Study Skills

Study Skills

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Understand the key information

That is, develop a thorough understanding of course materials by reviewing notes to fill in any missing thoughts or ideas immediately. Identify and resolve unclear information as soon as possible, ensuring that the notes make sense to you. Additionally, with your full set of notes late in the term, re-read the course description and look for how the lectures have addressed the key themes, concepts, and issues of the course.

An excellent strategy for elaboration involves generating a series of generic questions which will help you to elaborate your learning and get you to consider different aspects of the material you are learning and articulate answers and discuss them in relation to the course. Many students spend a lot of their time memorizing the details of their courses and focusing on the ideas as they are presented without elaboration of these ideas, without making the ideas part of their own understanding through a process of thinking at various levels.

Part of the reason for the lack of elaboration or thorough understanding is that students face a number of time pressures which, if not dealt with early and effectively, can leave them without the necessary time to consider a deeper approach to their course content. Another overwhelming reason for this is that students have only a vague sense of what exactly they need to do to elaborate effectively on their course concepts. When answering these questions you might work alone or you may want to work in a small study group where you have the opportunity to gather input from your peers. As you answer the questions, try to integrate information from disparate sources, and express ideas in your own words. Do not simply repeat verbatim the words of the text or the formulations of the lecturer. By expressing the information aloud in your own words, you provide yourself with a sort of personal "lie detector": you see whether you truly understand and remember the material.

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