Study Skills

Using effective study skills can make the difference between having a successful or unsuccessful first year in college.  Do you need help with...
 
Memory Techniques  Note Taking  Textbook Study  Time Management  Test Taking  


Guide to Study Skills:

 

 

MEMORY

  1. Do you have difficulty knowing what material to memorize?
  2. Even though you study, do you forget information for the test?
  3. Do you become overwhelmed with memorizing names and terms?
  4. When you do memorize, do you forget the information right after the test?

If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you may need help with your MEMORY skills. Here are some tips which may help you.

  1. First things to "remember".
    1. Effective (long lasting) memorizing takes place through repetition. Frequently reviewing material from your notes and textbooks will help to ensure remembering for quizzes and test.
    2. Use different senses. Write information down, say it out loud, visualize it, and draw it as a picture.
    3. Teach someone else the information. If you can explain it to someone else, you have learned it.
    4. Be aware of what you DO remember. Analyze and evaluate your own systems: What techniques do you use naturally? How do you study the material? Why are some things more difficult than others?
  2. Mnemonics: Memory tricks
    • Mnemonics are techniques for remembering and are very effective for lengthy and difficult information. There are a variety of mnemonic techniques, including:
  3. Association
    • remember new data by tying it in with something you already know. You have a brain stored with information. See how you can connect the new knowledge to what is already stored.
  4. Letter Sentences
    • Make up sentences where the first letter of a word is the same as what you want to remember. For remembering the first five U.S. Presidents: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, use this letter sentence: Whales Always Just Make Money.
  5. Songs
    • Set the words you need to remember to a familiar melody. The mind has an excellent memory for music.
  6. Visualization
    • Create a picture in your mind. This may be especially effective if you revise your notes with pictures and symbols. You may also be able to recreate in your mind classroom visual aids and pictures from your textbook.

If you want more information on MEMORY, you can:

register for University 1105 "Foundations of College Success" for 3 credit hours (contact the FYE Office, 626-6752 or for more information)

OR

sign up for a free seminar on MEMORY skills (contact Student Support Services, 626-7009 [WSU-Ogden campus] or 395-3491 [WSU-Davis campus])

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NOTE TAKING

  1. Do you wait more than 24 hours to review or revise your class notes?
  2. Do you get behind taking notes because you can’t write fast enough?
  3. Do you try to write down everything the instructor says?
  4. Are your notes difficult to understand when you read them later?

If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you may need help with your NOTE TAKING skills. Here are some tips which may help you.

Before Class

  1. Read the textbook assignment before the lecture: you will have a good idea of what information is important to write down from the lecture.
  2. Prepare some questions to ask in class.

During Class

  1. Sit at the front of the room: Make sure you can see and hear the teacher.
  2. Ask questions: This will keep your interest in the lecture.
  3. Write down information from visual aids shown in class.
  4. Be alert to information that is repeated.
  5. Use your own shorthand method with abbreviations, pictures, and symbols.

After Class

  1. Reorganize notes within 24 hours: Revising notes helps you understand and remember the information.
  2. Format the information visually so it makes sense to you.
  3. Use different colors of ink to differentiate information.
  4. Write a summary paragraph of the most important points.

If you want more information on NOTE TAKING, you can:

register for University 1105 "Foundations of College Success" for 3 credit hours (contact the FYE Office, 626-6752 or for more information)

OR

sign up for a free seminar on NOTE TAKING skills (contact Student Support Services, 626-7009 [WSU-Ogden campus] or 395-3491 [WSU-Davis campus])

Back to Effective Study Skills List


TEST TAKING

  1. Do you "cram" at the last minute for tests?
  2. Do you wait until a test is scheduled before reading textbook assignments and reviewing notes?
  3. Do you lose points on tests because you haven’t read the questions carefully or checked your answers?
  4. Do you tense up or does your mind go blank during an exam?

If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you may need help with your TEST TAKING skills. Here are some tips which may help you.

  1. Preparation
    1. Prepare for quizzes and test every day by attending class and keeping up with assignments.
    2. Review material frequently: three to four times a week, do a 10 to 20 minute review.
    3. Predict your own test questions: if you were the teacher, what questions would you ask?
    4. Ask the teacher about the test: are there old exams you can review, what information is likely to be included, what type of questions will be asked (essay, multiple choice, etc.), and how many points the exam is worth.
    5. Use mnemonics: memory techniques.
    6. Get a good night’s rest and eat a regular breakfast. Avoid sugar and caffeine.
  2. During the test
    1. Scan the entire test before beginning and read the directions carefully.
    2. Answer the easiest questions first and mark the ones to come back to.
    3. For multiple choice questions, cover the answers and try to first answer the question yourself.
    4. Be aware of questions which give you answers to other questions.
    5. Your first answer is usually best. Change an answer only if you are sure of a mistake.
    6. Plan time to answer essay questions and make a short outline before writing.
    7. Carefully check the test for errors before turning it in.
    8. Do some stress relief techniques; do these exercises before or during a test. Relaxing physical tension helps to relieve the mental tension which is blocking your memory and concentration.
  • Calming Breath - This exercise is excellent for calming the body and helping to focus the mind. Sit in a comfortable position. Take a deep, full breath. Exhale completely. Inhale again and mentally count from one to four. Hold your breath and again count from one to four. Now, slowly count from one to eight while exhaling. Repeat the sequence four times.
  • Head/Neck Roll - This exercise helps relieve headaches and neck tension. Relax shoulders and roll head slowly to the right three times and then to the left three times. Pause to breathe deeply. Repeat exercise until tension is relaxed.
  • Shoulder Hunch - This exercise is good for relaxing tight shoulders and upper back muscles. Make a fist with arms at sides. Inhale, raising the shoulders as high as possible. Exhale, dropping the shoulders, and relax. Start with ten hunches and work up to twenty.
  • Tense/Relax - This exercise works to lessen fatigue and anxiety. Sitting or standing, tense every muscle in your body beginning with the toes and working up to the head. Hold the tension for ten counts and relax completely for thirty counts. Repeat five times.

If you want more information on TEST TAKING, you can:

register for University 1105 "Foundations of College Success" for 3 credit hours (contact the FYE Office, 626-6752 or for more information)

OR

sign up for a free seminar on TEST TAKING skills (contact Student Support Services, 626-7009 [WSU-Ogden campus] or 395-3491 [WSU-Davis campus])

OR

get free counseling on TEST ANXIETY AND STRESS MANAGEMENT (contact Counseling and Psychological Services, 626-6406)

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TEXTBOOK STUDY

  1. Do you study in area where you are disturbed by noise?
  2. Do you read your textbook chapter without first looking over the headings and illustrations?
  3. Is it difficult for you to pick out the main ideas in a reading assignment?
  4. When taking notes from the chapter, do you copy information word for word?

If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you may need help with your TEXTBOOK STUDY skills. Here are some tips which may help you.

Time and Environment

  1. Find a private and permanent place where you have room for your notebook and textbooks.
  2. Be comfortable, but don’t recline because you may fall asleep.
  3. Study in quiet: most people do not study well hearing music, television, or people talking in the background. If you don’t have this atmosphere at home, then use school or community facilities such as study lounges and libraries.

Reading

The reading system presented here is the SQ3R method developed by Francis P. Robinson in 1941. The steps for reading are the following: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review.

The reading system presented here is the SQ3R method developed by Francis P. Robinson in 1941. The steps for reading are the following:
  1. Survey: Survey the entire chapter before reading. Read the chapter title, headings, and subheadings of each section. Look over pictures, graphs, and charts. Read questions or summaries at the end of the chapter. You may want to read the first and last paragraphs of each section.
  2. Question: As you preview the chapter, ask yourself questions to spark your interest, such as:
    1. What is this topic about? 
    2. What are the main categories of this topic? 
    3. What do I know about this topic? 
    4. What do I want to know about this topic? 
    5. What does the author want me to remember about this information? 
    6. How can I best learn this material? Answering these questions will focus your attention and help you to avoid daydreaming.
  3. Read: Read the chapter carefully now for meaning. Determine the main idea in each paragraph and highlight it or write it down. Look up words you don’t know and write the definition by the word in the book. Summarize key ideas in your own words.
  4. Recite: Recite from memory the main points in the chapter. Speak out loud if you can. Hearing your own voice will assist your memory.
  5. Review: Review the information in the chapter at periodic intervals. Reread the highlighted information and be sure it is committed to memory.

If you want more information on TEXTBOOK STUDY, you can:

register for University 1105 "Foundations of College Success" for 3 credit hours (contact the FYE Office, 626-6752 or for more information)

OR

sign up for a free seminar on TEXTBOOK STUDY skills (contact Student Support Services, 626-7009 [WSU-Ogden campus] or 395-3491 [WSU-Davis campus])

Back to Effective Study Skills List


TIME MANAGEMENT

  1. Do you put off preparing papers until the last minute?
  2. Do you spend time watching TV, reading magazines, or sleeping when you should be studying?
  3. Do you neglect your studying due to social activities?
  4. Do you sometimes discover an assignment is due sooner than you thought it was?

If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you may need help with your TIME MANAGEMENT skills. Here are some tips which may help you.

  1. Plan Ahead
    1. Use a calendar to plan long range assignments and daily tasks; then if several assignments are due at once, you will know in advance.
    2. Schedule fixed blocks of time: for studying and for fun. Thinking you will "fit in" study time is not realistic. Plan at least two hours of study time per day per credit hour you are taking.
  2. Prioritize
    1. Prioritize your tasks and assignments for each day: keep in mind what must be done today and what could be shifted to tomorrow.
    2. After prioritizing, do the most difficult task first.
  3. Have a written and a visual system
    1. Write down tasks and cross off the list when completed: this gives a sense of accomplishment and helps to focus on the next assignment.
    2. Have a visual reminder system: look at your calendar/list frequently or hang reminder notes in places you see: your car dashboard, the bathroom mirror, the outside of your notebook.

If you want more information on TIME MANAGEMENT, you can:

register for University 1105 "Foundations of College Success" for 3 credit hours (contact the FYE Office, 626-6752 or for more information)

OR

sign up for a free seminar on TIME MANAGEMENT skills (contact Student Support Services, 626-7009 [WSU-Ogden campus] or 395-3491 [WSU-Davis campus])

Back to Effective Study Skills List


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