TEST YOUR STUDY SKILLS
While there are many ways of improving your study skills, they are more effective if you know what your study habits and attitudes are like. Many students have no idea if they are having trouble with their time management, concentration or note taking skills, or if their problems are caused by a combination of problems. Use the following checklist to learn more about your study habits and attitudes.
Creating a Productive Study Space
To understand and retain information, you need to be able to concentrate on what you are studying. This is dependent on you studying in an area that is suited to your learning needs and style, which makes creating a productive study space is an essential element of studying well.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR IMPROVING YOUR STUDY SPACE
Here are some tips and tricks to help you create a productive study space
- Identify your needs. Some people need absolute quiet when they are studying, while others prefer music playing in the background. You know what you need to help you concentrate and stay focused, so set up your study area accordingly. Learn more about Learning Styles
- Set up a study place that is equipped for studying. Pens, pencils, paper, calculator, pencil sharpener and other supplies should be within easy access of your study area. If you need to get up and move elsewhere every time you need something, you will not be able to stay focused on studying. Setting up a productive study space
- Be consistent. Use the same study area every day and try to study at the same time each day. This establishes a connection between the time and space and studying and going to your study space at the same time every day will become habit. Use your study area only for studying and you will associate that place with studying. That will help you stay focused on your studies while you are there. Make sure your study area is a place where you can relax, yet stay focused. Your bedroom may seem like a great place to study, but you may doze off continuously while studying.
- Set up study rules. If you study better at certain times or when you can take short breaks, then make that part of your study rules. Make sure others realize that’s part of your study routine.
- Use study totems. Athletes have lucky socks or lucky shorts. You can have a study hat or study scarf. You can use a figurine, a toy, or any other type of object as your study totem. When it is time to study, put on your study item or set out your study totem. A study item or study totem helps you study in two ways:
- Once others understand what your study item or totem means, seeing it will tell them you are studying so they will not interrupt you.
- When you start having trouble concentrating, you can look at your study item or totem instead of staring into space. It helps refocus your mind on the task at hand.
- Your study area should be comfortable. The temperature should not be too hot or too cold. Make sure your chair is comfortable and you have room to wiggle your toes. Being confined or uncomfortable will become a distraction during a study session.
- Establishing good study habits begins with setting up a productive study space. Your space should meet your needs, and personalizing it is always a good option. When you have a space used only for studying, it is easier for you to concentrate on the materials and ignore or avoid distractions.
Procrastination and Studying
The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They’re full of eagerness, zest, productivity. You can be, too. Norman Vincent Peale Texting and driving, pink and red, procrastination and studying. These pairs have one thing in common; they don’t good mix! Everybody procrastinates – it’s necessary to have spare time, there are tons of studies that conclude that humans need leisure moments to stay healthy. But humans also need to sleep and to eat, that doesn’t mean that is OK spend the entire day sleeping instead of going to work. Read more >>>
Alcohol and Studying
A FEW BEER?
Any parent of a college student is going to hate this news being reported, but it turns out, according to a new study, that drinking a few beers the night before a big test probably won’t hurt your grade any.
Reported in March, and published in the London Telegraph, , the Boston University School of Public Health, along with Brown University, revealed their results of a study of 193 university students, between the ages of 21 and 24.
Still, the study’s authors note a couple of caveats with the study. First, each participant knew they were involved in the study and therefore might have taken the test more seriously than they otherwise would have. Second, two beers a day is far less than many heavy party-types might tend to drink–and the study does not analyze how well the student would do after drinking, say, a six pack in one evening. Third, the research shows that even though the participants’ grades did not go down, their moods were noticeably different after drinking the alcoholic beer. And those mood issues could negatively impact the student’s grades in the long-term.
So is there a moral for the college student? Maybe a two-pronged one. First, if you do drink the occasional beer or glass of wine (and you’re of legal age), you should know that you’re still OK for spending an evening studying. The two don’t necessarily cancel each other out. On the other hand, if you’re a regular, heavy drinker, you’re asking for trouble in your personal relationships, and probably even eventual trouble with your grades. The bottom line is that if you drink, whether in college or at home, you should always do it in moderation.
SQ3R – SURVEY – QUESTION – READ – REVIEW – RECITE
The SQ3R study method is a technique that goes back decades, and possibly more than a century. Still, there always seem to be those who have never heard of this classic way of studying your textbooks. So for that group of people, let’s talk about it.
SQ3R is a study method which can be applied to any textbook for any of your college (or high school) classes. And yes, each letter and number has an important meaning.
“S” STANDS FOR SURVEY
The first thing you should do is survey the material in the book, the chapter or the section you’re reading. This means you scan the material in its entirety. As you do so, pay attention to how the information is organized and formatted. Take a look at the table of contents and the various chapter titles and topic headings. Look at any outlines and bullet points. And as you survey, take some brief notes.
“Q’ STANDS FOR ASKING QUESTIONS
These are questions that you don’t yet know the answers for, but which you expect the text to answer. In short, this is material that expect to learn.
3R means simply that there are three important words to remember that start with the letter “R.” The first one is READ. After you’ve surveyed and come up with some questions, read the material thoroughly. As you do so, think about your questions and see if you can find the answers to these questions. Again jot down some notes about the important points you encounter in your reading. Once you complete the reading, think about whether all of your questions were answered. If so, write down those answers now.
“R” IS FOR REVIEW
You need to focus on your text notes and markings and review those points in your mind. Really concentrate on mastering these points.
“R” STANDS FOR RECITE
This means you need to be able to vocally enunciate all that you’ve learned from this book or section. If you cannot recall something well enough to put it into words, you might not know it well enough for the test when it’s given. So recite the major points again and again until they are engraved on your brain. As you complete your SQ3R process, you’ll be impressed what you recall–and you’ll know why so many generations of students have used it.
How to Memorize – the Complete Guide
ONE OF THE BEST TECHNIQUES FOR MEMORIZATION IS REPETITION.
Repeating reinforces a memory, making it stick with you. It is important that you first remember the information, so that you work on understanding it as well. You normally remember knowledge that is significant to you. When you study something over and over again, then your brain is recognizing the material as being important. By reviewing test content both consistently and repeating the same techniques, you will start recognizing the facts that you need to remember. Make sure that you are also quizzing yourself on the material you are repeating to ensure that it’s staying with you. These check-ins will show which information you are remembering and what you should revisit. See our post on Using Flash Cards.
Overall, repetition forces your brain to remember facts, words, speeches, etc. so much that it can’t help but remember them. Read More >>>
Time Management For Students
Sure, textbooks, tutors and teachers are all incredibly useful when it comes to learning, but managing time is a major factor. Students have so much do, so much to learn, not to mention other factors such as social events, family commitments, jobs, and leisure activities. Poor time management can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed, and when you feel overwhelmed it can be hard to get going again. What we want to do most is bury our heads in the sand and wait for the overwhelming feeling to go away. This is of no help whatsoever. In fact, it can lead to more stress and anxiety as you fall further behind. The best, and easiest, thing to do is to not let time get away from you. To not let the amount of tasks you need to do become so large you don’t know where to start. In many cases, poor time management may come across as a lack of knowledge, which can further hinder a student’s learning process – students that appear smarter often get more attention in class, therefore increasing their learning. The good news is that there are few simple ways you can get control of your time. Read More >>>
Not all stress management techniques are suitable for students because of the time involved. The following stress management techniques are not only some of the most common, but also are well suited to students:
- Do not wait. If you know that you have an assignment due or an exam looming on the horizon, do not wait until the last minute to open your text. By starting early and focusing on small amounts each day, you will be prepared for the exam or have the assignment finished well before the due date. When you wait until the last minute, you increase your stress and anxiety, and your performance typically suffers. Find out how to Make a Study Plan
- Perform routine maintenance. Just as a car needs maintenance, like an oil change, your body needs its own version of routine maintenance. You need to eat regular, healthy meals and get plenty of rest. In addition, take personal time to take a walk, go out with friends, or do other activities that you enjoy. Taking care of you creates a more positive mood and better performance.
- Exercise. Physical exercise is not only good for your body, but it also serves to relieve stress. Engaging in physical activities increases your circulation, clears your mind, and boosts your overall energy level. Exercise also decreases levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, helping you to feel more relaxed. Of course, there is also the benefit of having a physical release for negative emotions, like anger or hostility.
- Use relaxation techniques. The use of relaxation techniques, like visualization, meditation, and breathing exercises, are stress relievers that can be practiced any time. You do not need special equipment or a great deal of space for these, making them a great tool while sitting in the classroom preparing to start an exam. Relaxation Techniques from the Mayo Clinic.
- Get organized. One of the major factors in stress for students is lack of organization. Make a schedule that shows where you have to be and when, as well as when assignments are due and when exams are scheduled. Organize your study area so you can find books, notebooks, and pencils or pens quickly and easily. Simple organization will take care of missed deadlines and forgotten assignments, and it will prevent you from being stuck with starting assignments at the last minute.
Caffeine is everywhere. It’s in colas and coffee and tea, obviously. It’s in my favorite caffeine delivery system, chocolate. You can also find it in drinks like Red Bull. But it also lurks in places you wouldn’t think — some brands of root beer and orange soda, Mountain Dew and, ironically, in Mellow Yellow.
Energy drinks have further complications, because some contain effedrine as well as caffeine.
Caffeine helps in the short run. It gives you a jolt, you can stay awake to follow what the professor says or to finish up a paper. But you don’t know when it will wear off, so you might not be able to get to sleep once the paper is done. And when it does wear off, you will feel as low when it departs as you did high when it first kicked in.
What if you can’t have it and you have to stay awake?
Some people are allergic to caffeine, others have sensitive stomachs, and people with heart conditions are often forced to limit their intake. If you have to stay awake and you can’t have caffeine, what can you do?
The best thing, of course, is to pace yourself and stay ahead of your course work. Slow but steady really does win the race. But if you can’t, then you need what caffeine supplies: stimulation. You can study with the window open, play music, or study with a friend who can help keep you awake.
Be sure to catch up on lost sleep.
What ever you do, be sure to catch up on your sleep after. The “sleep deficit” that builds up over time can rob you of your joy and affect your academic performance!
Poor sleep can make you inattentive and slow, forcing more all-nighters, increasing the sleep deficit. It’s a bad cycle, but one you can avoid.
In the long run, it’s better to keep yourself from needing caffeine. But if you need it, a little won’t hurt and can give you the jolt it takes to get the job done.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO STUDYING TEXT BOOKS
The reading of textbooks is an integral and unavoidable part of your college education. Although in the classroom a teacher may cover much of the content of the subject matter, many of the details of the topic will be fleshed out from your textbook. Unfortunately much of the material you will encounter in a textbook can be dry, making it difficult to stay focused and study. Concentration is essential to your success in the class. Read More >>>
HOW TO STUDY A NOVEL
From high school to college, novels are a crucial part of the learning experience. Reading novels not only teach us about different worlds, eras, and people, but they also encourage us to explore our imagination. Novels can also be fun! For these reasons, they are an integral part of a proper education and an important part of learning how to study. It’s important not to be intimidated by the language and issues in novels. Instead, focus on what you do know, and practice strategies that can help you navigate the text. We have compiled a list of tactics for you to use alongside reading. Read more >>>
Forming a Study Group
Study groups are a great way to supplement your individual study. Being involved in a study group provides you with the opportunity to get feedback on how well you know the material, as well as reinforcing what you have learned. In addition, a good study group gives you practice at working as part of a team, a skill that you will need in the world outside of school. Read more >>>