September 14, 2015

Sharpen Your Study Skills

By Marybeth Norcross

study skillsGood study skills are a requirement for student success. Even if you’ve never had to study much before, you will need strong study habits to meet the rigorous academic requirements at UAMS. Don’t wait until you are falling behind to develop your study skills. Take control and start now.

Take Time to Prepare

Study skills begin before a class session. Students with the best study skills plan for their class meetings. Review your class syllabus and schedule so that you know what content the instructor plans to cover during the class session. Before each class, skim materials like your textbook to get an organizational snapshot of the content. Read the learning objectives, headings and subheadings, and pay attention to charts and graphs. You will be much more open to receiving explanations, details, and facts from your instructor if you have a general understanding of how the topics are connected. Your notes from the class sessions will be more meaningful if you take the time to prepare.

Be Active and Participate in Class

study skillsGood study skills are rooted in how actively you listen and participate in your classes. To maximize your ability to retain and understand information, you need to be completely engaged in your learning. This begins with being an active listener. Don’t sit passively and let information drift over you. Instead, take notes and ask questions. Don’t try to write every word. Use short phrases and abbreviations but be careful that what you write is meaningful, because you will need to understand it later when you review your notes and materials. If you ask a question, make sure you can restate it in your notes so that you fully understand it. If you took the time to preview the material for the class session, you will already understand the general outline and organization of the material your instructor is covering which should make note-taking more efficient.

Plan for Reviewing

Good study skills include multiple opportunities for reviewing your notes and materials. Plan to review your notes the same day as your class session, or at least within 24 hours. Reviewing your notes shortly after the class session will allow you to check that you understood the material presented, and that your notes are clear and complete. Mark anything in your notes that you don’t understand. Then you can go back to your resources and find the information you need.

study skillsIn addition to the same-day review, you will want to schedule study sessions on the days your classes don’t meet, like on the weekends. Use that time to review your notes and materials, re-read portions of your textbooks, summarize information in your own works, make connections between newer and older information, and test yourself through self-questioning and practice questions. Try to schedule some review time with other students in your classes. Explaining the material to another student is an excellent check of how well you understand what you learned. Listening to a peer’s explanation can give you a new perspective on the content as well.

Helpful Resources

The Student Success Center’s website has resources to help you improve your study skills, including information on how you learn and retain information, reading strategies, study strategies, and test taking skills. For more information, visit the Learning Resources page.

You need good study skills to be academically successful at UAMS. Taking time to prepare, being active and participating in class, and planning for reviewing your notes and materials will help make the hours you spend studying more productive and increase your academic achievement.



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