Creating a Study Schedule
Look over new material before class to get an idea of what concepts and upcoming lessons will be covered. Take at least 15 minutes to skim material (e.g., PowerPoint slides, readings, lecture notes, etc.)
Muhammad Ali once proclaimed, “your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.” In other words, a person won’t be able meet their target if they never see it. The same can apply to class. You cannot do well in class if you are never present. Being present doesn’t mean just your physical presence either; being present means being engaged and listening actively during lectures and class discussions. material.
Each week, set an hour aside to review that week’s lesson. Rewrite your notes from class lectures and readings into a summary to create a study guide. Review those summaries to fill in gaps of knowledge and to create potential test questions. This does not have to be long, but you should start shortly after class (give yourself some time to take a break but begin your review session as early as possible). This will allow the material to remain fresh in your memory. Be sure to actively engage with the material by jotting down questions, explaining concepts to other students or active listening partners, and making connections between core concepts and ideas.
Set aside time to have multiple study sessions for each of your classes each week. These study sessions should be short (no more than 60 minutes). Avoid marathon study sessions to prevent burnout and mental fatigue. The week before quizzes or tests, divide the chapters/lessons that have been covered in class into sections. Instead of studying all the material at once, study each section in increments leaving the day before the test or quiz to do a full review.
This last step is important because it deals with metacognition. When we engage in metacognitive practices, we are simply identifying our strengths and weaknesses as learners. This means assessing our understanding and performance. Students who know their strengths and weaknesses will “actively monitor their learning strategies and resources and assess their readiness for particular tasks and performances” (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, p. 67). Identify what has worked and adjust your study strategies accordingly.
Focus Your Study Sessions
Decide what you want to accomplish in your study session. Set realistic expectations.
Engage with the material. Summarize concepts and key ideas.
Step away from your studying to allow for periods of rest.
Review what you covered and identify areas where there are gaps.
What’s your next course of action? To continue studying? To take a break? To change strategies?
Bransford, John D., Brown Ann L., and Cocking Rodney R. (2000). How people learn: Brain,mind, experience, and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
Chick, N. (2013). Metacognition. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved March
15, 2021 from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/metacognition/.
Louisiana State University, Center for Student Success (2015). The study cycle: The path to
improving study techniques. Retrieved from https://www.lsu.edu/cas/earnbettergrades/vlc /CAS_VLC_StudyCycleFSS.pdf
McGuire, S.Y. (2018). Teach Yourself How to Learn: Strategies You Can Use to Ace Any Course at Any Level. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
McGuire, S.Y. & McGuire, S. (2016). Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate in Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.