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Study Skills

Strategies For Success

As you might have figured out, Saved By The Bell: The College Years lied. College is a lot of work. Maybe you have ďstudiedĒ for hours only to have bombed a quiz, or you might have stared at a blank computer screen all weekend to only type your name on that term paper while getting the high score on Minesweeper. These tips are here to help you succeed. Donít hesitate to make an appointment to see your coordinator for some more help. Thatís why we are here!

Strategies For Getting Better Organized

Get organized! You probably have more time to study then you think you do. Finals should be a breeze if you spread your academic assignments out over the semester. Make yourself an organized plan each semester and stick with it! Such a plan might include:

  • Buying a daily planner to mark important dates. You might want to get a plain one to keep from getting distracted, or get one with plenty of blank spaces to jot down notes.
  • Actually using your new daily planner. It will not do you any good if you keep it in your backpack. Also, just use one and only one. Having multiple planners will only serve to keep your confused and disorganized.
  • Take time each semester to study each class syllabus. See which assignments are worth the most grade points, and put most of your time and energy into completing those assignments as best as you can.
  • Mark important dates and any deadlines in your planneróas well as Add/Drop dates!
  • Break it down! Some projects in your syllabus seem huge. Remember, the highest mountain is still climbed just one step at a time! Break down projects into smaller sections and write a specific completion time into your planner.

Strategies For Studying

Studying is the key to collegiate success. Anyone can stare at a book, but true studying takes skills, and these tips will help build up your study smarts. For specific help though, contact the Student Success Center or your ODS coordinator.

Find out what format the exam will be and study accordingly. You will want to be able to recognize general concepts and specific facts if the test is multiple choice. If the test will be an essay or short answer, practice outlining and writing answers in essay form to questions you feel will most likely be on the test.

Try to use all your brain when studying! Read your notes out loud. This will allow you to both see and hear the information. Draw diagrams, charts, and tables to help summarize the information. Produce written responses to practice questions and review them later for completeness and correctness. Use these techniques to gauge what you know well, and what areas you still need to keep reviewing.

Donít throw away those old tests! Use them to help you review. See why you missed the questions you did. If you do not correct your mistakes, you are more likely to make the same errors on the next exam. Study the notes from the instructor, especially on essay questions, to be better prepared on the next test. See if the questions are from the book or from lectures. Concentrate more on that source for the next test. Reviewing tests also gives you a good excuse to see your instructor and let them know that you care about the course material.

Reading Your Textbooks

Did you ever find yourself reading a chapter in a textbook and not being able to remember what you read? There is a sure way to remedy this. It's called label in the margin. Forget about your grade school teachers, writing in books is perfectly okay in college!

  • You should begin by surveying what you are about to read. Look at the major heading, the charts and pictures, read the summary, study the review questions. In addition, search your memory for anything you already know about what your assigned reading. The more you know about what you're reading, the easier it will be to process it into your long-term memory.
  • Read only one paragraph at a time, and before you begin to read that paragraph look for a reason to read the paragraph. Use clues such as the heading or topic sentence. Do not mark as your read.
  • When you finish the paragraph, put yourself in the position of your professor. What test question will you ask from that paragraph? Actually write that question in the margin of your textbook.
  • Now mark the answer to the question by underlining, numbering, boxing, circling, etc.
  • Want to make sure you always do well on pop quizzes and cut down on study time for major tests. Put this information in your long-term memory now by covering the text and asking yourself the question written in the margin.
  • Recite the answer in your own words.
  • You are now ready to read the next paragraph.

It may take you longer to read a chapter this way, but there are definite advantages:

  • You can read it a bit at a time--a page here and a page there--taking advantage of short periods of time you usually waste or didn't have time for a whole chapter.
  • You never have to re-read the chapter.
  • You know the test questions in advance.
  • You have a systematic way to study you textbook.

Study Study Study!