September 25, 2018

Instructor Blog: Study Tips for New Students

By B&SC Blog Team

Instructor Blog: Study Tips for New Students

Are you Studying Effectively?

Picture this. You have spent hundreds of dollars on new textbooks for your classes and you are eagerly waiting for them to be delivered. You come home from work and slice open the box to find three brand new, brightly colored textbooks that are shrink-wrapped and just begging you to open them!

You flip open your laptop and check your course homepage to make sure you have the correct books and you hit the jackpot – all 3 books are what you need so you rip off the protective covering and spend the evening snuggled up in your reading chair, sipping your favorite drink while enjoying your new books.

While reading your texts, you carefully highlight everything that is important – at least half of each page — and then re-read each chapter 2 more times. A couple days later, confidently you open your quiz and then all of a sudden your heart stops beating – you cannot remember anything that you read, even though you spent hours combing through your book, and you end up failing the first quiz! You are now panic stricken and don’t know what to do.

Does this sound like you? If so, you are not alone! One of the most common emails I receive is from a frustrated student who failed a quiz even though she spent hours reading her textbook. The good news is there is a better way to learn.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, found “that when [students] re-read a textbook chapter, they have absolutely no improvement in learning over those who just read it once.” So what should you do?

How to Study Effectively for College

First, put down the highlighter and follow a new plan.

Get the Most from Reading the Textbook

  1. Ask Questions: Before you read the chapter you will want to ask yourself questions like “What do I need to learn from this chapter?” and “How does this new knowledge build on what I already know?”
  2. Read with Purpose: While keeping these questions in mind, read the chapter while answering the end-of-chapter questions in a notebook or on your computer. Focus on making connections in your brain between what you already know about the topic and what you need to learn.
  3. Use Drawings: Some students find it helpful to draw pictures showing the connections between old and new information.

Review Regularly

Reviewing your course materials regularly will strengthen your ability to recall information.

  • Flashcards, apps, and online resources from the textbook are all easy to use and effective tools to strengthen your ability to recall information.
  • Practice often during small periods of time during your day and avoid cramming the night before the test.
  • Skip scheduling large blocks of time to study (who has time for this anyways?) as your brain needs time to make new connections and you need to practice retrieving the information on demand.

Next time you are tempted to read your textbook like a novel or with a highlighter in hand, remember these study tips to help you maximize your learning and success in your classes.

Check back often to get more tips for college on our blog or if you are thinking of applying, contact the Admissions office for information about degree programs at Bryant & Stratton College.

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