Do you really know how to study? With finals around the corner, the amount as well as the type of preparation in the form of study skills could make or break your grade, according to Shawna Elsberry, director of student retention and part-time college success instructor at Central Oregon Community College.
Organization is key when it comes to studying, according to Shawna.
“It’s important to have mentally organized the information in a way that when you’re [taking the exam] you can easily retrieve it,” Elsberry said.
Studying for extended periods of time can also diminish concentration and material retention, according to Jennifer Forbess, COCC Writing Center Coordinator.
“Studying is important,” Forbess said, “but time off is important too.”
Forbess, a former COCC student, recommends having a designated time and place for studying.
Elsberry believes it is important to keep a positive outlook while going into finals week.
“It’s a matter of making the decision: are you going to save yourself or are you going to quit?” said Elsberry.
Top picks for local study spots:
If you didn’t end up buying the textbook for your class often times the library will have a book on reserve. There are over 10 private study rooms which groups are given priority to.
The downtown library has lots of available resources for research.
Keep yourself caffeinated while wrapping up those finishing touches on your projects.
Study while you dine. Shari’s has wide open table space if you’re studying with a group.
If you need some sweet treats to keep you motivated try studying at La Magie.
Looney Bean has an outdoor patio in the back for fresh air while you’re studying. Lot’s of available seating.
When you’re taking a break from studying you can browse through the eclectic assortment of used books.
Backporch Coffee Roasters
Comfortable seating for spreading out while studying
Townshends is typically open until 10 so you can study late while enjoying a wide assortment of teas.
Barnes & Noble
The Bend Barnes & Noble has a cozy fireplace in the middle of the cafe that is conducive to studying
Alternate Study Spaces
By the end of the term if you’ve lost motivation to go to your typical study space then mix it up. Trade out the library for a coffee shop or bakery.
Nothing will get you motivated to study like knowing you have a group depending on your participation.
For classes heavy in memorization make flashcards early in the term and review them all for finals.
The studies are in– cramming all night before your exam won’t improve your exam score. In fact it might just hinder you from getting an A.
Go to class
Even toward the end of term make sure you are showing up to class. Professors will often incorporate review time into classes before finals.
Manage your time
Develop a plan for how much time you’re going to allot for certain projects and exam studying for each class.
SQ3R – the professor preferred studying system
The SQ3R method is the reading and studying system preferred by many educators. Reading research indicates that it is an extremely effective method for both comprehension and memory retention. It’s effective because it is a system of active reader involvement.
Step 1. “S”= Survey Before you actually read a chapter, or go over a particular section of notes, take five minutes to survey the material. Briefly check headings and subheadings in order to understand the author’s organizational pattern of ideas to be discussed. Scan all visual material. Read introductory and summary paragraphs. This preview will enable you to anticipate what the chapter is about.
Step 2. “Q”= Question Create interest in the material by asking: What are the main points of the chapter? As you read, keep the question in mind and figure out the most important points. It gives you a clearly defined purpose for reading, and helps you maintain interest in the material.
Step 3. “R”= Read Read the chapter actively for meaning. Go through the paragraph before underlining, then underline key words and phrases to help you recall the main points. Be selective, you don’t want to highlight non-important points or miss anything that can help your comprehension. Summarize main concepts in your own words in the margins. The more active you are in the reading process, the more you will retain.
Step 4. “R”= Recite After every few pages, close your book and recite aloud the main points to the questions you posed in step 2. Try to recall basic details as to the author’s intent by putting them in your own words. Verify your answer by checking the text. If you can’t remember the text, read through it again. If you don’t get it now, you won’t remember it for a test. Take as much time as you need to answer your questions. Don’t be frustrated, this takes more time but the information will be clearer in your mind.
Step 5. “R”= Review Finally, review the chapter every so often to fix the material in your mind. Keep rereading your margin notes and underlinings. Verbalize the sequence of main ideas and supporting facts to aid retention. Numerous reviews are a lot more effective than one cramming session the night before an exam. Review once right after you’ve finished reading and then every couple of days. The SQ3R is time consuming at first, expect it to take ten to fifteen percent longer to read a given chapter when you first begin. Research indicates a 70%% increase in retention after two months of using the system and, eventually, a reduction in time spent preparing for exams.
Juli Wright | The Broadside