Studying 101: Study Smarter Not Harder
Do you ever feel like your learn habits just aren ’ thyroxine cutting it ? Do you wonder what you could be doing to perform better in class and on exams ? many students realize that their high school study habits aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate very effective in college. This is apprehensible, as college is quite different from high gear school. The professors are less personally involved, classes are bigger, exams are worth more, reading is more intense, and classes are much more rigorous. That doesn ’ t intend there ’ s anything wrong with you ; it good means you need to learn some more effective study skills. fortunately, there are many active, effective study strategies that are shown to be effective in college classes .
This handout offers several tips on effective study. Implementing these tips into your unconstipated survey everyday will help you to efficiently and efficaciously determine course material. experiment with them and find some that work for you .
Reading is not studying
Simply reading and re-reading textbook or notes is not actively engaging in the material. It is just re-reading your notes. only ‘ doing ’ the readings for class is not studying. It is just doing the read for class. Re-reading leads to quick forget.
think of reading as an important part of pre-studying, but learning data requires actively engaging in the material ( Edwards, 2014 ). active engagement is the action of constructing meaning from text that involves making connections to lectures, forming examples, and regulating your own learn ( Davis, 2007 ). active agent learn does not mean highlighting or underlining text, re-reading, or rote memorization. Though these activities may help to keep you engaged in the task, they are not considered active studying techniques and are decrepit related to improved learn ( Mackenzie, 1994 ) .
Ideas for active studying include :
- Create a study guide by topic. Formulate questions and problems and write complete answers. Create your own quiz.
- Become a teacher. Say the information aloud in your own words as if you are the instructor and teaching the concepts to a class.
- Derive examples that relate to your own experiences.
- Create concept maps or diagrams that explain the material.
- Develop symbols that represent concepts.
- For non-technical classes (e.g., English, History, Psychology), figure out the big ideas so you can explain, contrast, and re-evaluate them.
- For technical classes, work the problems and explain the steps and why they work.
- Study in terms of question, evidence, and conclusion: What is the question posed by the instructor/author? What is the evidence that they present? What is the conclusion?
organization and plan will help you to actively study for your courses. When studying for a trial, organize your materials first and then begin your active review by topic ( Newport, 2007 ). much professors provide subtopics on the course of study. Use them as a steer to help organize your materials. For exemplar, gather all of the materials for one topic ( for example, PowerPoint notes, text book notes, articles, homework, etc. ) and put them in concert in a pile. Label each pile with the subject and study by topics .
For more data on the principle behind active voice study, check out our tipsheet on metacognition .
Understand the Study Cycle
The Study Cycle, developed by Frank Christ, breaks down the different parts of studying : preview, attending class, reviewing, studying, and checking your sympathize. Although each tone may seem obvious at a glance, all excessively much students try to take shortcuts and miss opportunities for good memorize. For case, you may skip a take before class because the professor covers the like material in class ; doing so misses a key opportunity to learn in different modes ( reading and listening ) and to benefit from the repetition and distributed practice ( see # 3 below ) that you ’ ll catch from both reading ahead and attending class. Understanding the importance of all stages of this bicycle will help make sure you don ’ thymine miss opportunities to learn efficaciously .
Spacing out is good
One of the most impactful memorize strategies is “ stagger practice ” —spacing out your studying over several short periods of prison term over several days and weeks ( Newport, 2007 ). The most effective practice is to work a short time on each class every day. The full sum of meter spent studying will be the same ( or less ) than one or two marathon library sessions, but you will learn the data more deeply and retain much more for the retentive term—which will help get you an A on the concluding. The important thing is how you use your study time, not how retentive you study. Long study sessions lead to a lack of concentration and therefore a miss of learn and retention .
In orderliness to spread out studying over short periods of clock across several days and weeks, you need control over your schedule. Keeping a list of tasks to complete on a casual footing will help you to include regular active learn sessions for each class. Try to do something for each class each day. Be specific and naturalistic regarding how retentive you plan to spend on each task—you should not have more tasks on your list than you can reasonably accomplished during the day .
For model, you may do a few problems per sidereal day in mathematics preferably than all of them the hour before classify. In history, you can spend 15-20 minutes each day actively studying your class notes. therefore, your studying time may calm be the lapp length, but rather than only preparing for one class, you will be preparing for all of your classes in short stretches. This will help focus, stay on top of your study, and retain information .
In addition to learning the corporeal more deeply, spacing out your work helps stave off dilatoriness. Rather than having to face the awful project for four hours on Monday, you can face the awful project for 30 minutes each day. The shorter, more reproducible time to work on a fear project is probable to be more acceptable and less probable to be delayed to the last minute. last, if you have to memorize material for class ( names, dates, formulas ), it is best to make flashcards for this material and review sporadically throughout the day rather than one long, memorization seance ( Wissman and Rawson, 2012 ). See our handout on memorization strategies to learn more .
It’s good to be intense
not all study is equal. You will accomplish more if you study intensively. intensive analyze sessions are short and will allow you to get cultivate done with minimal neutralize effort. Shorter, intensive study times are more effective than drawn out studying .
In fact, one of the most impactful discipline strategies is distributing studying over multiple sessions ( Newport, 2007 ). intensive discipline sessions can last 30 or 45-minute sessions and include active agent studying strategies. For model, self-testing is an active study scheme that improves the saturation of studying and efficiency of learning. however, planning to spend hours on end self-testing is probably to cause you to become distracted and lose your attention .
On the early hand, if you plan to quiz yourself on the course material for 45 minutes and then take a break, you are much more likely to maintain your care and retain the data. furthermore, the inadequate, more acute sessions will likely put the coerce on that is needed to prevent dilatoriness .
Silence isn’t golden
Know where you study best. The secrecy of a library may not be the best set for you. It ’ second important to consider what randomness environment works best for you. You might find that you concentrate better with some backdrop noise. Some people find that listening to authoritative music while studying helps them concentrate, while others find this highly distracting. The point is that the hush of the library may be merely as distracting ( or more ) than the noise of a gymnasium. thus, if hush is distracting, but you prefer to study in the library, try the inaugural or second floors where there is more setting ‘ buzz. ’
Keep in heed that active study is rarely mum as it frequently requires saying the corporeal loudly .
Problems are your friend
Working and re-working problems is significant for technical courses ( for example, mathematics, economics ). Be able to explain the steps of the problems and why they work .
In technical courses, it is normally more authoritative to work problems than read the text ( Newport, 2007 ). In class, write down in detail the exercise problems demonstrated by the professor. Annotate each step and ask questions if you are confused. At the very least, record the wonder and the answer ( even if you miss the steps ) .
When preparing for tests, put together a large tilt of problems from the course materials and lectures. Work the problems and explain the steps and why they work ( Carrier, 2003 ) .
A meaning measure of research indicates that multi-tasking does not improve efficiency and actually negatively affects results ( Junco, 2012 ) .
In order to study smart, not harder, you will need to eliminate distractions during your analyze sessions. Social media, web crop, game play, texting, etc. will badly affect the volume of your study sessions if you allow them ! research is clear that multi-tasking ( for example, responding to texts, while studying ), increases the amount of time needed to learn substantial and decreases the quality of the eruditeness ( Junco, 2012 ) .
Eliminating the distractions will allow you to amply engage during your cogitation sessions. If you don ’ t need your calculator for homework, then don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate consumption it. Use apps to help you set limits on the amount of time you can spend at certain sites during the day. Turn your telephone off. Reward intensive studying with a social-media break ( but make indisputable you prison term your break ! ) See our handout on managing engineering for more tips and strategies .
Switch up your setting
Find several places to study in and around campus and change up your space if you find that it is no longer a working outer space for you.
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Know when and where you study best. It may be that your concentrate at 10:00 PM. is not vitamin a abrupt as at 10:00 AM. possibly you are more productive at a coffee bean shop with background randomness, or in the cogitation lounge in your residence hall. possibly when you study on your bed, you fall asleep .
Have a variety of places in and around campus that are good study environments for you. That way wherever you are, you can find your perfect study spot. After a while, you might find that your blemish is besides comfortable and no long is a good place to study, so it ’ mho time to hop to a newly spot !
Become a teacher
Try to explain the substantial in your own words, as if you are the teacher. You can do this in a study group, with a study partner, or on your own. Saying the corporeal loudly will point out where you are confused and need more information and will help you retain the information. As you are explaining the substantial, function examples and make connections between concepts ( equitable as a teacher does ). It is o ( even encouraged ) to do this with your notes in your hands. At beginning you may need to rely on your notes to explain the corporeal, but finally you ’ ll be able to teach it without your notes .
Creating a quiz for yourself will help you to think like your professor. What does your professor want you to know ? Quizzing yourself is a highly effective study technique. Make a study scout and carry it with you so you can review the questions and answers sporadically throughout the day and across several days. Identify the questions that you don ’ thyroxine know and quiz yourself on only those questions. Say your answers aloud. This will help you to retain the information and make corrections where they are needed. For technical courses, do the sample distribution problems and explain how you got from the question to the answer. Re-do the problems that give you trouble. Learning the material in this manner actively engages your brain and will importantly improve your memory ( Craik, 1975 ) .
Take control of your calendar
Controlling your schedule and your distractions will help you to accomplish your goals .
If you are in operate of your calendar, you will be able to complete your assignments and stay on top of your coursework. The following are steps to getting control of your calendar :
- On the same day each week, (perhaps Sunday nights or Saturday mornings) plan out your schedule for the week.
- Go through each class and write down what you’d like to get completed for each class that week.
- Look at your calendar and determine how many hours you have to complete your work.
- Determine whether your list can be completed in the amount of time that you have available. (You may want to put the amount of time expected to complete each assignment.) Make adjustments as needed. For example, if you find that it will take more hours to complete your work than you have available, you will likely need to triage your readings. Completing all of the readings is a luxury. You will need to make decisions about your readings based on what is covered in class. You should read and take notes on all of the assignments from the favored class source (the one that is used a lot in the class). This may be the textbook or a reading that directly addresses the topic for the day. You can likely skim supplemental readings.
- Pencil into your calendar when you plan to get assignments completed.
- Before going to bed each night, make your plan for the next day. Waking up with a plan will make you more productive.
See our handout on calendars and college for more tips on using calendars as time management .
Use downtime to your advantage
Beware of ‘ easy ’ weeks. This is the composure before the storm. Lighter work weeks are a capital time to get ahead on bring or to start long projects. Use the extra hours to get ahead on assignments or start big projects or papers. You should plan to work on every course every workweek even if you don ’ t have anything due. In fact, it is preferable to do some study for each of your classes every day. Spending 30 minutes per class each day will add up to three hours per workweek, but spreading this prison term out over six days is more effective than cramming it all in during one hanker three-hour seance. If you have completed all of the cultivate for a particular class, then use the 30 minutes to get ahead or start a longer project .
Use all your resources
Remember that you can make an appointment with an academician coach to work on implementing any of the strategies suggested in this handout .
Carrier, L. M. ( 2003 ). college students ’ choices of study strategies. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 96 ( 1 ), 54-56 .
Craik, F. I., & Tulving, E. ( 1975 ). Depth of action and the memory of words in episodic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology : General, 104 ( 3 ), 268 .
Davis, S. G., & Gray, E. S. ( 2007 ). Going beyond test-taking strategies : Building self-regulated students and teachers. Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 1 ( 1 ), 31-47 .
Edwards, A. J., Weinstein, C. E., Goetz, E. T., & Alexander, P. A. ( 2014 ). Learning and cogitation strategies : Issues in assessment, instruction, and evaluation. Elsevier .
Junco, R., & Cotten, S. R. ( 2012 ). No A 4 uracil : The relationship between multitasking and academic performance. Computers & Education, 59 ( 2 ), 505-514 .
Mackenzie, A. M. ( 1994 ). Examination cooking, anxiety and examen operation in a group of adult students. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 13 ( 5 ), 373-388 .
McGuire, S.Y. & McGuire, S. ( 2016 ). Teach Students How to Learn : Strategies You Can Incorporate in Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Stylus Publishing, LLC .
Newport, C. ( 2006 ). How to become a straight-a scholar : the unconventional strategies real college students use to score high while studying less. Three Rivers Press .
Paul, K. ( 1996 ). Study fresh, not harder. Self Counsel Press .
Robinson, A. ( 1993 ). What smart students know : maximum grades, optimum teach, minimum time. Crown trade paperbacks .
Wissman, K. T., Rawson, K. A., & Pyc, M. A. ( 2012 ). How and when do students use flashcards ? Memory, 20, 568-579.
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