Study Tips and Helpful Links
- UMD internet account frequently asked questions
- Information technology systems and services help desk
- UMD online help
- UMD library homepage
- Electronic library resources
- Tips on How to Succeed in Distance Education Courses
- Is Distance Learning a Good Match for You? from PBS.org
- Is Online Learning for Me? from maryland.org
The Essentials of Good Study Habits
1. Set up a regular and practical schedule.
- Study at a specific time at a specific place.
- Don’t try to study every day if that is impractical (which it usually is). Be wary of setting yourself up for failure.
- Stick to your schedule, especially early in the semester. (Establish the habit.)
2. Find a place where you can concentrate.
3. Reward yourself for studying (operant conditioning).
- Use specific rewards for specific achievements (e.g., after finishing the first half of a chapter, reward yourself with ice cream; after finishing reading the chapter, reward yourself with a CD).
- Remember the Premack principle: David Premack demonstrated an extremely important principle of behaviorism. Activities that people enjoy are effective reinforcers for engaging in activities that people do not enjoy doing. In other words, rewards for studying do not have to be material. To use the principle to reinforce studying, students should write an extensive list of activities they enjoy doing. This list can be generated, according to Premack, by simply observing what they spend a lot of free time doing. The principle maintains that they should engage in a specific enjoyable activity only after they have completed a less enjoyable task. A simple example, to which most students can relate, is studying their least favorite subject first (e.g., physics) and their most favorite subject last (e.g., psychology).
- NOTE: It is important that students establish realistic and attainable goals for themselves and that they reward themselves after they achieve even the smallest goal. Rewarding themselves only after finishing a chapter will lead to infrequent rewards and, thus, an ineffective reinforcement schedule.
Improving Reading: The SQ3R Technique
SQ3R is a proven, five-step technique for improving the effectiveness of reading.
- Survey: Preview the material. This is best done section by section (rather than an entire chapter).
- Question: After you have a sense of what the reading will be about, ask yourself some questions about the topic.
- Read: Read with an eye toward answering the questions you asked.
- Recite: After finishing that particular section, recite to yourself, aloud, the answers to the questions, including supporting evidence based on research.
- Review: After you have read the section, go back and review.
- It is a myth that one´s initial hunch is likely to be correct. A research study of answer changes has shown that answer changes from wrong to correct are more common than answer changes from correct to wrong.
- Use test time efficiently. During the test, keep track of the remaining time and where you are in the test. If the timer is creating extra anxieties, then click the "hide timer" option.
- Don´t spend too much time on a particular question if you are uncertain of the answer. It is better either to guess at the answer or to mark the question and come back to it. "Incubation" research has shown that spending extended time on a problem is less likely to generate the correct solution than leaving the problem (letting it incubate), then coming back to it.
- Don´t assume that questions are more difficult than they are.
- Improving performance on multiple-choice questions can be achieved
by following these strategies.
- a. Read the question, then try to anticipate the answer before reviewing the choices; if your answer is one of the choices, you are probably correct.
- b. Read the question completely. Be sure you understand it; reread it if necessary.
- c. Eliminate choices that you know are incorrect.
- d. Options that present broad, sweeping generalizations (e.g., “always” and “never”) are usually incorrect.
- e. Options that are carefully qualified are often incorrect.
- Improving performance on essay questions can only be accomplished if you know the answer. Improving performance when you definitely know the right answer depends on your ability to communicate your answer. This skill can be improved by practice.
- Review the test if you have time.
Information created by Elaine Cassel, Marymount University and Lord Fairfax Community College.
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