Study skills are a set of habits, routines, and strategies that all students develop over time. Students may need to reassess their habits from time to time. It is important to remember that there is no "right" or "proper" set of skills. There are many different and effective methods used by students and no method will perfectly apply to all subjects and all methods will require practice. Most of the strategies mentioned here are beneficial.
The following "sessions" do not constitute a complete "study skills program". They originated from my three years of experience tutoring at Sylval Learning Center andfrom a number of selected sources. No study skills program can offer an official guarantee. These sessions are designed to be self-reflective and bring to the surface important aspects relating to student study habits.
Session 1 - Knowing Your Learning Style
Before exploring different skills it is recommended that you understand how you learn. Each of us has a natural preference for the way in which we prefer to receive and process import information. This is genetically determined but is also learned. By knowing your dominate learning style (how you take in and express what you have learned) you can enhance your academic performance.
One way to detect a person's preferred learning style is to watch their eye movements, particularly when they are thinking or answering a question.
VISUAL Thinkers tend to look upwards
AUDITORY Thinkers tend to look straight ahead
KINAESTHETIC Thinkers tend to look downwards
Visual Learners 37% of us have a visual preference so we “see” our desired goal and recreate it in pictures / moving images / imagined scenes. Write things down (ideas, lists, dates, etc.) Look at people while they are talking Work in a quiet place, however VLs prefer to do Math with music in the background Take lots of notes. Leave extra space to add details you may have missed Review your notes; rewriting helps you recall information Use color or highlight main ideas in your notes or anything you want to remember Draw pictures or cartoons to help remember (especially vocabulary words) Set goals when working on a long assignment. Make sure to post your goal in front of you Preview material (illustrations, charts, maps, section headings) Use index cards and review them frequently. Run mental movies or visualize the information Drink lots of water
Auditory Learners 34% of us have an auditory preference so we are very keen to hear what others are saying, who is saying it & how it is being said. Try studying with another person so you can talk and hear the information Talk out loud when reciting information you want to remember Take an oral presentation or test when possible Summarize notes in your own words Look at all pictures, headings. Answer comprehension questions or use the SQ3R method reciting information out loud when studying Write vocabulary words in color on index cards with short definitions on the back. Review frequently by saying the word definition out loud. As you read silently vocalize the words in your mind Use graph paper (or lined paper turned sideways to put your numbers in columns) when doing math problems Read assignments aloud at home Read along with audio books when possible check out your local library Make up songs or poems to help remember information Drink lots of water
KINAESTHETIC 29% of us have a kinesthetic (or physical) preference so we are very keen to experience feelings associated with success. Many learn best by moving about or touching objects.
To memorize information pace or walk around reciting information from a printed list Look at the pictures, end-of-chapter questions, headings, and bold faced words before reading a chapter If you need to move in class, cross your legs, bounce or jiggle the foot that is not touching the floor. Experiment with other ways of moving without disturbing the class When studying at home or when possible work at a desk but try to change your position or stand and move around Try reading though a colored transparency. Experiment with other ways to incorporate color into your studying Close your eyes when trying to memorize information, write the material in the air or on your desk with your finger. Picture and hear the words in your head as you do this Use humor and emotion when studying (role-play, draw, sing, dance) to remember the information
Session 2 - Evaluating Your Instructor & Setting SMART Goals
At this point it is a good to take some time to evaluate each of your instructors. After all most you aremostelikely looking at these study skills sessions to improve your standing in a particular class. First list each of your instructors and the classes they teach. If they teach more than one class list them multiple times. Take some time and think about what each of your instructors finds important. For example, my students will identify detail and organization as two of the most important things that I value. As such I look for these in their work.
Once this is complete it is time to establish some S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic
Session 3 - Desiging Your Study Area
Take a look at where you study, how you study, and what your "study place" consists of. Can you concentrate in this environment? What electronic devices distract you? Create a "T" Chart listing the things that make it difficult to concentrate in your study area. Then brainstorm on solutions to those problems. You may wish to partner with an adult for this activity, more ideas are often better.
Next, list the tools that you need in your study area. Things like: a dictionary, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, rulers, paper, a calculator. You may include a computer and phone for access to a dictionary and research material, but those items may have also been included in your list of distractions. So think again, what about the phone and computer are distracting. Once you identify the programs and apps, shut off only those.
TIPS ON CONCENTRATION Study in the same place every day. Studying in a quite place in more beneficial than being surrounded by music or noise. Make your "office area" a study center. Have good lighting and ventilation in your area. Make sure your work area is large enough to spread out. Prop up your book at a 30 degree angle. Do one thing at at time.
Session 4 - Managing Your Time
Time management is a good habit to develop. Some instructors plan homework and other assignments ahead of time and will tell you what is coming, others do not. You should know who does and does not. The more you know what is expected the better you can prepare. You also need to know your own personal schedule. That is just as important as your homework demands. Create a chart marking out your time by the hour or half-hour from when you get home from school to your reasonable bed time. Begin by filling in your afterschoolactivities, snack time, dinner times, family time, and other regular weekly obligations. Take a look at it, this is what your week looks like. Any unfilled squares are for homework and free time. From this chart you can plan the days that you have extra time to work on big projects or get ahead on regular work that will be coming up. For ease, use the link to download a chart that you can print.
The next and most important aspect of managing your time is keeping and up-to-date, accurate planner or personal calendar. WRITE EVERYTHING in your calendar/planner. ALWAYS WRITE AN ENTRY ON THE DAY AND TIME THAT IT IS DUE (OR HAPPENING). This way you will know exactly when you need to be prepared. Get in the habit of looking at it in the morning when getting ready and at night when you think you have finished for the day. Highlight events after you have completed them.
Lastly, let plan a study sequence. There are pros and cons to each of these ideas. Try different sequences to see what work best for you. Personally, I always did the hardest assignments first (Math), when I was most fresh.
HARTEST TO EASIEST
EASIEST TO HARDEST
MOST IMPORTANT TO LEAST IMPORTANT
LEAST IMPORTANT TO MOST IMPORTANT
You can change your sequence daily, based on time, and the tasks. The important thing to remember is to plan the sequence.
Session 5 - Skimming, Scanning, and SQ3R
Before looking at each of these three reading techniques it is necessary to review the different types of reading. Ask yourself, why am I reading this? What type of reading is it? What do I need to get from it?
BACKGROUND READING Lighter reading to gain a general idea. You can read faster, general ideas and some supporting details are necessary
CONTENT READING Reading to learn. You must read more slowly, trying to absorb the author's purpose, main ideas, and supporting details. You may even want to take notes.
PERSONAL ENTERTAINMENT Reading for fun. You can read quickly, general ideas, and character development is important. Your enjoyment is the most important.
PROCEDURAL READING Reading to do something. You may need to read slowly and pause after each step. The important thing to remember here is to accomplish (or be able to accomplish) the task described. This often technical.
THINK ABUT WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE TO SKIM AND SCAN. WHAT TYPES OF ACTIVITIES CALL FOR EACH?
Beginning a new chapter in U.S. History.
Looking for answers for a comprehension question in the literature.
Searching for the exact speed of light for a precise calculation.
Deciding if a particular chapter will be helpful in your research.
First opening a magazine.
Evaluating a web page for its usefulness.
Looking for answers on an open book test.
Survey - Question - Read - Recite - Review SQ3R is a reading strategy that helps you understand and REMEMBER what you have read. You should use this method when reading your text. This method will also help when preparing for a section quiz, test, or exam.
Step 1: SURVEY: Examine the headings, pictures, charts, graphs, bold words and titles to get a gist of the concepts presented in the reading. (If there are no headings, look at the topic sentences.)
Step 2: QUESTION: Look again at the headings or titles and generate a question from each. Try not to start your questions with one of the 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When, and Why) because they elicit vague answers. Instead, try to start your questions with words that make you show understanding. For instance, try these words:
Step 3: READ: Read and write down the answer to the questions you generated in Step 2: QUESTION. Try to keep your answers to one or two complete sentences.
Step 4: RECITE: Quiz yourself by answering the questions you wrote.
Step 5: REVIEW: Repeat step 4: RECITE when studying for a quiz, test, or exam.
Session 6 - Taking Notes
Good notetakign skills help you listen better, organize your ideas, and remember the material. The following guide is a modification of the Cornell Notetaking Method. It is important to keep related notes together. For example, if your instructor follows a textbook closely, makes sure your notes and terms are close to the lecture notes. Some instructors may have another system in place for vocabulary.
Cornell Note-Taking Method
Modified Cornell Note-Taking Method
For Mr. Woodmansee's class you need to follow this format and only at the end of a section or topic will you write the summary. So, you may take two, three or more pages of notes before writing a summary.
In addition to formatting your notes students should get into the habit of
Highlighting Key Terms
When coping notes, write entire lines/sentences at at a time.
Use Color on Diagrams and Drawings
Date the notebook daily
Never, Never, Never, skipping space or pages unless something belongs there
Dev. an abb.ed typ o/ S.H. for n-taking use
When reading a book, newspaper, magazine, or any other printed material (that you own) write notes in the margin.
Session 7 - Taking Tests & Memory Levels
Begin studying three days before
Do not over study on any given night, spread it out
Ask your teacher what types of questions will be on the test
Re-copy missing, incomplete, or messy notes
Re-read the chapter
Try to predict questions and answer them
Re-teach the material to yourself instead of reading your notes
Follow the guideliens according to your leaning style
Budget your time
Read the entire question and all answers before answering
Be aware of terms like "always", "never", and "all
Use CAPITAL LETTERS, they are easier to read
Esssay & Short Answr Tests
Write a outline or key facts before answering
Think about the answer before writing
Alwasy try to answer all questions
Alwasy try the extra credit
Short-term memory - this is immediate repetition of something "just" learned. This layer clears out quickly, unfortunately, most of us do not move to the Layer 2. It is useful for remembering telephone numbers that we are about to call.
Slightly longer short-term memory. You move information from layer 1 to layer 2 through repetition. This is why it is important to spread studying out over a few days,
Good Retention - This layer is achieved through repetition, over time and writing down details when studying.
This is long-term memory - This is achieved through a great amount of repeated repetition and writing over a good period of time.
To increase the layers of memory reporting, regular review, movement, and writing are all vital.
Study Skills Tips & Tricks
Highlight important information as you write and review notes
During the day review your agenda and write down what you need to bring home, write lists
Highlight things in your agenda as you complete them
Use two folders one labeled "Going Home" and one labeled "Going to School", anything to do at home goes in the first and when its going to or back to school it goes in the second
Take breaks when studying or doing long tasks, sometimes it is better to walk-away than to force yourself to push through
Repetition is good, whey studying or reading something that you must commit to memory do it multiple times, take a break and re-read again later