Study Skills

What to do when you hit the books and they hit back! This page suggests some ways to improve your study skills by helping you get and stay organized, keeping you focused on things you can control, and using the appropriate study methods based on the type of material you are studying.

Barriers to Action

  • Procrastination
  • Life
  • Family obligations
  • Work
  • Emotional well-being
  • What else?

Stay Organized

  • Planners/Calendars
  • Organizer
  • Smartphone
  • Electronic reminders
  • Syllabus
  • What other tools do you have to stay organized?

What You Can Control

  • Use the syllabus to plan ahead (refer back to the calendar, planners, etc.).
  • Make a designated study area.
    • A time would help, but set the place first, then work out a designated time.
  • When you do study, don't try to study in MONSTER sessions.
    • No more than two to three hours and take breaks every 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Study groups anyone?
    • Get input from other students
    • New ideas on tough topics
    • Work out the details on something you missed

The Action

  • Set a task list, to do list, behavior contract.
    • Whenever you have to do something, DO SOMETHING!
  • Make a list of tasks and work the list.

Learning Styles

  • Visual
    • Graphs, diagrams, coded notes, and pictures
    • Use of imagination and imagery like a story or a movie
  • Auditory
    • Active participant
    • Hear it once and know it
      • Reading assignments, lectures
  • Kinesthetic/Tactile
    • Hands on, learn by doing
    • Make the work a part of who you are and what you are doing

Identify the Test Items

  • Essay
    • Large amount of information
    • Requires organization
      • An outline/lists/diagram
      • Supporting statements/description
      • An evaluation
      • An answer/conclusion
  • Multiple choice
    • First mind/choice is usually right
    • Process of elimination
      • The distractor
      • The obviously wrong
      • The two very similar
  • Math
    • Math is like a foreign language
      • You have to learn the rules and follow them
    • Practice problems first
      • If you get them wrong, you can go back and find your mistakes and fix them
    • Learn the steps
      • Have you followed all the steps?
    • Practice again, follow the steps, remember the rules, and take your time

Making the Action Work

  • Comprehension equals understanding
    • True understanding results in a deeper type of learning
    • The deeper the level of learning, the more you will remember
  • Quick and easy ways to comprehend better
    • Instead of reading over & over, read once THOROUGHLY
    • Instead of highlighting every 3rd sentence, do so SPARINGLY
    • Instead of taking notes on everything, SELECT only the most important information
    • Instead of rereading your notes, reduce them by CHANGING & REVISING
  • Understanding Comprehension
    • Understanding doesn't just happen
    • Learning is the process of overcoming confusion
    • Merely listening to your professors and completing their assignment is never enough
    • Teachers don't teach and you don't learn by osmosis. You have to learn how you learn and how to teach yourself
  • Take breaks when you have completed a task or at a stopping point
    • Not in the middle of a problem
    • Not in the middle of a sentence
    • Not in the middle of a chapter