The ATTIC offers free study skills assistance for students with the ultimate goal of helping them become more efficient learners and better organized students. Our coordinators are available to meet individually with students or conduct small-group workshops. Students can be assisted in any of the following areas: Study Habits, Note Taking, Reading Strategies, Test Preparation, Test Taking, Time Management, etc.

Where to study

Although studying in a dorm room is convenient, it is often a poor place to learn. The dorm has a variety of distractions including Television, video games, friends, telephone, internet, etc. Lying down on your bed to read often turns into an hour long nap.

If you want to improve your concentration and efficiency as a student, develop a place to study that is just that – a place where you go to work on academics. The campus is full of good spots to study. Experiment with what works best for you – perhaps it’s the library, an open classroom, or a quiet room in an academic building.

How to Study

Many students are surprised at the differences in studying for college courses versus how they studied in high school. Regular worksheets are replaced by vast midterms and exams which require knowledge about concepts rather than simple memorization of facts. Students frequently discover they need to adapt their study habits to the college setting. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Study in chunks: 20-50 minute time periods followed by a brief break (5-10 minutes) is the most effective way to study
  • Use daylight hours: an hour of studying during the day is worth two at night. Do the work that requires the most concentration (i.e. reading) earliest in the day
  • Rank your classes and be sure to spend time on your most challenging class every day early in the day
  • Study actively: ask yourself questions, review your notes regularly, discuss key concepts with peers and course professors
  • In order to combat forgetting, students need to review course materials regularly and purposefully

Notetaking

The information presented in class often contains the central concepts of the course and the material most likely to be included on exams. Yet, students frequently do not realize the importance of notetaking and listening. Attending class on a regular basis and engaging in active listening are key components for good notetaking.

While many students view notetaking as an activity conducted simply in lecture, solid notetaking skills require preparation and reflection as well. Your class notes can serve as an important tool for reviewing exams and distilling key concepts. The key to notetaking is to develop a system that enables you to:

1) review regularly

2) recite (repeating key concepts from class)

3) reflect (connecting class ideas to other notes and readings)

Reading Your Textbooks Effectively and Efficiently

Many college students discover that there is significantly more to read in college than there was in high school. Students frequently remark that they don’t have enough time to read through all of their assignments during the week. However, keeping up with the assigned reading before the actual class meeting is an essential component to academic success.

How to read your texts: The SQ3R Method of Reading

One commonly used approach to reading, which works well for texts, is the Survey, Question, Read, Review and Recite (SQ3R) Method. The main steps are as follows:

Survey – before you read, scan the titles, headings, pictures and chapter summaries
Question – actively ask yourself questions as you read such as, what are the key topics in this section/chapter?
Read – read for comprehension, locate concepts and facts, record and reduce information in the margins
Review – practice and rehearse the main concepts, reflect on key learnings, anticipate exam questions
Recite – transfer information to long-term memory

Where to read

Where you read is a very important aspect of how you read. Be sure that you read in a place that is quiet, has good lighting and allows you to stay alert.