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Study Skills: A Quick Guide

An overview of some basic study skills and strategies to set you up for success in your courses!

Attend Every Class

Attending each and every class requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation. Doing so will help you remain engaged and involved in course topics, provide insight into what your instructor deems most important, allow you to submit work and receive your graded assignments and give you the opportunity to ask questions of your instructor and classmates.

Missing class is a major factor in students dropping courses or receiving poor grades. In addition, students attempting to make up the work from missing class often find it very overwhelming. Sometimes it's necessary to miss class, but it's often challenging to catch up if we get behind.

Pay Attention and Take Notes in Class

Forgetting curveHermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, scientifically studied how people forget in the late 1800’s. He is known for his experiments using himself as a subject and tested his memory learning nonsense syllables. One of his famous results, known as the forgetting curve, shows how much information is forgotten quickly after it is learned. Without reviewing, we will forget. Since we forget 42% of the information we take in after only 20 minutes (without review), it is imperative to take notes to remember.

Image: A representation of the forgetting curve, with retained memory halving each day. Image from Wikimedia Commons. CC0.

For more information and resources on note-taking, check out this guide:

Ask Questions

Many students feel like they are the only one that has a question or the only one that doesn’t understand something in class, but that is very rarely the case. In fact, your instructors expect you to ask questions!

If you take a class offered online, it's a good idea use the preferred method your instructor recommends but don't be afraid to ask questions as they arise. Since the delivery method is different to what most students are used to, online students may ask questions to understand the material and to be able to successfully navigate through the course, in addition to asking questions about assignments or the material covered in the course. 


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