Our study group leaders care about your success, and because of this, they have compiled a list of study skills that they believe are essential for you to attain your goals. The following are study skills that study group leaders convey during their study groups; these will help you throughout your university career:
- Read the chapter outline and summary before reading the whole chapter.
- Take breaks while reading! These breaks will refresh your mind.
- Highlight important concepts, but don’t highlight everything either!
- Read important concepts before attending a lecture. You will better understand what the professor is lecturing.
- Look up words you don’t understand and make sure you put them in context.
- Because it’s next to impossible to write in full sentences during a lecture, write in point form (bulleted text).
- Don’t know what’s important or not? Write it down when a professor:
- Says it will be on a quiz, midterm or exam, or will be essential for an assignment.
- Repeats information.
- Writes information down on the overhead or chalkboard.
Above all, your goals need to be effective. To be so, your goals will need to be:
- Simple, yet specific. For example, you may tell yourself that you will do X Calculus problems in your textbook, as opposed to as many as you can in an hour.
- Measurable. Make sure that your goal allows you to evaluate your progress. If you are not achieving your goal, re-evaluate your goal and alter it. If you are satisfied with your progress, reward yourself (ex. participating in a CASPAR activity!).
- Realistic. Know your limits. If you have been unable to achieve the same goal in the past, modify the goal so that it is attainable. For example, your goal might have been to be self-sufficient in receiving an A in your course; however, you know that you will need the help of a study group or a tutor to achieve the same goal this semester.
- Time limited. A larger goal (ex. getting an A in your course) can be broken down into smaller, more controllable goals (ex. studying on Monday and Tuesday evenings in order receive an 80 per cent on your next midterm, handing in your lab by next Thursday, etc.)
- Write out your tasks and prioritize. Plan ahead and make a schedule.
- Block off time according to priorities given. Make sure time blocks are short and varied to keep them manageable.
- Make sure to include rest and play time.
- Keep a calendar with all important events.
- Find a place that will serve as a study area only! Find a study lounge or study in the library. Avoid doing other activities in your study area.
- Make sure that your study area has good ventilation, good lighting, a comfortable chair and a large desk.
- Avoid distractions. This includes other people, and appliances such as radios, televisions, MP3 players, and telephones.
- Take breaks during your study period. For example, for every 50 minutes you study, take a 10-minute break.
- Associate real-life examples with theory. For example, if you are learning the stages of development of a child, and you are in contact with a child, try to associate the child’s developmental achievements with what you are learning in class.
- Do not cram information before an exam. It is better to gradually retain information. Start studying well in advance for an exam.
- Study first the items you want to remember longest.
- Use your imagination! Close your eyes and visualize what you are learning (imagine two hydrogen molecules bonding with an oxygen molecule to form water).
- Brainstorm ideas and find supporting material.
- Make sure to use a variety of sources. Remember to cite them correctly and include a bibliography.
- Create an essay plan including a thesis statement and paragraph divisions of all main supporting arguments.
- Write a first draft.
- Revise after taking some time away from your work. Make all/any necessary changes.
- Ask a friend to revise and suggest changes or visit the Academic Writing Help Centre.
- Proofread for grammatical, spelling and format errors.
Before an Exam
- Be well rested and make sure to eat beforehand.
- Choose a quiet area to study. Avoid going to the exam room too early in advance as you will encounter nervous and anxious people who may make you worried yourself.
- Bring all necessary equipment: pencils, erasers, pens, calculator and student card.
- Go to the washroom before the start of the exam. Professors and TAs will not let you leave unless you officially hand in your exam.
During an Exam
- Do not panic, as this will affect your performance.
- Think positively!
- Start with questions that you are certain of the answers.
- Manage your time. Be aware of the time at all times!
- On a multiple choice exam, read the questions carefully and look for key words. Also, adopt the process of elimination (ex. "I know that the answer can’t be A, C or D, so chances are, it’s B")
- Keep your eyes on your exam. Professors and TAs will not tolerate any form of fraud.