10 Study Tips for Busy Adult Learners
1. Don't just study from your textbook.
Along with your assigned textbook and notes from your
professor's lectures, use the textbooks Web site
for supplementary notes and material to help you ace
your exams. Textbook publishers often have companion
Web sites that provide support, study notes and related
references for the subject. For example, Prentice Hall
Web sites for many of their textbooks. Other textbook
websites are offered by Palgrave/Mcmillan,
Mifflin, and Brooks
It is also helpful to look up the title of the textbook
and the author. You will find course notes, study guides,
and references from other classes who are using the
textbook, and the author might have a personal Web site.
Many sites offer textbook chapter summaries, quizzes,
and more. A lot of
free informationand study material is available on
the Internet, as well as in your college library.
2. Try to spend a little time studying each
day, then schedule a weekly review.
Pulling an all night cram session before a test in the
hopes of understanding and retaining the information doesn't
work and is very stressful, not to mention the loss
of sleep. Break down your study time by studying a little
each day. Schedule a review of your courses each week,
and sit down and review your notes and reading. This
will pay off when exam time arrives, and the information will stay with you (in your long term memory). Cramming and other such studying techniques often work if you are relying on short term memory. You will later forget much of the material and all that studying will be for naught. Use sensible study techniques to achieve the full benefit of your degree.
3. Attend class prepared, and take good notes.
Try not to miss a class, or get behind in your assignments.
If you get too far behind, it can be difficult to catch
up, and using another's notes won't be as good as having
your own. Use a method of notetaking that makes sense
for you. If you have questions after the lecture, ask
the professor during office hours. To prepare for every
class, read the assigned chapter beforehand and note
any questions. It is helpful to use the SQ3R
Reading and Study Skill System, taught at many colleges
and universities for help in studying college textbooks.
There are alo many tried and true methods for notetaking. Find one that is the most helpful for you.
After class, review anything you didn't understand,
look up answers to any quizzes, and tackle the book's study guide.
the Grade and Four
Keys to Key Points of College Lectures.) For five
popular notetaking systems, review some successful methods
from CalPoly. The most important practice
for effective notetaking is reviewing and editing your
notes. This strategy is recommended by academic skills
centers and other authorities on successful study habits,
and is integral to increasing learning potential. Review
and edit your notes as soon as possible after classes,
and you will experience significant rewards when exam
time rolls around!
4. When you get an assignment or need to write
a paper, don't set it aside. Begin assignments
or term papers right away to allow for time to research,
revise, and perfect your work. There is a big difference
between a paper hastily written the night before and
one artfully composed throughout the week.
You will also have time to get feedback from others and make changes.
5. Use mneumonics and other tools to remember
Summarize your notes, highlight important points, and
identify key terminology. (See Memorize
with Mneumonics and Reduce
6. Test yourself before the exam.
Create a sample test of questions you think will be
on the course exam, take it, and then go back and concentrate
on your weak areas. If you find you can't seem to remember
certain material, write it, recite it, or think of associations
which will help you remember during the test. Many students use flash cards and carry them with them to review.
7. Widen your learning horizons.
Consider joining a study group, getting tutoring,
or dropping by the professor's office
for additional one on one assistance. If you have the time, ask if there are any extra credit assignments.
8. Polish your writing and communication skills.
They are foundational for your college and professional
success. Get a writing handbook, style guide, and a
college dictionary or take some college remedial
writing courses early on in your curriculum. Get these early on and don't skimp. It pays
to invest in these resources as they will be instrumental
and referred to often in your studies.
9. Use a semester/quarter planner to
see at a glance what assignments are due throughout
the term. Avoid last minute cramming and paper writing.
Remember, last minute cramming only retains
knowledge in your short term (not long term) memory,
and you never do your best work on a paper when you
don't have time to review it. See tips on test taking
and research paper/essay writing in the Academics
10. Always take time to relax and maintain
balance in your life. By going to college you are beginning an
exciting and extremely rewarding journey. Reflect on
the fact that the best part of an education is not the
destination but the journey itself. Don't let unnecessary stress bring you (and your GPA) down. Take
time to prioritize that which is most important
to you, and balance work, family, and relaxation
to avoid stress and academic burn-out, as well as maximize
your learning potential. Have fun!
See also Academics.