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Study Hints and Shortcuts

What exactly should you be doing during your study time?

Studying is not as hard as you think. Sure, it takes time and effort, but if you follow a few proven study techniques, you can decrease the amount of time you spend at the books and increase the amount you learn. In fact, we are convinced that study skills play as important a role in college success as intelligence.

Seventeen Ways to Study Smarter

1. Attend Class

Your teacher has already identified the highlights and important points of your textbook. Since it's the
information your professor thinks is important that will appear on the test or exam, it makes sense to go to
class and find out what that is. Pay attention to last five weeks of the semester. It's been said that 50
percent of course's work takes place in the last third of the term.

2. Know your Instructor

Learn what's needed to get through each subject. Study the syllabus (course outline) and refer to it
periodically to make sure you're on track. Find out your instructor's testing format, grading/marking system
and expectations. You'll be able to tailor your work to meet his requirements.

3. Schedule regular study periods.

The most effective way to learn anything is to rehearse it regularly. Whether you are practicing the piano,
sports, or reviewing your notes, you are learning through the principle of repetition.

4. Be realistic.

When you make up your schedule, decide how much time you really want to study and divide that time
among your courses. It's better to spend half an hour on each subject than to plan one hour for each one
and not follow through.

5. Establish a regular study area.

When you study in the same place every time, you become conditioned to study there. Your mind will
automatically kick into gear, even when you don't feel like studying.

6. Study short and often.

Your brain takes in information faster and retains it better if you don't try to overload it. Four short study
periods a week are more effective than two long ones for two reasons: (1) frequent repetition is the key to
building your memory, and (2) if you leave a long time between study periods, you may forget a good
portion of the material you studied.

7. Start study sessions on time.

It sounds like a small detail, but it's amazing how quickly those ten-minute delays add up. Train yourself to
use every minute of your scheduled time.

8. Study when you are wide-awake.

The majority of people work most efficiently during daylight hours. In most cases, one hour during the day is
worth 1 1/2 hours at night. That's one of the reasons we encourage you to use the hours between classes
and other small pockets of time during the day wisely. Decide what your best time is and try to schedule
your study time accordingly. You accomplish more when you are alert.

9. Set a specific goal for each subject you study.

You'll accomplish more, faster if you set a specific goal for each study session. Let's say you've set aside
thirty minutes to read your accounting text. If you start reading without a particular purpose, you may get
only nine pages read. But if you set a goal of fifteen pages in that time period, you'll probably finish all

10. Start assignments as soon as they are given.

If you do nothing else from this chapter, do this. A little work on an assignment each week will allow you
time to give attention to its quality. Your workload will be spread out, so you'll avoid a log jam near the end
of the semester.

11. Study your most difficult subjects first.

You're most alert when you first sit down to study, so you'll be in the best shape to tackle the tough stuff.
You'll also feel better getting the worst out of the way, and you won't be tempted to spend all of your time
on easier or favorite subjects.

12. Review your notes regularly.

Taking good notes is the first step; reviewing them regularly is the second. As we keep saying, the best
way to learn anything is to review the information (aloud, if you will) often.

We've outlined a review schedule below. You may want to add to it if you're having difficulty with a
particular subject.

You'll retain up to 80 percent of the course material in your long-term memory.

13. Take regular breaks.

The general rule of thumb is a ten-minute break for every fifty minutes you work. Don't study through
breaks. They rejuvenate you for your next hour of studying.

14. Vary your work.

Try to give yourself some variety in the type of studying you are doing. For example, if you tried to read
textbooks for three hours, you'd not only get bored, you'd have trouble processing the information. Instead,
alternate reading, taking notes, doing homework, and writing papers.

15. Problem solve.

For courses that require you to solve problems, such as math, physics, chemistry and statistics, spend a
good portion of your study time working on problems. If you get stuck on a homework question, don't spend
the rest of the night on it. Go on to the next question and ask for help the next day.

16. Reward yourself.

When you complete one of the goals you set for yourself, give yourself a reward. The reward system gives
you an incentive to reach your goals, and a pat on the back for achieving them.

17. Keep on top of it.

Letting work pile up can leave you with an overwhelming task. It's easy to feel that you'll never get on top
of it again. If you find yourself falling behind, you may need to improve your study skills. Maybe your time
management skills need some work, or maybe the solution is as simple as cutting down on your social time.
Identify the problem as soon as you can, and don't let it become unmanageable.

For more help with studying, click on the link below:


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