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How to study better? Tips and strategies


This material is part of the workshop "How to study better? Tips and strategies” that was held on February 28, 2018. The workshop was facilitated by the psychologists Carla

Vale Lucas and Filipa Oliveira, from the Psychological Unit of the University of Madeira.

Horário de funcionamento: 2.ª a 6.ª feira, das 9h - 12h30 e das 14h - 17h30 | Site: scp.uma.pt | Email: servico.psicologia@mail.uma.pt


and Study


Academic journey is a marathon, not a sprint!

We need to be MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY fit!


What takes to be sucessful at college? Key requirements


Academic journey is a marathon‌

What really takes to be successful at college?


High School Vs University Guiding principles

High school

College just ahead

You will usually be told what to do and corrected if

You’re expected to take responsability for what you do

your behaviour is out of line

and don’t do, as well as for the consequences of your decisions.

You will usually be told in class what you need to

It’s up to you to read and understand the assigned

learn for assigned readings

material; lectures and assignments proceed from the

assumption that you’ve already done so.


Academic journey is a marathon…

DRIVE AND MOTIVATION

“Why am I at university?” “Why study and not do other things?” “What do I want to achieve with college?”


Academic journey is a marathon‌

DRIVE AND MOTIVATION Motivation is required throughout the entire goal process. Motivation leads the student to start and persist in a task.

It is one of the most important components of learning vital to achieve academic success.


How to train yourself to study better?


Learning is not nothing that happens to students

but something that occurs as

result of their behaviors. Zimmerman (1989)


The way you approach study and learning matters! What you do matters! All choices have their own consequences. Thus you choose your own consequences.


Deep learning Vs Surface learning Surface Learner

Image retrieved from http://reopen.eu/learn/pluginfile.php/37/mod_ book/chapter/8/tm_2_1.png


Deep learning Vs Surface learning Surface Learner

• • •

• • • •

Actively construct knowledge Give meaning to material Focus on internal rewards Are self-motivated

Are passive learners Fail to tie information to a larger framework Focus on external rewards


Let’s imagine… Imagine a first-year college student (let’s call him Mark) preparing for his first big mid-term examination. Mark studies hard…

He stays up late the night before the test, highlighting his textbook and poring over his notes. A week later, Mark is surprised to find a really bad grade on his examination.

What might have gone wrong?


Tips and strategies

Set specific goals * Make a plan in advance, but keep it flexible.

Go to the classes – take notes

Keep mentally and physically fit.

Start studying early. Use spaced study sessions and mix it up.

Monitor your progress. Reward your self.

Use active learning strategies – Be an ACTIVE LEARNER!

Keep your focus on studies


# Set specific goals and stick to it * Make a plan in advance, but keep it flexible

Set specific and objective learning goals.

Try to begin each learning session with specific goals in mind. “What knowledge or skills are you trying to master? What do you hope to accomplish?� (Knaus & Ellis, 2002)


# Set specific goals and stick to it * Make a plan in advance, but keep it flexible

Make daily, weekly, and monthly plans for learning. When? | How? | What? | How much time? | Where?

Prioritize tasks according to the degree of importance and urgency.


Let’s think‌ Think now about the goals for this semester


Let’s do… DON’T FORGET: Break down large goals - into smaller - more manageable tasks that can be achieved in short time frames.

Creating daily ‘To Do’ lists is a great way of doing this.


# Go to the classes # Take notes

Pay attention.

Participate in the class discussion whenever possible. Ask open ended questions.

Take notes and review them.


# Go to the classes # Take notes

Use short sentences or expressions;

Use abreviations and symbols to link ideas;

Draw a representation of how concepts relate to each other;

Leave blank spaces to complete the

information from others resources; •

After class, review your notes.


# Start studying early. Use spaced study sessions and mix it up.

Good students work more efficiently and not just harder. • Spaced practice is much more efficient (Anderson, 2005). • Interweave your subjects.


# Start studying early. Use spaced study sessions and mix it up.

Give yourself a head start by getting organized early in the semester and establishing a few key habits. Study for a little bit every day, rather than cramming in one long session (Anderson, 2005). Touch on each topic during each study session. Reading before class and reviewing lecture notes after class will help consolidate what was covered in class. Cramming places a big burden on memory. But while last-minute cramming may allow you to pass a test, you won't remember the material for long, according to Nate Kornell, PhD. (APA) Usually, you shouldn’t try to learn anything new about a subject during the last day before a test.


# Start studying early. Use spaced study sessions and mix it up.


# Use active learning strategies – BE An ACTIVE LEARNER!

Image was retrieved from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BKTy0WaCUAATdtH.jpg


# Use active learning strategies – BE An ACTIVE LEARNER! Students who use these strategies retain information longer and are better able to apply that knowledge to new problems (Dunlosky et al., 2013).

Reflect / Ask questions • Answering questions as “Why is this true?” / “What parts of this page are new to me?” will make you think harder about the material, fostering comprehension (Wong, 1985).

Make connetions • Quick learners make connections between ideas. • Recording all information visually in one place (such as on a sheet of paper or chalkboard) can help to paint a full picture and aid the making of connections within the learning process.


# Use active learning strategies – BE An ACTIVE LEARNER!

Recite (Reading out loud) and active recall • Closing the book and reciting everything they can remember up to that point to practice long-term memorization. • Reading faster means you may remember less. • Comprehension requires time!

Image retrieved from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f1ff19e4b042bb7cb7ecf7/t/57792fcd2e69cf36234ac7d1/1467725497177/active-recall-progression.jpg


# Use active learning strategies – BE An ACTIVE LEARNER!

Try to explain yourself or others (using your owns words) | Take on the role of “teacher” • Especially effective with subjects like reading comprehension and science, though part of the magic involves working out how you’d “teach” each subject on a caseby-case basis.

Test yourself (pratice exams, exercise, make questions) • Decades of research has shown that making yourself recall information helps strengthen your long-term learning • "The problem with repeated rereading, which is what most students do to study, is that it gives you a false sense of familiarity. You feel like you know the material, but you've never tried retrieving it," Henry Roediger, PhD, psychologist.


# Use active learning strategies – BE An ACTIVE LEARNER!

Review regulary • Change scenery: Moving to a different room to study (or going a step further and learning amongst the great outdoors) could increase your concentration and retention levels.

Study in groups (if possible) Other aids: Make summaries, schemas, use flash cards • Flashcards are a easy way to use retrieval practice. Many textbooks include a list of key terms. Put these terms on flash cards and test yourself. Leave each card in the desk until you have recalled each term correctly three or four times.


# Use active learning strategies – Be an ACTIVE LEARNER!

DO NOT FORGET‌

Taking the hard route will lead to better results In the short term it's easier not to [use these strategies], but in the long term it pays off a thousand times over. "One of the most important transitions you make [at the beginning of graduate school] is realizing that you are really there to learn, not just get good grades.


# Keep mentally and physically fit

Sleep enough • Sleep affects learning and memory by organizing and consolidating memories from the day (Diekelmann & Born, 2010; Rasch & Born, 2013), which can lead to better problem-solving ability and creativity (Verleger, Rose, Wagner, Yordanova, & Kolev, 2013).

Exercise yourself and eat healthy • 30 minutes each day of exercise of moderate intensity (walking, jogging, cycling) • Studies show our brain power gets a boost immediately following even a short workout, pumping oxygen and nutrients to our brain for optimum studying abilities


# Keep mentally and physically fit

Take study breaks • Exercise yourself and do some breathing exercises (deap breathing) – that will lower your stress level. • UC Irvine researchers found that even stress lasting as briefly as a couple of hours can engage corticotropin-releasing hormones that disrupt the process of creating and storing memories.

Figure out what helps reduce your stress response, and take action. • Do some ativities you like most.


# Monitor your progress Reward yourself

Self-monitor your process of learning. Frequently evaluate your performance records and goals. “Are there specific areas of your work that need improvement? “If you are not making good progress toward long-range goals, do you need to revise your short-term targets?


# Monitor your progress Reward yourself

Reward yourself. Reward your efforts in some way (e.g. going to a movie, downloading new music..)

Self-praise. “Hey, I did it!” or “Good work!” and knowing that you deserve it can be very rewarding.


# Keep your focus on studies

Avoid multasking • Research has shown that repeatedly switching attention among tasks makes learning less effective (e.g., Anderson & Fuller, 2010; Craik, Govoni, NavehBenjamin, & Anderson, 1996). • Distractions such as listening to music or having a TV on in the background can make it more difficult to learn, even if you feel like it does not bother you.

Identify and eliminate distrations

Use self-instructions Focused here and now


Studying is not a one-sizefits-all activity! It is imperative to test out different techniques to identify what works best for you.


References Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K., Marsh, E., Nathan, M., Willingham, D. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science, 14(1), 4-58. doi: 10.1177/1529100612453266 Putman, A., Sungkhassettee, V., Roediger, H. (2016). Optimizing learning in College: Tips from Cognitive Psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(5):652-660. DOI: 10.1177/1745691616645770 Seco, G., Pereira, A., Filipe, L., Alves, S., & Duarte, A. (2012). Como ter sucesso no ensino superior - Guia prático. Lisboa. Pactor. Cengage Learning Ltd (n.d.) The psychology of Studying. Retrieved from https://www.macmillanlearning.com/Catalog/uploadedFiles/Content/Worth/Custom_Solutions/Psychology_ForeWords/Himsel_Ch01.pd Counselling Service University of New South Wales (2008). Fit for study: running the mental marathon. Retrieved from https://student.unsw.edu.au/sites/all/files/uploads/CAPS/FitForstudy.pdf

Hinsel, A. (n.d.). A pratical guide to study skills. El Camino College. Retrieved from https://www.macmillanlearning.com/Catalog/uploadedFiles/Content/Worth/Custom_Solutions/Psychology_ForeWords/Himsel_Ch01.pdf

Horário de funcionamento: 2.ª a 6.ª feira, das 9h - 12h30 e das 14h - 17h30 | Site: scp.uma.pt | Email: servico.psicologia@mail.uma.pt


Authors information Carla Vale Lucas and Filipa Oliveira Serviรงo de Psicologia da Universidade da Madeira Funchal, Portugal (2018)

Psychological Unit of the University of Madeira Website: scp.uma.pt

Email: servico.psicologia@mail.uma.pt Phone: 291 20 94 98 / 91 81 59 467 Facebook | Linkedin | Academia.edu | Newsletters


How to study better? tips and strategies  

This material is part of the workshop "How to study better? Tips and strategies” that was held on February 28, 2018. The workshop was facil...

How to study better? tips and strategies  

This material is part of the workshop "How to study better? Tips and strategies” that was held on February 28, 2018. The workshop was facil...

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