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Advice on Studying for College Students


Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.
- Samuel Johnson

 To make the your academic experience rewarding in terms of knowledge gained and grades received, itís necessary to spend time studying. In collegiate life nothing is handed to you on a platter. If you want academic success it is necessary to get it on your own. Our guide to studying is designed to help you with that pursuit.

 Here are the things that the editors at Fat Campus have put together to help you develop your study skills:

  • Develop a plan.
    Look at your career goals and the things you have going on in your life right now.  Make an honest assessment of the value your studies have to you. If an outstanding transcript is your ticket to your future, you will have different priorities than someone who is concentrating on a job search, or someone whose focus is leadership activities. Once you have made this assessment, you can begin to plan your time accordingly.

  • Schedule set times for study.
    Our minimum advice is two hours of reading and study for every hour of in class time. This will vary by subject and level of each course. Set up a time during each day for study and stick to it.

  • Join or form a study group.
    Law and Business schools have encouraged this for years. The benefits are obvious: the ability to spread out some of the work, the insights gained by differing points of view and, of course, making new friends. Just remember that you canít entirely rely on your study group partners for everything. You always need to read all the assigned material.

  • Study your instructor.
    Try to understand how your instructor views the subject matter, how readings are incorporated into lectures and what elements of the material are stressed and which ones are glossed over. Once you get an idea which issues are important you can take extra time exploring them.

  • Attend review sessions.
    Donít take it for granted that nothing new will be covered in a review session or that no new insights can be gained. If your instructor takes the time to offer a review, you owe it to yourself to attend.

  • Use that dead time.
    Most college schedules have hour or two breaks between classes. Rather than walk back to your dorm or apartment, find an empty classroom and crack a book. Another tip, rather than try to study in a noisy hallway if no classroom is available, try going upstairs to find a quiet area. Upper floor stairwells next to a window are an excellent place to read without interruption.

  • Attend office hours.
    Office hours are a great way to explore areas in which you have a particular interest, to get to know the faculty, or to gain a better understanding of subjects or assignments with which you may be having difficulty. If you take advantage of these resources, you can gain that little extra insight that you wouldn't have access to otherwise.

  • Reward yourself.
    All work and no play can be counterproductive and might actually create an aversion to study. You should take breaks and do something you like. Hang out with friends, see a movie, go to the game but do it as a reward for a good study session.


The SQ3R method of reading

The SQ3R method of reading, sometimes called QRS is the best thing we've seen in the way training yourself to retain what is read. We've brought you the basics in this short guide.

Look over the article or book that you are to read. Go over the chapter headings and anything in bold face type as well as any pictures. Get an overview of the material before you begin. This step sets your mind to focusing on the material before you start to read. This step should take a few minutes at most, but it is very important.

Turn any boldface headings into questions that you feel the text will answer. Write down each question and leave room to write down the answer. This will help you to concentrate.


As you read the material, and as the answer to each question becomes clear, write the answer down in the blank space that you left next to the question. You will find that as each question is answered a bell will go off in your head and then that by writing the answer the material is cemented in your memory,

Reciting material as you finish each section serves to reinforce it. As you finish each section and have written each question and answer, then cover over the answers and ask yourself the questions. Recite the answers either out loud or to yourself. If you can't recall the answers, then go back over the section in question until you are able to answer each question.

The key to learning is repetition. When you are done with the book, article or chapter, take the time to go back over the questions and answers several times. At some point you will discover that you have a grasp of the material. Then you're done.

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