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Studying Really is a Skill!
By Naumbyia German, Senior
Would You like to be your own Boss? Let me offer you a position with the benefit of complete autonomy. By becoming an administrator of your own personal study skills you get the chance to be creative, attain many rewards (grades/knowledge), and on top of all that, you get to be a Know-it-All and not be penalized.
NO, I am not crazy and YES, I am talking about study skills!
Although it is not a job, studying can sometimes seem like one. I mean just think about it, it has all the characteristics: time consuming, not immediately rewarding, sometimes boring, and simply a means to an end!
GOAL--Our goal is to help you have good study habits and improve your methods of depositing the information that you learn into your memory by changing your perception of studying from task to skill mastery!
WHY CHANGE??To attain your GOAL! To do this you must take responsibility. Responsibility is recognizing that in order to succeed, you must make decisions about your priorities, your time, and your resources. Like in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) recognition and responsibility are the first steps! (Hi, my name is Naumbyia and I'm a crammer. Group applauds, Hiii Naumbyia.)
- List It! Every week, write down a "things to do" list. As you finish them during each day, cross them out. Try this link for some examples.
- Schedule It! Allocate a day and time for each of the projects that have to be accomplished and stick to that schedule as closely as possible
- Do It! Don't procrastinate. Try to get things done early by making out a schedule for the week.
In the process of attaining better study skills, sound knowledge of the self is very important in dealing with several issues such as concentration, environment for studying, and motivation. So, where do you like to study, with whom, and at what times? Try the personality test to help see what kind of learning style you might have.
How to Learn and Process Information
- Manipulate Your Environment Depending on what environment you like to study in (comfy and quiet vs. the hustle and bustle of the 2nd floor of the Henderson Library). But it may help if you leave home because then you wont be tempted to lay down or watch t.v. I'm a: night before, crammer, papers everywhere, need absolute quiet or ill scream, mid-day learner and that's what works for me!
- Discover Your Key Productivity Periods and Places Choose between morning, afternoon, evening; and study spaces where you can be the most focused and productive. Learn when and where you are most alert and can consume the most information. Also, studying while others are studying or doing school work always makes me feel more productive.
- Use Your "Bag of Tricks"
- After writing notes in a class always use the early-often method. That is, every day when you come home, spend 15 minutes looking at the notes you have written to refresh your memory (early). After that, look at the material as often as you can. Don't wait until the day of class to freshen up on the topics discussed last class meeting.
- When studying, for instance, if you have a study guide, group the facts or items into chunks of 5 items. Chunking helps you learn information in sets. If you donít believe me, look at your social security card. It is set up in chunks. Moreover, 455- 16- 0031 is much easier to remember than 785924336. RIGHT?
- Use the SQ3R method. For instance, if you have a 4 chapter test you would: Scan- read the titles and sub-titles and the summaries at the end to become familiar with what will be talked about. Then, make Questions out of the titles and sub-titles. Read the chapter. Close the book and Recite and Review the information you remember.
- You can use mnemonics to help you learn. A mnemonic can be a picture, song, acronym, acrostic, etc. Hereís how, take the Chiliís Baby Back Ribs tune, add your own information (like if youíre learning A, B, Cís) and sing it to the tune.
- An acronym is when you use the first letter of words. For example if I had to remember the colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet) Iíd use Roy G. Biv.
- An acrostic is when you create a sentence to remember a set of items like the planets. Like this: My very enormous mother just served up nine pies. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
- Always use repetition. Especially when youíre learning facts and stages like in Mitosis.
- Use change in intensity (color) or draw diagrams in your margins. Bring attention to important dates, names, and information by using different color inks or highlighters.
A Lil' Somethin' Somethin' That Works For Me
We usually remember the first and last things we read so when studying, try studying the most important information the longest and do it first.
Factors That Influence Good Study Habits
- Time Management
- Procrastination- As I said before, knowing yourself is the key to studying well. If you know that procrastination never does you any justice, DON'T do it! If you do not have a problem with being a "last minute" person, procrastination may be okay for you.
- Not Enough Time- Some people find it very difficult to organize all of the things that they have to complete. You could be strapped for time which is very common, or have TOO MUCH time like me, and tend to procrastinate. Don't worry, help is available. The information on the following link will show you how to be more efficient in completing tasks by helping you to make lists: http://www.ucc.vt.edu/stdysk/htimesug.html
- Personal Characteristics
- Level of Responsibility- If you feel personally responsible for your grades, chances are you are more inclined to keep up with your work.
- Motivation- Some people are intrinsically motivated (motivated from within), but others may need some outside motivation like rewards in order to stay on task. What works for you?
- Listening and Note taking- If you are one of those listeners who drifts in and out of the lecture, you can be pretty confident that you have to rely heavily on the book to catch you up on things you missed while in La La land. Guess what! You're not the only one who does this. I too am guilty and find myself day dreaming about riblets and chicken fingers at Applebee's!
Take Responsibility for Yourself!
For more good study tips, check out this book...
Becoming a Master Student: Tools, Techniques, Hints, Ideas, Illustrations, Examples, Methods, Procedures, Processes, Skills, Resources, and Suggestions for Success By David Ellis
- Virtual Pamphlet Collection: Study Skills (The University of Chicago)
- Study Skills Self-Help Information (Virgina Tech)
- Study Skills (University at Buffalo)
- Test Preparation and Test taking skills
- The studying process from note taking to test day