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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Study Strategies for Before, During, and After Class | Faculty Focus - Teaching and Learning

Photo: Angela Zanardelli Sickler
Angela Zanardelli Sickler, coordinator of the study skills and first-year seminar programs at Wayne State University’s Academic Success Center argues, "For 10 years, I’ve been teaching study skills to college students, both individually and in the classroom. The vantage from my office offers me a clear view of students devouring information during tutoring appointments and focusing intently on the strategies shared during study skills counseling sessions." 

Photo: Faculty Focus

The effort and time they pour into comprehending their course material is irrefutable. However, when I ask students what they know about the lecture’s content before arriving at class, the answer is almost always the same: “Nothing.”
Students seem to direct the majority of their energy to learning the material after class, which causes an unnecessary cycle of complication. Their time in class is spent attempting to keep up with the material by taking notes word for word. This scramble to gather information can cause some students to give up and simply check out for the remainder of the lecture. By the time class is over, all that remains for the notetakers are pages filled with new, intimidating words and inapplicable concepts. They then attempt to study this material, even though they’ve yet to identify the lesson’s objectives. More often than not, their frustration leads to avoidance and procrastination. The result of this chain reaction becomes a dangerous combination of heightened levels of stress, lack of preparedness, and recurring test anxiety.
To break this destructive study cycle, students must recognize the importance of being prepared for lecture. A short amount of time spent previewing the day’s material prior to class can save hours of ineffective study later. The following is a three-step study method that I share with almost every student I meet. The feedback from those who follow the plan consistently has been overwhelmingly positive. These tips were written to directly address students, so please share this system however you wish with your classes. While course styles vary, we will assume for the purpose of this article that the course utilizes a textbook and instructors hold exams after every 4–5 chapters.
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Source: Faculty Focus