Please review each handout below, and then read on for more useful tips. If you would like to discuss any of these handouts further, or other study related material not listed below, consider scheduling an Academic Coaching Meeting. In a meeting, the specific handout can be explained further and connected to your unique student experience.
Say, Say/Do are the most active ways to retain the information we study. Here is another way to interpret the percentages provided in the handout: Re-reading class notes for 10 minutes means you can retain approximately 1 minute of the information reviewed over time (about 10%). Having notes in front of you, and teaching the information aloud for 10 minutes means you can retain approximately 7 minutes of the information reviewed over time (about 70%). Examples of “Say/D0” would be quizzing yourself aloud, with or without another person, or tutoring. This means if you “Say/Do” for 10 minutes, you can retain approximately 9 minutes of the information reviewed over time. The higher the percentage, the more information you remember.
Many students find the Cone of Active Learning helps them remember more in a shorter period of time. After all, if you have 10 minutes to study, would you rather retain 7 minutes of information, or 1?
“The Cone really helped me to study for my sciences classes. I work full time, and do not have as much time to study as I would like. When I do have time to study, I am always trying to teach the material to another person and quiz myself. I can feel a big difference in how much material I remember now, compared to when I just re-read my notes! It was really awkward at first because I wasn’t used to saying anything when I studied. I had to get used to it. But it is worth the change!” – Student who studies according to the Cone of Active Learning
Sometimes, we understand how to best study for a quiz/exam after we take the first one. This sheet offers 10 ways to reflect after you received the grade. Reviewing the exam itself, and then reflecting on the exam/your study process, will almost certainly inform how to modify your approach the next time around. This is a good practice regardless of how you scored! The second and third reasons often make a strong impact with students.
Often, students know how to study and what they need to study to prepare for a test but are challenged in finding a productive study environment. Distractions are a major reason we struggle with productive studying. Use this sheet as an objective way to consider where you should be located to study with concentration and focus. It can take a lot of effort to be in the most productive place. If it is too inconvenient to be in the ideal study location, look at your more convenient options. Use this sheet as a reference to determine ways to make it a stronger study location.
It is easy to think of studying as 2-3 hour chunks of review in the day(s) prior to a quiz/exam. However, the study cycle shows us that studying is an ongoing process that lasts throughout each academic semester. Read the 5 phases closely. Do you skip any? Most people do! It can feel daunting to implement the study cycle all at once if you are not accustomed to. Attending class is crucial, so consider implementing other phases at a pace that aligns with you and what is needed to succeed in the class. Step 3 and following Intense Study Sessions are often overlooked but make a strong impact.
“I used to study a couple nights before a big exam for multiple hours. I usually had to stay up really late to get to everything. Now, I make sure to follow step 3 of the study cycle. It makes a big difference! Whether it is right after class, or later that day at some point, it helps the material stick in my brain. Intense study sessions work for me too. It helped me feel organized, and study at a pace that was not overwhelming. I do not miss the stress I put on myself when I studied for crazy hours the two nights before an exam!” – Student who follows the Study Cycle
The notes that we take in class are a strong study resource. Notes aid us in remembering main points that professors want us to know. It can feel daunting to take effective notes. Consider the tips on this handout to refine your note taking approach. Remember! It is unrealistic to take notes of every little thing taught in class. Hopefully, these tips are strong suggestions. Don’t forget to date your notes and ask your professor (during or after class) to go over something you didn’t have time to fully write down!
Have you ever done your assigned reading for a class, finish, and then think: I do not remember anything I just read? This is a struggle that many students feel! SQ3R is an approach to reading that will help you to pick out more information from course readings. Like class notes, reading produces valuable study material. SQ3R is a reading approach with a lot of layers to it. It is very hard to follow it completely…so many don’t try to! Consider yourself as a reader, and pick out pieces from this handout that you think will allow you to remember more of the information. Only pick out 2, maybe 3 bullets to start. Turning headings into questions works well for many. (Please consider that SQ3R is mainly designed for textbooks. However, pieces of it can be applied to journal articles, chapter books, etc.)