Oct 6, 2009

Proper Study Skills Help Students Succeed

by Kendra Mann

Facebook, intramural sports, video games, eating, sleeping and so much more – there are so many ways for students to spend their time. With so many options at everyone’s disposal, it can be hard to stay focused on the most important reason students have come to Liberty, to study, succeed and prepare for their futures in the job world.

"(Motivation) is the largest key to being successful. If a student has a hard time being motivated, he or she will have a hard time being successful,” College Learning Strategic (CLST) Professor Steve Amburgey said.

Motivation and time management are two key factors for success in college. Without motivation, a student will easily give up when classes are difficult, and without good time management skills, the student will lack the ability to do well.

“When (students) make decisions, they forget the real reason they’re here. They spend thousands of dollars, but yet when it comes to making decisions they make wrong ones,” (CLST) Professor James Wagner said.

Another key factor to doing well is note taking. A student will gain the most when good notes are taken in class and when those notes are studied before a test.

“Taking notes is the most important thing. The brain processes so much it’s impossible to remember everything,” Wagner said. “The statistics show you’re only going to remember a quarter of what the teacher says.”

“If you sit in a lecture without taking notes you walk out with half the information given you. Twenty-four hours later, you lose another half. (The student remembers) 15 minutes out of an hour lecture,” (CLST) Professor Ralph Jernigan said.

Not only is good note taking beneficial to the student’s study skills, proper review of notes will help a student succeed. The student will gain the most by reviewing within 24 hours of taking notes, according to Jernigan.

When preparing for tests, students should give themselves five to seven days to study. The first day the oldest information should be reviewed. The next day the student should study the next oldest information and each day study down until the most recent information is reached.

The College Learning Strategy taught at Liberty consists of a three-step reading process – preview the material, read with a purpose and review, according to Jernigan.

First, read the headings, introductions, reviews and conclusion at the end. Second, read with the purpose of looking for the main points. Use a highlighter and pencil to underline points. Lastly, review the material and see how many main points come back to memory.

The best place to study is a place with minimal distractions, Amburgey said.

“(Students should study in) a place where they’re comfortable, but not too comfortable. A place where they have their resources available,” Jernigan said.

Students should also study during the time of day when they are most alert and energetic.

“Look for your prime time, and I’m not talking about prime TV. (Prime time is) when you’re socializing or when you’re more energized. Examine your week when you’re most alive and give part of that time to studying,” Jenigan said.

For some students, music can be used as a study tool, but for others it can be a distraction.

“Some students do well listening to music, with others it’s a distraction,” Amburgey said.

A student can gain good study skills by taking a College Learning Strategy class. The student will also earn course credit for taking the class.

“The courses are not remedial courses. They are courses teaching what a successful college student is doing to be successful. They give you hands on and good tips,” Wagner said.

Contact Kendra Mann at kmann2@liberty.edu.

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