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University of Minnesota Duluth
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The Department of Psychology

The College of Education & Human Service Professions

Study Tips and Helpful Links

Helpful Links

The Essentials of Good Study Habits

1. Set up a regular and practical schedule.

2. Find a place where you can concentrate.

3. Reward yourself for studying (operant conditioning).

Improving Reading: The SQ3R Technique

SQ3R is a proven, five-step technique for improving the effectiveness of reading.

  1. Survey: Preview the material. This is best done section by section (rather than an entire chapter).
  2. Question: After you have a sense of what the reading will be about, ask yourself some questions about the topic.
  3. Read: Read with an eye toward answering the questions you asked.
  4. Recite: After finishing that particular section, recite to yourself, aloud, the answers to the questions, including supporting evidence based on research.
  5. Review: After you have read the section, go back and review.

Test-Taking Strategies

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Don´t assume that questions are more difficult than they are.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Review the test if you have time.

Information created by Elaine Cassel, Marymount University and Lord Fairfax Community College.