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Study Tips

(adapted from Patty Randolph materials)
  1. Schedule
    A. Record on a calendar all exams, papers, etc. Try using a monthly calendar so you can easily look ahead to projects.
    B. Block out your study time (2 hours for each 1 hour in class). Consider this as unbreakable as a concert date or doctor visit. It is, after all, acquiring the skills for the rest of your life. Study deserves at least as much attention as pleasure or health.
    C. Work toward a balanced life: time for study, health (good eating and sleeping), rest, family and friends.
    D. Use small blocks of time to do appropriately sized tasks. While waiting for your next class to begin, summarize or reflect on the content of your last class.

  2. Create an Environment for Optimal Study
    A. Reduce distractions-- select a place that is quiet and has few interruptions. Select a time when you are physically able to study.
    B. Don't study in bed-- it can make it hard to go to sleep and hard to concentrate on reading.
    C. Phone: take it off the hook or turn off the ringer
    D. Train others to respect your environment.
    E. Use the same music to start your study time, soon it will be a conditioned cue to concentrate.
    F. Stop unproductive thoughts by replacing them with positive or constructive thoughts.
    G. Make studying a habit.
    H. Get yourself physically comfortable (bathroom, clothing) to minimize distractions.
    I. If you think you simply must clean your room or do x before starting and you have lived with the situation for several days-- you are avoiding. Think instead, "I simply must read Chemistry before I get to Sociology."

  3. How to Study
    A. Some prefer to start with the hardest task, some "prime the pump" with the easiest. Avoid putting off difficult material. End with your favorite material or look at it periodically throughout your study time as a reward for doing the harder material.
    B. Select a technique appropriate to the material, e.g., math requires reading slowly and working multiple examples. Look at study skills books for complete explanations of SQ4R (Survey, question, read, recite, review); PAT (Preview, Attack, Test).
    C. Outline. Only underline the most important sentence in each paragraph-- making that decision is what teaches you the material. Even better, outline on separate paper. Perhaps use large sheets so you can outline an entire chapter on one page and see the overview.
    D. Take breaks, but don't go far and don't go near people. Learn what distracts you and schedule time to do it. Save your study time for study.
    E. If having difficulty concentrating, work for 5 minutes, rest for 5 and gradually increase the study time. If distracted by another idea, write it down and set it aside.

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Website created: June 1996. Page Created: July 1996. Last Modified: August 4, 2000.