Study “sprints,” not “marathons”

Part of my job is to provide students an idea of how they will be earn a grade. At the same time, I can’t tell students precisely what will be on the exam for three reasons. First, evidence gathered over several semesters suggests that students who prepare without a study guide perform significantly better (average of 1 letter grade higher) on tests. In addition, giving students a list of topics won’t explain how questions are phrased, nor the connections to be made. Finally, in a workplace environment, you have to know things that may not be explicitly stated to you.

What I CAN do (i.e., what I’m doing in this post) is provide you with study tips.

  1. Read the textbook. Simple as it sounds, using the SQ3R method we discussed in class, as well as reviewing your notes will drastically improve your memory of materials.
  2. Make connections to life. Try to find a way to connect the topics from class and the textbook to your daily existence. You will likely find that you are able to better understand materials if you do.
  3. Use textbook “extras.” Since the textbook offers both objectives at the beginning of each chapter and review questions at the end, they offer some key components for you. You might use the objectives as a checklist (“I know that!”) and the questions as a review session.
  4. Study together. Students in my class work with other people; talk about the material. If you can talk intelligently about a concept, you probably understand it.
  5. Review online resources. Check out the links, handouts, and information provided to you on eLearning and this blog. These are frequently even better explanations than I can offer in our limited class time… that said:
  6. Ask questions. If something stumps you, ask me! That’s why we have class sessions.

If you struggle with a concept, please don’t hesitate to come talk to me. We can review the materials together. As a reminder, I have scheduled review time (and speech rehearsal time) on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in the classroom. Come visit me, and we can go over materials individually or in small groups.

Happy studying!


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