Do study skills matter in today’s fast paced environment?
Information can be exchanged with millions of people in the blink of an eye, and enables nearly instant communication. As a result, some students lack the ability to sit down and read their textbooks, since this process is different than the fast-paced activities that occupy most of their time.
However, it is often these very study skills that are crucial to building the foundation that allows students to succeed in school as well as in the workforce. Luckily, a strong a foundation of study skills can be attained at any age.
Study Skills Are Important
The main reason good study skills are important is that they can influence a student’s success in school. According to the Intercultural Development Research Association, most students who enter a post secondary educational program do not complete the program and do not acquire a degree.
Even students with above average intelligence are often surprised at the level of work and commitment required by undergraduate and graduate programs, and may lack the study skills necessary to excel.
While it is best that important study skills are learned when students are young, such as in elementary school, they can also be taught when students are older.
However, no matter when they are taught, study skills like time management, establishing a productive work environment, note writing, appropriate review and outline completion, are crucial to a student’s success.
- Time Management
According to Flor-Ala, the student newspaper for the University of North Alabama, time management plays a vital role in a student’s health, grades and stress level. In order for students to assess (and learn to be realistic) their needs, Virginia Tech University recommends that students keep a record of how much time they expect to use during an assignment and how much time is actually spent completing it.
This approach can help students determine if they are being distracted by items in their environment.
It is also a good idea for students to set aside a few specific blocks of time to study each day. Dartmouth College explains that studying in these small intervals throughout the day may be more productive than studying for one lump period of time.
This is largely because breaking studying obligations into smaller blocks can help prioritize assignments and will prevent last-minute and stressful cramming.
Additionally, USA Today advises students not to overschedule their free time. The main focus of college is on education and overextending oneself can prevent a student from achieving his or her academic goals.
USA Today suggests that students should choose only the extracurricular activities that correspond with their major or one about which they are passionate. By narrowing down their priorities students are able to concentrate more on their academics.
- Study Environment
Besides learning good time management, students also need to establish a place in their home or on campus that can be used routinely as a study environment. The study place should be free of noise and distractions.
When studying, students should also make sure to turn off their cell phones, close down any social media programs or messenger systems, and tell their roommates and friends not to bother them cause they are busy studying.
- Write Notes
Dartmouth College recommends that visual learners take fuller notes when they are reading their text and while they are sitting in a lecture. Auditory learners should take fuller notes based on what they read in their text.
Many teachers and professors stand by the lecture system, which can make it difficult for visual learners to grasp all of the information. Students can supplement their notes with visual flow charts, tables and pictures to help solidify the information.
Notes should be in clear and comprehensible language and should detail the most important points of the assignment. It is also important to review them in a timely manner.
- Review Notes
The Flor-Ala newspaper also suggests that students review the notes they took in class within 24 hours of writing them. Research indicates that this method will help students better retain the information in their long-term memory.
In order to make this task less tedious, students might want to create study groups to go over the material learned in class. This does not mean students should not write their own notes or only copy down a small portion of the lecture, but rather, read another’s notes to view the information with fresh eyes.
In addition to reviewing their notes, students should create an outline of their class notes and readings that emphasize the most important topics discussed.
Judith Lynch, director of the academic assistance center at Kansas State University, says that this synthesizing of information can help students develop strong organizational skills, and it also allows students to study more efficiently.
Learning effective study skills can make the difference in whether students earn good or bad grades, and can even determine if students complete their program.
Ultimately learning the study skills necessary to succeed will provide students with an invaluable skill set that can lead to continuous successes throughout their lifetime.
Anthony Garcia recently completed his graduate education in English Literature. A New Mexico native, he currently resides and writes in Seattle, Washington.
Anthony writes primarily about education, travel, literature, and American culture.