August 29, 2016

Step Up Your Study Skills

By Marybeth Norcross

Good 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 requirements at UAMS. Don’t wait until you are falling behind to step up your study skills. Take control and start now.

Step Up Your Preparation

picture of an open textbookStepping up begins before a class session. Students with the best study skills prepare for their class meetings. Review your class syllabus and schedule so that you know what the instructor plans to cover during the class session. Before each class, skim materials like your textbook to get an overview of the content. Read the learning objectives, headings and subheadings, and pay attention to charts and graphs. You will be ready for the explanations, details, and facts from your instructor if you have a general idea of how the content is connected. Your notes from the class sessions will be more meaningful if you take the time to prepare.

Step Up your Participation

picture of a student taking notesStepping up your participation means you are completely engaged in your learning. Start with active listening. Don’t sit passively and let information drift over you. Take notes and ask questions. 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. If you ask a question, make sure you can restate the answer 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 which should make note-taking more efficient.

Step Up Your Review Process

Step up by including multiple opportunities for reviewing your notes and materials. Plan to review your notes within 24 hours of your class session. This 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 and then go back and find the information you missed.

picture of students studyingSchedule study sessions on the days your classes don’t meet, and if possible, schedule some review time with other students in your classes. Review your notes, re-read portions of your textbooks, summarize information in your own words, and test yourself by creating practice questions. Explain the material to another student to check how well you understand what you learned.

Step Up Your Support

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 Support page. If you want more personalized help, use the Academic Coaching Request to make an appointment with a Learning Specialist to find the strategies that will work best for you.

You need good study skills to be successful at UAMS. Stepping up your preparation, participation, and review process  will help make the hours you spend studying more productive and increase your academic achievement.