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Study Skills, Fys, Spring 2008


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Advice for studying in college. Includes information for reading, listening to lectures, taking notes, preparing for and taking tests.

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Study Skills, Fys, Spring 2008

  1. 1. GRAHAM GARNER FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR SPRING 2008, SECTION 8 Study Skills: Strategies for Learning and Testing Adapted from “Thriving in College & Beyond,” by Joseph B. Cuseo, Viki Sox Fecas, and Aaron Thompson
  2. 2. Stages in Learning: Perception <ul><li>This is about getting information into your brain </li></ul><ul><li>Perception requires attention </li></ul><ul><li>Two key sensory channels for learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hearing, such as listening to lectures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeing, such as reading </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Stages in Learning: Storage <ul><li>Three forms of memory: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short-term, lasting for seconds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working, consciously holding it and working on it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long-term, storing something and being able to recall it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Memory is like a computer document </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information on the screen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work on the document </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Save the information for later retrieval </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hippocampus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coding: process of transferring from working to long-term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Memory trace: a physical or biological trace in the brain </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Stages in Learning: Retrieval <ul><li>“ Tip of the tongue” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Listening to Lectures <ul><li>Focus your attention through selective attention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information instructors put in writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information presented in first and last few minutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information communicated through v erbal (key phrases, repeating), vocal (pitch and rate) and nonverbal (facial expressions, body movement) cues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seating: Maximum attention, minimum distraction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Front and center is best </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social seating: Affects behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Posture: Check yourself to see if you’re listening </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Upright and leaning forward </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Taking Notes <ul><li>Get organized: Each idea gets its own paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>Make them yours: Don’t rely on others’ notes </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t stop: If you don’t understand, keep going </li></ul><ul><li>Compare: Consult syllabus to see where you are </li></ul><ul><li>Arrive early: Review your notes and assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Missing links: Check for gaps, incomplete thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect: Review as soon as possible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take notes on your notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Translate technical information into your own words </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reorganize your notes to group related ideas together </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Reading Textbooks <ul><li>Before reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See how assigned reading fits into overall book and course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preview chapters through headings, outlines, summaries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>During reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Read selectively by noting or highlighting key concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjust reading speed to subject matter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look up meaning of unfamiliar words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take written notes on your reading </li></ul></ul><ul><li>After reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finish with a short review of your notes and highlighting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborate with peers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at how other textbooks treat a concept </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Study Strategies <ul><li>Minimize distractions: Don’t multitask </li></ul><ul><li>Find meaning in terms: Do vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Compare and contrast: What do you already know? </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate information: Organize it together </li></ul><ul><li>Divide and conquer: Distributed practice method </li></ul><ul><li>Part-to-whole method: Break it up, then put it together </li></ul><ul><li>Begin with review: Start new study with review of previous study </li></ul><ul><li>Change things up: Study different things in different places </li></ul><ul><li>Use all your senses: Diversify your “memory traces” </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional learning: Intensity strengthens memory </li></ul><ul><li>Study groups: Learn through social interaction </li></ul>
  9. 9. Memorization Strategies: Mnemonic Devices <ul><li>Meaningful association: “Spring forward, fall back” </li></ul><ul><li>Organization: 208-282-4407 vs. 2-0-8-2-8-2-4-4-0-7 </li></ul><ul><li>Visualization: > means “greater than,” eats smaller items </li></ul><ul><li>Rhythm and rhyme: “I before E, except after C” </li></ul><ul><li>Acrostics: FOIL or Every Good Boy Does Fine (treble) </li></ul><ul><li>Link system: Make a list, arrange it, make associations between each </li></ul><ul><li>Loci system: Take a familiar location, associate list of items with elements of location, take an imaginary walk </li></ul>
  10. 10. Test-taking Strategies: Before the Test <ul><li>Be well-prepared, don’t cram, and get good sleep </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust study strategies to test type </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition: multiple choice, true-false, matching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recall: short answer, essay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Paired-associate recall: memory for single piece of information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Free recall: memory for two or more, in any sequence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Serial recall: memory for two or more, in specific sequence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recitation: active retrieval, clear feedback, your own understanding </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creation of retrieval cues: catchwords and acronyms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Match study environment to test environment </li></ul>
  11. 11. Test-taking Strategies: Day of the Test <ul><li>Come fully equipped </li></ul><ul><li>Eat to learn </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eat breakfast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it a light meal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eat fruit instead of candy for energy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid caffeine </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Arrive early </li></ul><ul><li>Sit in the same seat </li></ul>
  12. 12. Test-taking Strategies: During the Test <ul><li>Write down mnemonic devices and hard-to-remember terms, formulas, equations </li></ul><ul><li>Answer easier questions first </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Makes efficient use of time, gets points under your belt </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Overcome memory block with strategies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guided retrieval, recall related materials, trust your subconscious </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Manage test anxiety </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on here and now, focus on test, don’t focus on time, be positive, keep the test in perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiple choice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look for qualifying words, longest answers, middle answers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to change answers </li></ul>
  13. 13. Test-taking Strategies: During the Test <ul><li>Essay questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Remember major points </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Improve organization </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have an idea in advance to reduce anxiety </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Outline can substitute for incomplete questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get to the point </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer precisely and completely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cite specific evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave extra space for additions after further recall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proofread; neatness counts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review and double-check before turning it in </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Test-taking Strategies: After the Test <ul><li>Troubleshoot errors and lost points </li></ul><ul><li>Seek quality feedback </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prompt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Early in the learning process </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Did you have the information you needed? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you have the information, but not study it? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you know the information, but not well enough? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you study the material, but not understand it? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you know the material, but fail to retrieve it? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you know the answer, but make a careless mistake? </li></ul>