EFFECTIVE STUDY STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS IN PSYCHOLOGY
Read the Course Syllabus
Reading the course syllabus very carefully is essential. Look for the essential points and the requirements of the course. Make notes of your understanding of course requirements. Take notes of the questions that you have about the course. Ask these questions to the instructor. Make note of how many products are required for course fulfillment and how your grade for measuring your performance will be assessed.
Read the Textbook or E-Book
You should preview, read, or at least peruse the assigned chapter from the textbook or e-book before coming to class. By reading the book before coming to class, you can more actively participate in the class discussions and ask intelligent questions. It also gives you the background and framework to understand what is being discussed in class. Further, by reading the book, you can compare and contrast the author's perspective with your instructor's - which in many instances will be very different. Further, you will quickly identify the materials presented by your instructor that are not contained in your textbook and know when to take very careful notes on these materials.
After the lecture, discussion, or group activity on the subject, you should go back to the textbook and reread it carefully, paying particular attention to the areas highlighted in the lecture, discussions and classroom activities. You should also use the margins to summarize in your own words what you understand about the concepts presented there. It is a good idea to use a highlighter to emphasize the key concepts in the book. In addition, use the second or third reading of the book chapter to expand your notes from classroom discussion and lectures.
There are neat features in the e-book, including making notes and sharing notes and comments with classmates. You can also print out each chapter from the e-book and bring it to class.
Actively Engage, Think About and Apply the Concepts Presented in the Textbook
It is not enough just to read and review the textbook. You must think about the ideas presented there and think about their application and relevance. In addition, think about how the theoretical concepts can be applied in the real world. When the instructor asks for reflections on the subject matter discussed in the last class, you should be able to provide your perspective based on this type of analysis. Learn to think about and engage deeply in the subject matter by applying your own critical reflection and analysis.
Stop Rote Memorization
Do not try to rote memorize information or key terms. You should paraphrase all information in your own words, illustrating your own understanding of concepts. By using this method, you can internalize and absorb information more deeply rather than attempting to regurgitate information word for word. This kind of rote memorization has no meaning or significance, and it doesn't prove that you know much at all about the subject matter you are studying. Rote memorized material also is forgotten very quickly. Make the material come alive and have meaning by actively engaging yourself and your thinking in the subject matter.
Study On A Consistent Time Schedule
You must make a commitment to study and do this on a regular schedule. You should devote so many hours and days per week to study for your psychology course. If you set aside time on a regularly scheduled basis, you will only have to review for an exam and not end up cramming the night before. For those students developing portfolios, you should also begin this process at the start of a new segment and work on your portfolio on a regularly scheduled basis. It is impossible to complete a portfolio a few days before it is due. It is also difficult to cram for an exam the night or a few days before.
Use Your Study Group
Make your study groups work for you. Study groups have been designed to support you in your studies. You should be exchanging class notes with members of your study group, so that you maximize your effectiveness in taking class notes. You can even get study group members to concentrate on picking up notes at certain intervals of class time or on certain topics. You can also use the chat room to study on-line at times convenient for you and study group members. Ask your instructor to open a chat room for your designated study group. Study groups are also designed to assist and support your studying for examinations and other projects due during the semester.
Taking Lecture Notes and Swapping Notes With Members of Your Study Group
The more actively you are involved in your learning, the more you will learn. Therefore, taking notes in class is extremely important. Do not come to class without pen and paper. Take more extensive notes than you think are needed. Try to jot down at least the key ideas being presented. This requires careful attention on your part. You can condense and rewrite your notes more carefully after class and during your study and review time.
If lectures, discussions, presentations, or group activities move too fast, then you may want to get permission from your instructor to tape class sessions. Your instructor may provide this permission under certain conditions. Your study group members can also be supportive of getting materials that you missed and this is why the notes exchange is so important. You should be swapping notes with members of your study group.
Make sure you refine your lecture notes after class. You can also underline your lecture notes much like you would the textbook in your review sessions. What is most important will be recalled most clearly after the lecture. Make sure that you also carefully organize your lecture notes.
Work hard to apply and think about the material in creative ways. This will help you think about all the possibilities of how you might apply the information and concepts you are learning in psychology. Creative thinking also will enable you to think of innovative projects that you may pursue as assessment products of your learning.
Use The Class Web Course
The psychology web course is designed to be your supplement to in-class discussions and activities. The web course is designed to be used as an augment to in-class learning and as a study guide to areas being studied in psychology. Actively use the web course as a course supplement and study guide. You should use the course in relationship to each area of focus in the course. Even when you are not assigned to use the web course, you should be using it to augment your studies. Therefore, it should be used as an integral part of your studying processes and used regularly.
There are many interesting sites and related links for you to visit in each area of focus in the course. You should be visiting these links and making reports to your classmates in the designated student time at the beginning of each class session.
You should also read the related lessons on various related topics that are also on the web course. The lessons contained in the web course will be an expansion of topics that are not able to be covered in great detail in class, but are nevertheless, extremely important to your understanding of psychology. In some cases, these lessons will be on the particular contributions of scientists to psychology or further research findings or new discoveries in particular areas.
Use the Psychology Online Portal
Your text book author and publisher has created a very valuable online portal filled with every imaginable ancillary and study support materials for your use. The e-book also is embedded here. You have the capacity to develop your own psychology blog to interact with your classmates as well. Pleae use the psychology portal on a regular basis, along with this course website.
On the Psychology and Developmental portals there are chapter summaries, along with related research, demonstrations, scientific American articles, web links and much more. The portals also contains the psych simulation modules that are a critical part of this course. The portals also contains quizzes you can use to test your understanding of textbook material and flash cards that can be downloaded and used in your study groups when preparing for examinations. The use and interaction in these portals are required for my courses.
Participate In And Use All The Instructional Technology Assigned To This Course
This course uses a variety of instructional technology. You are encouraged to use and explore all of it. You will find that your use of this technology will greatly enhance your understanding of psychology content. Students over the years have indicated how much this technology has significantly contributed to their understanding of psychology material.
When you are assigned the psychology simulation modules, do these assignments. They will greatly enhance your understanding of psychology content.
Start Research Papers, Portfolios And Other Projects Early
The reason your instructor spends an entire class session explaining course requirements such as the research paper and other projects with you, is to stress their importance. You should not wait until 2 to 3 days before a product is due to begin your work on them. You should begin making preparation and conducting research for your papers and projects at the beginning of the semester. This is imperative.
Your research paper is a product that should be initiated at the beginning of the semester; and, you should be reading and working on the research paper for the entire semester. Not a few days or a week before it is due. Your instructor has manuals on reserve in the library that provides information on how to get started on conducting research and preparing and producing the research paper.
Likewise, you should spend an equal amount of time collecting information, objects and items for your portfolio and developing your reflective analyses. Projects and experiments should also be started early. Please adhere to the guidelines set forth in your information packet.
Meet and Dialogue With Your Instructor Constantly
You should make appointments to meet with your instructor on an ongoing basis. Most assignments require such dialogue and the seeking of your instructor's comments and permission to do them. This dialogue should not take place during class time breaks. You should schedule ongoing appointments with your instructor to discuss what you are learning and understanding in the course and to discuss your thinking about your research and other projects. Your instructor is the facilitator for your learning and development in the course and should be used as such.
Related Web Links
Determine your strengths and problem areas.
View four academic success videos developed by the Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth College. Topics include: strategic learning, time management, reading improvement, and note taking.
Are you a right brain or left brain learner? Evaluate yourself using this inventory developed at Tennessee State University.
Exercise and example for creating a concept map and, list of mnemonic study aids.
A printable handout with tips to help you remember.
A tool for assisting and enhancing thinking and learning at the college level.
Ohio University's tutorial on recording, editing, and reviewing notes.
More on note taking.
Exercises and examples for creating outlines, summaries, charts, concept maps, etc.
Tips on speaking in class and managing nervousness.
More on making effective presentations.
A great method for learning to comprehend what you read.
Notes on how to effectively mark and annotate a textbook.
Learn how to proofread for grammatical, spelling and typographical errors (and for clarity).
More on how to effectively proofread your work.
Step-by-step guidelines on how to proofread and edit your papers before submission.
Visual organizers for text and lecture notes, including concept maps, matrices, topic grids, comparison/contrast charts, etc.
A study skills site at Chemeketa Community College.
Strategies for taking essay exams. **Currently Not Active
Learn effective time management.
Video 1: Beliefs That Make You Fail…Or Succeed.
The first video examines common mistaken beliefs students often possess that undermine their learning. The video tries to correct those misconceptions with accurate beliefs about learning.
Video 2: What Students Should Understand About How People Learn.
The second video introduces a simple but powerful theory of memory, Levels of Processing, that can help students improve their study.
Video 3: Cognitive Principles for Optimizing Learning.
The third video operationalizes the concept of level of processing into four principles that students can use to develop effective study strategies.
Video 4: Putting the Principles for Optimizing Learning into Practice.
The fourth video applies the principles of deep processing to common study situations, including note taking and highlighting while reading.
Video 5: I Blew the Exam, Now What?
This video addresses what students should and should not do when they earn a bad grade on an exam.