learning in college

Do you want to improve your study skills (reading, taking notes, preparing for tests), so you are a more effective learner? Do you feel lost during lectures or are not sure what to do with your notes after class? Do you feel like you don’t always remember what you study?

Completing assigned readings, attending class (lecture, recitation, lab or seminar), taking notes, and reviewing and practicing with content are the building blocks of learning and studying in the college environment. Professors and instructors assign reading, conduct lectures, and hold class discussions and labs to communicate a large volume of information in a variety of formats. In a university setting, it is the student’s responsibility to read, take notes, and learn much of the information outside of class in preparation for the tests and assignments.  For students taking classes online, these habits are especially important. In an online environment, “attending class” may consist of spending more time reading a variety of source materials, participating in online discussions, and engaging in weekly assignments.

The way to learn this information is through reading, reviewing notes, and completing homework assignments. Because this level of independent learning is a major difference between high school and college, it takes time and effort to get used to these expectations.  It takes attention and effort to hone the skills needed to study effectively and efficiently.  The cycle below indicates that reading, taking notes, and practicing problems or actively recalling information are the building blocks for actively learning information. Every week of the term, new information is introduced through lectures and discussions in class and readings outside of class. We recommend you spend 80% of your study time engaged in reading, taking notes, and actively reviewing material for that week, and 20% of your study time reviewing material from prior weeks. This system helps you stay caught up and keeps you from forgetting information from earlier in the term. In addition to the topics mentioned below, the links to the right provide information about the how to focus while studying and how to commit information to memory, both of which influence the effectiveness of your learning.

In addition to the links to the right, check out another great and thorough source on Learning in College: The Guide to University Learning put together by The Learning Commons at University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.