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Study Skills

Concentration

  1. Find a place to study and keep that area for studying only.
  2. Best to study during the day and early evenings, you'll remember better.
  3. Stop studying when fatigue sets in or lack of attention, take a break.
  4. Keep a pad of paper handy to jot down extraneous thoughts that crosses your mind, this way you can get them out of your mind and on paper.
  5. Set manageable study goals (I will read 10 pages).
  6. Design rewards after you accomplished your goals (I will treat myself to a movie after I read three chapters).
  7. Mix up your work, try to avoid boredom (I will read one chapter, and then I will go to open lab and work on the cadavers).
  8. Start with short study periods and build to longer periods.
  9. Realize you won't lose friends, respect, or a "good time" just because you're studying. Think of your future goals. THINK OF THE ROAD AHEAD!
  10. Plan the length of your study period by the amount of material you have decided to cover, not by the clock.

TAKING NOTES MADE EASY

  • You must always attend lectures.
  • Utilize the professor's syllabus with the main heading for lectures as your heading for you notes.
  • Write a lot (3-8 pages for a 50-min lecture).
  • Write legibly; print if you get messy.
  • Write details, examples, explanations, diagrams.
  • Write complete thoughts, not isolated words.
  • Take notes on class discussions as well as formal lecture material.
  • Learn to abbreviate, make up your own abbreviations according to the subject matter (for example: b- bones, ss- sensory).
  • Develop your own set of symbols
  • (for example: - important, w/- with, - will be on exam).
  • Write lists down the page, not across, it will be easier to read and to study.
  • Isolate specialized vocabulary. Try to circle the word, and put a "v" (for vocabulary) in the margin next to it.
  • Differentiate fact from opinion; try to put brackets around opinions.
  • Always read and revise your notes within 24 hrs. Use this time to organize notes, finish thoughts, and write down questions for next lecture.
  • Recite your notes; make sure you've learned the material!

Time Management

The time management skills and disciplines that you develop as a student can help you for the rest of your life. Here are some tips to help you develop good time management skills.

A. Create good study habits

  1. Study at the same time each day so that it becomes a habit.
  2. Plan for weekly reviews.
  3. Set aside blocks of study time (about 45 minutes each).
  4. Keep your study area just for studying and get rid of distractions.
  5. Write down assignments in every class including the DUE DATE and then "check off" items as you complete them.
  •  
    • Take advantage of "open time windows."
    • Use the time you spend waiting, walking, riding, etc. to review what you've learned.

Just before class, quickly review your notes or readings relating to that class.

B. Plan Properly for Peak Performance

  1. Set up a school-year calendar to get a big picture of your semester—don't include too much detail at this point.
  2. Schedule your fixed commitments. Block out time for papers, projects, readings, meetings, scheduled exams, holidays, breaks, presentations, etc.
    • Allot time for planned recreation, sports, club activities, etc.
    • Enter important dates for your social and family life.
    • Leave free time for yourself so you have flexibility.
  3. Make a Weekly Schedule. Once a week block out time on a more detailed level for important commitments and deadlines you need to meet. Schedule meetings with yourself to work on back-burner items.
  4. Make a Daily To-Do List. At the end of each day organize and schedule your next day. Include routines, errands, and study time.

C. Follow your plan

  1. Don't let peer pressure or the quest for short-term gratification dictate what you consider important.
  2. Focus on the goals you've set for yourself and follow up on your true top priorities.
  3. Align your priorities with your long-term values and goals.

D. Set priorities: There's always more to do than you have time for

How to Determine Your Top Priority

  1. What positive things might happen if you make something a top priority? + + + +
  2. What negative things might happen if you don't make something a top priority? - - - -
  3. Taking the following into account, what should your top priority be?
    1. How good or bad are the best and the worst things that might happen?
    2. What are the probabilities of the best and the worst thing happening?
    3. How much time and energy would you have to invest?

E. Overcome procrastination

Without a date, you'll procrastinate. Whenever you get an assignment, set a goal for when you're going to start it so you can finish without a last minute panic.

  • Once you're given a due date on an assignment, count backwards from the due date to establish a start date. Take into account time you'll be spending on other items like social events, sports, etc. Refer to your school calendar where you've blocked out time you've committed to other things.
  • Keep stress to a minimum. Start early to avoid a frantic finish.
  • If you usually wait until the last minute to study or work on an assignment, instead of making your goal to finish on time, make your goal to finish early.
  • Remember the riddle, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer: "A bite at a time."
    If it's a big assignment, break it into small steps.

Copyright by Peter Turla, www.Timeman.com