For courses in Study Skills, Student Orientation, Freshman Seminar. This text uses a concise, conversational approach to instruct students about skills and strategies to use for effective studying/learning. Strategies include setting goals, time management, concentration, and memory. Study skills coverage includes the Cornell Notetaking System and other formats, test-taking, vocabulary building, classroom lectures, textbook assignments, and research papers.
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PREFACE TO STUDENTS
Performance, not promise, is the key to your success in college. College is no place for the procrastinator, the big talker, the goof-off, or the uncommitted. Positive action is essential and this book is a great place to start: It's filled with suggestions for improving the way you study. So, don't just read about these study strategies; try them out! Many will work for you. Some may not. The only way to find out is to TAKE ACTION.
But, action must not be of the hit-or-miss variety. No, it must be systematic. Systematic techniques are the backbone of every chapter in this book; thus, enabling you to stand tall and work smart. And to get this systematic approach started, two administrations of the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI), an instrument for measuring your study strengths and weaknesses, are included with this book. You will take the first LASSI to give you a picture of your needs when entering this course. The second LASSI will tell you how much improvement has been made. A BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THE CHAPTERS
ACHIEVING SUCCESS GOAL SETTING
You won't get there unless you know where you're going. Setting goals is not kid's stuff. Business executives at all levels are required to set goals continually.
Without concentration, there can be no learning. With it, almost anything is possible. The five great concentration tips, including the spider technique, found in this book, are bound to make you a better concentrator.
In college the big job is remembering. To aid your memory, we arm you with four powerful techniques: recitation, categorization, mnemonic devices, and mental visualization.
You'll fill dozens of notebooks in college. Notetaking is the best way to capture each course's information. We offer you the most widely used system in the world-the Cornell System.
There's more to notetaking than scribbling. You need to know how to listen meaningfully, record notes efficiently, as well as heed warnings against taking notes in shorthand or taking them on tapes. Also, we present new ideas on taking notes on lectures given via TV and when finding useful information on the World Wide Web.
Above all, you must be able to master the textbook. To do so, we offer you the SQ4R System, as well as tips such as marking the textbooks, making notes in the margins, reading prefaces and introductions.
PUTTING YOUR NOTES TO WORK
With piles of lecture notes and textbook markings on your desk, now what? You must commit them to memory. How? By using the powerful recitation method, fully explained in this book.
"I know my stuff, but I still do poorly on tests." Perhaps we can help you. This chapter gives you the inside story on how to take the following four tests: True-False, Multiple-Choice, Matching, and Sentence-Completion. Also, we give you the procedures to know when to guess and when not to guess.
"Essay tests throw me!" They shouldn't. This chapter will teach you how to get "psyched" for an essay exam, what to do before you answer any question, what the content of your answer should be, how to identify and interpret key words in the questions, plus many other hints for taking essay-type tests.
Right or wrong, you are judged by the words you use. Pronounce them correctly and use them in their right places with precision, and you'll be judged an educated, clear-thinking person. A college dean makes this point clearly: "Aptitudes will give you a good start, but it takes vocabulary to keep you going. Don't wait too long to start working with words."
It's easy, once you know how to do the following: choose and narrow your topic, provide a focus for it, do the library research, organize your notes, rewrite and edit, and finally fine-tune your paper's technical detail. All these steps and more are thoroughly covered in this chapter. TO INSTRUCTORS
I believe four essential elements, not often covered in study skills texts, have been included in Essential Study Strategies: two administrations of the LASSI (Learning and Study Strategies Inventory) for pre- and post-assessment, the Word History System, Vocabulary Exposure, and Setting Goals.
To instill a genuine interest in words, an in-depth history of words is related at the end of each chapter, taken from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition and from Picturesque Word Origins.
On the top of the last page in each chapter is a paragraph from which words are taken to provide context.
MAKING WORD-LEARNING FUN
To make word learning fun and an around-the-clock activity, demonstrate to students how creatively words are used in newspapers and magazines. For example, one instructor brought in the sports page reporting the 1997 World Series. The first paragraph read— "Rookie Jaret Wright threw a big-time heat on a wet, cold field Wednesday night to give Cleveland a 10-3 win against Florida that evened the World Series after four games."
But the pin-pointed lesson here was the large-lettered headline that read—
ALL GOES WRIGHT FOR INDIANS
When students see a headline like this, they will continue to appreciate and delight in the creativeness of the writer. This interest will flow to any page that has mind-catching words. Here's an example dealing with finance. The paragraph reads—"Robbert Morrison was named CEO of Quaker Oats Thursday, one day after resigning as CEO of Kraft Foods."
The headline introducing this article—
FEELING HIS OATS
Again, creative and appropriate.
SUMMATION ON VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT
Once students start to marvel at the skillfulness of a writer, they will no longer read just for information. Yes, they'll still read for information, but they'll also see how words can be used to convey that information interestingly and, perhaps, beautifully. By paying attention to how the information is being presented with words, students will be doing themselves a great favor: increasing their vocabularies almost effortlessly and enjoyably. This personal interest-technique of vocabulary development borders on the edge of wisdom; that is, "seeing things from the inside out." HELPING STUDENTS TO SET GOALS
Simply telling a student to have a goal is not enough. You cannot force a goal on a person. Yes, they hear you, understand you, and agree with you. That does not mean they will internalize it—drink it in. We all know the adage, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
Unwritten goals are in the same never-never land as dreams. Unwritten goals are bound to be fuzzy and unlikely to materialize. The magic of writing out a goal is that one creates a definite, sharp image of the goal, which is then not only focused in the conscious mind, but also incubates in the subconscious mind, taking shape and becoming real. John Wooden, famous UCLA basketball coach, sums it up by saying, "Failing to plan is planning to fail."
One thing that almost all successful people have in common is that their goals are written out in detail. In the following example, this person had something even better than a written-out goal. He had a picture.
Conrad Hilton, who was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1931, cut out a picture of the Waldorf Hotel in New York City, and put it under the cracked and chipped glasstop of his desk. He gazed at this picture every day. Eighteen years later, Conrad Hilton acquired the Waldorf.
Goal setting is a hard thing to do. Why? I think because it has a deep emotional dimension. To help students set goals, we must somehow touch not only their minds, but also their hearts.
There's no easy way. There is no SQ4R for setting goals—no cut and dried formula. With goal setting, we, as teachers, are truly touching the vital lives of our students. I think one approach to helping our students is to inspire them to plumb their own depths and to do the goal setting in a personal, serious way. I believe that for a goal to be a driving force, it must have this honest, personal quality. As I see it, the words from Frank Sinatra's song, "My Way," are not a selfish, unthinking expression of a person egotistically forcing his or her will upon another. Rather, they are an expression—"I have one life to live, it's precious, and I want to live it the way that will best fulfill what I am meant to be."
Not too long ago, in one of the inner sections of the Wall Street Journal, there was a feature article titled something like this: "Changing Careers in Mid-Life." What impressed me about this article is the high percentage of people who changed careers—around 43%.
How does the article relate to goals? One thought is that they did not make the right choice in the first place. Of course, there are many reasons for changing careers. However, I think that the reading of such articles by a class of students, followed by a class discussion the next day, would impress upon students the long-term seriousness of doing the job of goal setting. In discussion, the ideas could come from the students themselves, all with varying opinions, rather than being imposed upon from the instructor.
I am convinced that a discussion method, based on good, sound readings, is the first necessary step to take in getting across the importance of goal-setting to a class of students. After this discussion, present graphic steps that a student can take to evolve his/ her own goals.
It is a good idea to include an article about being realistic about choosing one's goals. It is as foolish to set one's mark too high as it is to set it too low. Students must decide for themselves. And, however one sets a goal, adjustments can be made along the way.
In all class discussions, the dominate refrain should be, "Take realistic action!" This theme of action coincides with this ancient Chinese anecdote of wisdom:
"He who stand with mouth open, wait long time before roast duck fly in."
So, students must see that they must make things happen.From the Back Cover:
This unique, concise book uses a conversational tone to encourage readers and students to immediately improve their learning experience. It provides inspiration and incentive for studying and achieving an education—along with easy-to-understand skills and strategies to become more effective in school. Strategies include setting goals, time management, concentration, and memory. Study skills coverage includes the Cornell Notetaking System and other formats, test taking, vocabulary building, classroom lectures, textbook assignments, and research papers. Two learning and study strategies inventories are provided to give meaningful information about the strengths and weaknesses of the student's study patterns in ten areas directly related to academic success. For students who want to improve their study skills and the quality of their education.
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