STUDY STRATEGIES

 ATTEND CLASS
"A" students miss on the average one-half of one class per semester.  "C" students miss on the average 4.5 classes per semester.

The best test taking tip is to know your material !!!!

1. Get organized!!! Buy yourself a wall or desk calendar and put all of the important dates  on it.  Ex. Biology test dates, holidays, English term paper deadline, biology instructor's birthday, speech due date, football games, extra credit deadlines, Thursday night's date, final schedule ...etc.  As long as you get all of the info down and use the calendar you  won't forget any important assignments and it will help you to see the big picture and  budget you time most efficiently.
 
"My Biology lab report is due Monday.  My English Lit. paper is due Tuesday.  My economics project is due Wednesday.  And the big game's tomorrow."

2. Do the reading. When it's assigned, do not put it off until the night before the exam.   When reading, always read the summary first, this provides an overview of the chapter.   As you read highlight the parts of the reading that were emphasized in the lectures, and any bold face words.
Try and guess what kinds of questions the instructor will ask on the exam.  Do not rush through
the reading, read for comprehension.

3. Consider College as a Job! I had a buddy who got up every day at 8am and went to library to study, when it was class time he went to class and then back to the library until 4:46 sharp. At that point he put up his books and was on his own time. He was involved in every intramural sport, went to most every party, and got a 4.0 at Texas A&M. His secret is that he considered school a job and he worked at it 8-5.

4. Read, read, and reread your notes.  Highlighting the important parts.

5.   What do you do after a 747 lecture?  Those are lectures that you got lost in the first five
minutes and never did catch up.  Don't panic!  Take some time and go see the professor.
Often a little individual attention can clear up a confusing lecture.  Another help is to use  your
book, read the sections you covered in lecture and then go back over your notes.  Jot down a
few questions that you may still have and at the beginning of the next class bring  them up before
you get further behind.   Do not Blow it off and expect to pick it up next  time or before the test.

6.    Outline or condense your notes.  By rewriting your notes you have to concentrate on the
notes and writing reinforces the material. It will also help you to locate your weak points.
Strengthen your weak points by reading the text or from another persons notes.

7.    Study groups or partners.  Share notes.  More often than not you will have missed
something in your notes.  A group effort often helps to fill in the gaps.  Try to come up with
possible questions and then answer them.

8.   Use mnemonics.  These are memory jogs to help you remember material.
 Ex.   Roy g biv = colors of the rainbow   red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, & violet

9. Sing your notes  If you have a particularly difficult section or you need to remember
something in a particular order or sequence put it to music.  Replace the words of an old
song with the words you need to know.  Sing the following to "Iíve been working on the
railroad"    Iíve been working on biology all the live long day,  Iím trying to remember  that lysosomes digest away.....   Or something along that line.  Hint: do this in private or you may
get put in the loony bin, but hey it works!

10. Spend some extra time in the lab, 30 minutes to an hour reviewing slides or specimens.
In a science course this is a critical area!!!  You can really help or hurt your grade here.
Sometimes direct instruction from the professor will clarify the lab material.

11.   Tape record the lectures. Then review the tapes before a test

12.   Seating arrangement is important.  Studies have shown that the students sitting in the
front middle part of the class do better than those who sit toward the back of the class or
off to one side.

13. Go over any hand-outs, diagrams, or quizzes and highlight them.

14.   Start studying at least 4 days before an exam.  Set aside study time. Do not study in
 front of the TV.  You want your full attention on your work.  Try and study hard for 30
minutes and then take a 10 - 15 minute break, to catch a breath of fresh air, and then hit it
again.

15. All extra credit should be automatically done.  Those extra points may make all of the
difference between letter grades.  It also show effort and a willingness to learn which may
sway the professors in determining your final grade.

16.   Get a tutor !!!  If your struggling seek out the extra help it won't come to you.  Tutors
cost money but they are often more than worth the extra cost.  Some Universities offer
tutorial services free or for a nominal fee.  If you are interested in a tutor talk to me anytime
during the semester.  If you would like to be a tutor and have a 3.0 average or  better come
see me, you could earn some extra cash.

 17. Use your study time wisely.  Do not pull an all-niter, it will not help your grade and it
will  make you sleepy and groggy during the test.

 18. Get to know your instructor.  Take time to find out where your  instructors office is and
use it.    Ask questions, show a interest.   DO NOT EVER ask a professor  "Is this important?"
"Is this gonna be on the test?"  Rather ask  "How much emphasis should I place on this material
for the upcoming test?"

 19. Academic dishonesty = cheating !  Don't take a chance.    You can get a zero on the paper
or test.  You can be kicked out of the class.  You can  be expelled from school.  Cheating is
not tolerated.  So ask yourself one question is it worth it ?       I don't think so !!!

 20. Attitude  if you go into a class with a poor attitude "why do I need this stuff?", "This is
sooooo boring" then it will be boring and your grade may suffer, and even if it doesn't it will be
a long semester.   Find a way to make it relevant, drum up some enthusiasm and interest at least     during the time your in class.  You'll find you pay closer attention, take better notes, and make    better grades!!!!!

 21. Chose your instructors wisely.  Ask several of your friends or classmates about who they've had   whose good and whose bad.  Its best  to get several opinions before making up your mind.  You might even want to sit in on a class ahead of time, or go by and visit with the professor to get an idea about the class. Several web sites like "Pick a Prof" can be found on-line to help in the process.

 22. Extra curricular activities  The key here is too much of a good thing is bad!  Too little is not    real beneficial either.  "A" students tend to be involved in 2 or 3 extra curricular activities.  "B"      students more often than not aren't in any.  And "C" students tend to be in to many.  It appears
that some activity helps to relax the student and still leave time to focus in a concentrate the    remaining time to quality studying.   While the "B" students have so much time on their hands that   ...they'll get to it later... Later... After supper... After Seinfeld ... After.  While the "C"  Students
just have to many irons in the fire and can't seem to direct all of their energies on any one project thereby all of them are just average.

 23. Health   Take care of yourself.  Your brain will not function properly if you abuse it.  Alcohol,    drugs, tobacco will all have a  negative affects on your performance.  Proper diet is also     important.   As is a good night sleep.   So at the risk of sounding mother hennish take care of    yourself so that you can make the most out of your college experience.

24.   If you do get sick or have to miss a class try and get someone to tape the lecture for you.  That  way not only can you get someone's notes, but you can hear the lecture yourself.

25.     Take advantage of the college culture.  College is a great place to experience different cultures,  viewpoints.  Go to a play, ballet, opera.   Hey you may not like them, but then again if you have  never tried  how do you know.  College is your best chance to expand your horizons and test your  limits.  Explore!!!!!

26.   Finally, but by no means least important is note taking.  Notes are simply meant to be a tool to  help you remember the key points of a lecture.  That does not mean you can or should take down  every word.  Rather you should try and key in on the major points being emphasized.  Take down  the material presented on the board, and then add your own thoughts as you listen to the lecture.   Jot down any hints as to future test questions.  Each instructor will emphasize the important  information in a different way.  Look for your professors cues.    Remember good study habits and test taking strategies will make a difference in your grade!!!!!!
 
 
 

                                             Test Taking Tips

Sleep:  Get a good night sleep.  No late night cramming!!!

Food:  Breakfast- get up a little early, eat something, anything.  You will have more energy and be able    to think clearer.   Statistics show breakfast can make a 3-5 point difference on test scores.
  lite lunch- if its an afternoon class eat a lite lunch.  A heavy lunch may make you drowsy and    sleepy.

Supplies: Come to the test prepared, have a pen, pencil, paper, blue book, calculator etc.....

Relax:  Test anxiety can be a real problem.  It can cause mental blocks, confusion and blow your train of thought.  If you draw a blank or feel tense here are several suggestions that may help:
1.  Close your eyes, breath deep, roll your neck, and let your tension go
2.  Skip the questions you don't know, you can come back later
3.  Review the material you do know in your head.
4.  Move about!!!  Ask permission to get some water or sharpen your pencil.

Lucky charms: Superstition?  Maybe, but give yourself a positive edge.  Some people use a special pen only for test.  Some carry a lucky stapler, rabbits foot, or pacifier.  Whatever it is, if it helps use it.

Peppermint:  Thatís right peppermint!  Peppermint has been shown to boost alertness.  It also has a jolt     of sugar to feed your brain.  Take a few peppermints into a test with you.

Directions:  Read all of the directions carefully.  If it says underline don't circle.  If it says describe     don't list.  If the directions are not clear ask for clarification.

Penmanship:  If a professor cannot read your writing, even if it is correct, you will not receive credit.      Make your letters distinct and clear on matching and multiple choice.  On essays take     extra time to write as neat as possible.  Do not have a bunch of erasure and cross outs.   Try not
to have arrows pointing all over the place explaining where to  go next.  A good  tip is to use an erasable pen.  No or as few scratch outs as possible.  Its been shown that those papers that are neater tend to get better grades even when the content is exactly the same.

Questions: Yes, you can ask for help!!!  You won't always get it, but the worst they can do is say no.     More often than not a question can be reworded or a word defined etc...

Multiple choice questions - Eliminate the obviously wrong answers, and then chose the best possible answer    from the remainder.  Do not put two answers in the same blank, i.e. A_&_B .  Do guess!!! Never    never leave a multiple choice question blank.  Print the letters clear and legible, do not make the    instructor guess what you put down.

Multiple multiple choice - These can look horribly intimidating.  Just remember to mark out the wrong ones    and then choose the best answer, but take your time a little extra care could save you some points.

Essay -  Read the directions, what is the question asking ?  If it says to describe or explain, write as much as you can.  Bringing in all of the factors that may pertain.  What you fell is important and what  the instructor feels is important may not be the same.  So include the trivia.  Do not get flowery.     Do put something down you may get some credit.

True/false -  Do not leave any of these blank.  Read the question slowly and carefully.  Look for pitfalls!!!

Definitions -  Answer these as brief and as concise as possible.  What does the word mean?   What does it do?     If you don't know look through the test, another question may have the word and give you a clue to it's definition.
 
Fill-in-the-blanks -  Read the question and think back to your notes.  Print your answer clearly.

Scantron -  If the test is on Scantron make sure you have two #2 pencils.  Every 10 questions or so make sure you are bubbling in the correct bubble for the corresponding question.  If you have to    guess statistics show the best guess is either B or C.  Do not leave any blank.  Do not make any    extra marks on the answer sheet.  Erase any mistakes completely.

Matching -  More often than not there will be more answers than needed.  Some answers will be used more than once others not at all.  So do not cross out answers.  Again print your letters clearly.

Open book and take home test - Avoid these if you can.  If a professor is going to allow you to use your notes & book, the questions are going to be long, and the answers should be very thorough.  Do not try and answer these test quickly.  If it's a take home use all of the resources you can dig up.  Get with class mates and confer do not copy (that's cheating) but you can talk the answers over.     "You have the whole weekend to work on it.  It's due Monday!! 

Review - reread the test.  Slowly from the beginning.  Make sure you didn't skip any questions, leave any blanks     etc...  Reread your essays... Do they flow ? Do they make sense ?

Ok ! All checked, turn in your test.  Feel confident that you did your best. It's to late to change answers so turn it in and don't look back.
 
 

                        COLLEGE ETIQUETTE

 I have compiled a list of do and don'ts for the successful college student.  Consider them a brief word to the wise.

 Courtesy
  This is the key that will open more closed doors than you can imagine.  It will speed up processes and cut through red tape like a hot knife through butter.  To put it simply, when you talk to someone in an office or on the phone, be nice.   You may feel as if an injustice has been done or that you have been treated unfairly, and upon occasion, this will be true.  It is also true that you will occasionally be late, miss a deadline, or just mess up.  If you go in with courtesy, the process while not easy can be made easier.  Conversely, if you go in with a chip on your shoulder, the bureaucratic process can be slowed even further.

Name and number
  Whenever you speak to a college official on the phone take down their name and number, the date, and the gist of the conversation.  This will prevent  a lot of confusion and misunderstandings later on. The officials may be well intentioned but misinformed, or you may have misunderstood a subtle point.   If you have a name and a few notes, most misunderstandings can be worked out quickly and  to the satisfaction of all.

Ask twice or even thrice
  Don't take no for the ultimate answer the first time you hear it.  Always be courteous, but try and see a different person.  They may have the answer or other options.  Above all if you get satisfaction elsewhere do not gloat with the first official.  If you do the next time neither official will be likely to help.

Petition
  If all else fails, write a petition to the instructor, department head, dean, and or vice-president as the case may be.   Try to follow the chain of command listed above as you do so.  Going over someone's head does not win you any friends.  A petition is a letter that briefly explains your situation and asks for an exception to made in your special circumstance.

Scholarship
 Iíve never met a college student yet who couldn't use a little extra cash.  Every College and University has a financial aid department.  Take 5-10 minutes and go see what is available.  There will be applications to fill out and forms and deadlines to meet.  It's kind of a hassle, but the secret is these hassles are hoops you have to jump through to weed out some of the applicants.  If I am going to give money away I want to give it to the best candidate.  If you can't fill out the forms and get them in on time, then you're out of the running.  Take the time to fill out all forms correctly and get them in on time. You may be pleasantly surprised !!!!!

Cell Phones
 They are part of our lives, but the proper etiquette is to turn them off as you enter class. This may take some getting used to, but in the current wave of text messaging, camera phones, and cell phone distraction you do not want to call attention to yourself and incur the displeasure of the proffesor grading your test. In some cases cell phone use is considered cheating and grounds for removal from class.