Study Skills

Understand the class syllabus

  • Understand the objective of the course.
    • Make notes of material you will need for the class and be sure you have access to them.
    • Know when all assignments and exams are due and note them on your calendar (possibly including a note in the previous week also.)
    • Understand the grading policy and procedures. Note late-work penalties and Academic Honesty policies.

Prepare for each class

  • Read in your textbook (or other resources) before you go to class.
    • Note for topic for discussion and read that section of your book.
    • Take special note of the introduction and objectives for the chapter.
    • Read carefully the headings, subheadings, bold and italics print, and captions under pictures, figures, and tables.
    • Read the summary or conclusion.
    • Read the questions and study materials at the end of the chapters.
  • Now read the chapter and use your preview of the chapter to read for meaning.
    • Turn the headings into questions.
    • Take notes in the margins of the chapters.
    • Talk the concepts through, either aloud or silently.
  • After you finish reading, review.
    • Answer the questions at the end of the chapter.
    • Write down everything that you can remember from your reading and then review what you can't remember.
    • Make note cards or a list of key terms and concepts.

Take notes during class

  • If you are given an outline for the lecture, fill it in with details.
  • If you have been given a copy of the power-point, use your highlighter to mark important items and a pen/pencil to add important points.
  • Use your note-taking as a way to carry on a dialogue with the professor. Having a "conversation" in your mind with the professor and actively taking notes will help you stay alert and attentive in class.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Keep the question on task.
  • Keep in mind, after reading through the chapter you may find you don’t need to write as much down – you can find it easily in the book.

Review your notes as soon as you can after class.

  • Make corrections.
  • Clarify your ideas.
  • Make of list of questions that you find the answers to in the textbook or that you ask the professor.
  • After you review the notes from today's class, review and study the notes from the last three classes.

Study outside of class

  • Plan to study at least two hours outside of class for every hour you spend inside of class. For example, if you have a three-hour class, you should plan to spend six hours study time outside of the class time per week.
  • Schedule study time into your daily routine.
  • Be aware of the best time of day for you to study.

Use a regular study area. Consider the following when selecting a study area:

  • Make sure there is good lighting.
  • The study area should be free of distractions. You may need to find a different place other than your residence hall room. If you must study in your room, turn off the TV or stereo. Turn off your cell phone. Post a do not disturb sign on your door.
    • Don't get too comfortable. Lying on the bed would not be a good idea if you have trouble staying awake when you study.
    • Consider places around campus you can go – residence hall study room, residence hall lounge, library, learning or writing center, Eyrie café, or some other place where you are comfortable and won’t be distracted.