude will compel you to regularly study, even at times when you’re not in the mood. The ‘I want’ mindset will probably see you study for a few weeks and after that lose interest.
The secret is to find a powerful enough reason to ‘need’ a qualification. Then keep reminding yourself of it. If necessary leave post-it notes with it written on in the places that you study. So, when you know you should be studying but you’re tired, this reason will energise you to take positive action.
Step 3: Your Plan
Don’t just open the workbook, randomly pick a topic and start studying. This is a recipe for disaster and poor memory retention. Successful studying needs a plan of action.
Produce a timetable. Include the times you’ll be studying each week, for how long and which subjects. This has several advantages. Firstly, once you’ve diarised study time you’re more likely to keep to it than just making yourself a half-hearted promise that you’ll ‘study sometime tomorrow’.
Secondly, the qualification workbooks are written by MOL to be studied in order. One section naturally flows from the previous one. Follow this and you’ll always feel you’re making progress and building on knowledge you’re already learned.
Lastly, a timetable of study means that you’re never left trying to ‘cram’ just before your exams. Instead your time has been carefully planned. This will avoid stress and anxiety later on.
Step 4: Your Studying
When planning a timetable, mentioned in Step 3, always divide the study material into manageable chunks of information to learn. Don’t try and tackle so much that it becomes a chore. It will become too much to absorb in one sitting. You’ll quickly become disenchanted and demotivated. Studying small amounts often is the way forward.
Organise your study sessions so that they last for 20 – 30 minutes. Then take a rest – perhaps some fresh air or a cup of tea. Your memory will thank you for this. When you return to your studies start by reviewing what you’ve just learned before moving onto new material.
One final tip – remove the pages you’re going to be studying in that session and put the remainder of the workbook out of view. The workbook can be an imposing sight and a reminder of how much there is to learn. You don’t need that distraction. Focus only on the material for that session.
Step 5: Your Reward
Reward yourself at the end of study session; chocolate is a favourite here. You deserve it. You’ve achieved so much. You motivated yourself to sit and study. You’re leaving the study session knowing more than you did when you started. And, you’re another step closer to achieving the qualification.
Step 6: Your Memory
Before you begin your studies prepare your memory for what is about to come. Start by thumbing through the material for that session. Scan any contents pages or chapter headings; anything that quickly guides you on what you’re about to study. This is the equivalent of an athlete limbering up their muscles before a race. It’s preparing your brain for what is about to come.
Step 7: Your Learning
We are all unique individuals with our own way of studying. Use this to your advantage. What is the best way you learn? By doing? Reading and taking notes? Making mind-maps or using flash cards? Relating information back to your daily working life?
Choose whatever works for you and use it to your advantage. Don’t be constrained by the traditional route of simply reading the same passages repeatedly and hoping they ‘soak in’. If that isn’t effective, there are many other ways available.
The goal of your studying should be maximum effort with maximum results. Your time is too precious for anything else. If you’re set on achieving an NFoPP Awarding Body qualification and using the accompanying workbook, then the above will be invaluable in your journey to academic success
Studying for a property qualification can be a daunting prospect. But with the right preparation, execution and mind-set it needn’t be.
For more details on how distance learning can help you, call MOL on 0161 203 2103 or go to the MOL website
Paul Jager is head of the Property Division at MOL