Beef Up Your Classroom Skills

24 Sep

As exam time rolls around, some students find that their note-taking and study habits may not be up to the task. Here are a few simple tips from colleges and universities around the country.

Participation – Don’t be shy about asking questions, but do ask questions that get results. Princeton University has a guide for how to participate in a way that helps you learn as well and may also help your classmates learn as well.  The University of Pennsylvania asks students to avoid side conversations, since it distracts those involved in the chatter as well as nearby students who are trying to tune it out.

Cornell Note-taking System – This system has been around since Truman was in office, and for good reason: it works really well for most students that use it. The student divides their paper into three sections–a note-taking section, a cue column, and a summary. The cue section is later used for review. You can create a custom template here or just create the margins on your own using the notebook paper you have.

Active Listening – There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a passive activity, while active listening engages your brain in what’s going on. Keep in mind that your brain can process words much faster than a lecturer can spit them out. As a result, the brain is tempted to wander when it encounters pauses. So don’t tune out–jot down a note, topic summary, or question about what’s been said, and keep going. To learn how to rev up your brain so that it’s focused on the task at hand and not what you think you might do this weekend, check out these tips on active listening and note-taking from Northshore Community College.

Time Management – You’ve probably figured out that the more time you put into a subject, the better off you’ll be. But how do you juggle a job, family, school, and some needed down-time? You’ve probably kept up your day planner to map out when you’ve got time to study, and perhaps even set a study schedule (Cornell University has an excellent guide), but if things still get derailed, take a look at what the University of Oregon suggests for students that procrastinate.

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