Study Skills

A page within Murphy Learning Center

Video Series: Study Effectively, The 4 Ss of Successes

This video series features UWL's very own Dr. Eugenia Turov! 

Video Series

Studying can be really overwhelming for a lot of reasons, including (but not limited to) some of the following:

  • You didn't have to study much in high school to still do well. 
  • You might have picked up study habits that work for others, but not for you. 
  • You know you want to do well, but you're not sure how to get started.
  • You're very busy and finding it hard to fit studying into your routine.
  • Procrastination.

We're going to tell you more about the value of studying and how it can benefit you.

When you are starting to think about studying, one of the most important ways to get started is to think about your classes and how you take (and USE) your notes. Class time isn't just time spent in the classroom - think about:

  • how you will spend your time preparing for class
  • how you will stay engaged and focused during class time to make the most of your experience
  • how you will follow-up on your class to learn and practice the material for the next class session

We will spend some time discussing how to do all three of these to help you make the most of your time using the most effective study methods.

Having a well-planned schedule that includes study time for all of your classes is an important part of your academic success. Having a structured schedule is great for a variety of reasons:

  • Ensures you have time for class work/studying so assignments don't get overwhelming
  • Allows you plan ahead for major assignments, exams, projects, and essays
  • Builds studying into your day so that it becomes a habit
  • Helps reduce procrastination so you have less stress and more fun

We will talk more about the benefits of a structured schedule in this video. 

Surrounding yourself with spaces and people that keep you focused is an important part of your academic success. Here's why your surroundings have such a big impact on your studying:

  • Having quiet places with limited distractions allows you to focus on your study plan and being productive while studying.
  • Connecting with classmates gives you more opportunities to explain, understand, and practice new material.
  • Study groups help you stay motivated for class assignments, projects, and exams.
  • Avoiding distractions like your phone helps your brain process and retain new information.

We will tell you more about surrounding yourself with a positive studying atmosphere in the video.

Self-testing is a learning strategy in which you first study material and then try to recall as much as you can, or answer specific questions, without looking back at the material. This is one of the most powerful (and research-backed) learning strategies because it forces you to understand how much you know the material without having resources available. It has the following benefits:

  • Long-term learning
  • Better understanding of your own knowledge and limitations (metacognition)
  • Opportunity to identify gaps in your learning before an exam
  • Reduced stress since this process is done repeatedly over multiple study sessions (spaced practice)

We are going to discuss the most efficient ways to practice self-testing and how you can make it a part of your study routine. 

Additional Tips for Success

Attend class

Tutoring does not take the place of attending class.  Tutoring is a service to clarify and enhance your understanding of class materials.

Arrive prepared

Review course materials and lecture notes. Bring all needed materials (textbook, notes, syllabus, etc...) to the tutoring session. Having all materials will help both you and the tutor to better understand the task at hand.

Learn actively

Do not just sit and listen during your tutoring session.  Ask questions, do sample problems, draw diagrams, and explain course concepts in your own words.

Be proactive

Come to tutoring sessions before you fall behind in your coursework. It is easier for tutors to assist you when you first start having problems than when you are too far behind to catch up.

Understand roles

Tutors do not take the place of the instructor. Tutors cannot do your homework for you or check to see if your homework is correct. Tutors are there to enhance your understanding of the coursework.

Here is a brief list of some additional study techniques compiled from a survey of our tutors. 

Study Techniques, List

Most of the books used in classes have practice problems with answers in them. These are invaluable in exam preparation. It is imperative that you use them as a dry run at an exam, that is do them without notes. It's easy enough to think you know everything when you are studying with the information in front of you, but like an exam practice problems test your knowledge without any resources to lean on.

Almost any class can benefit from flashcards. From math formulas to chemical structures there is a plethora of ways that flashcards can be used to help you master the content. One of the best ways to use flashcards is to go over them on a regular basis. This "Successive Relearning" has been shown by research to be one of the most effective study strategies around.

Teaching requires a deeper understanding of the subject area. Explaining content to another person is an extremely active process that helps to ingrain knowledge in your mind. It is especially effective when the person asks questions. This makes you think on your feet and integrate knowledge in a novel way, much the same way that professors expect you to on your exams.

Concept maps are a great way to organize content visually. Making one from memory can and then checking it after can help to expose holes in your knowledge that you otherwise wouldn't have found until the exam. This along with seeing the information organized in a different way helps to keep the information in your head.

Serving as both a sounding board and an additional source of information, study groups are a valuable resource in the study process as they give you people to talk with about course materials, ask questions, and explain concepts to one another.  

Tip: You can find a Study Buddy in the Navigate app! 

Sometimes there are underlying reasons that negatively effect student's academic success. These campus offices are available to help: