College Ready Skills
Do you remember how you felt after eating that big meal last Thanksgiving? This is similar to the way your brain feels if you try to cram for an exam. Your brain learns much better when you study in shorter chunks every day. Practice the new skills you learn outside class and on tests know how to apply the information you have been given.
Form study groups with four to six others in your class. Students in study groups earn higher grades (Springer, Stanne, & Donovan, 1999). Study groups that meet regularly make it harder to procrastinate and give different opinions on important material. Groups can fill in gaps in material you missed, teach you new ways to study, and are more fun than studying alone. More information about study groups, including tips on setting one up, are available at: http://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/studystrategies/studygroup.html
While there are fewer tests in college than in high school, the stakes are higher since more of the final grade depends on the results. What can you do to prepare for the stress of test taking?
In general, you should remember two things. First, you need to decrease your anxiety level. We will describe several techniques that will let you calm down such as meditation. Secondly you need to focus on the positive. This could be remembering the things you do well as you face stressful situations. Anything you do that decreases your anxiety and increases your confidence improves your chance of being successful.
To do well on tests, you need a clear working memory. Think of your working memory like a desktop. Your brain is like a desktop?
The following videos describe some techniques that will calm you down and increase your confidence. As you watch, think about how you could use these strategies during your next test.
Practice under Pressure
Write it Down
Reinterpret Your Reactions
Role Models for Success
Reaffirm Your Self Worth
Metacognition means thinking about how you think. Strong students are self-aware. They know how they learn best and know if they are really learning something or not. No one knows you better than you know yourself! If you are not learning, be honest with yourself and make changes in how you study. As you watch the next video, hear how vending machines made one student study better.
In college, you will have books, papers, notes, and syllabi from each of your classes to keep straight. Organizing your study materials gives you more study time and decreases your frustration. Here are some other tips:
Taking 15 college credits is like having a full-time job. In addition to your class time, you will also need to budget study time as well as work and family activities into an already busy schedule. How are you going to manage all this responsibility?
I Need Help!
New college students frequently need help. No one survives college alone. Ask for help before getting in over your head. Your instructor stands ready to assist you, and there are many other free campus resources available for support too.
What Not to Do
We also asked instructors what students do to get them in trouble. Watch as Bekka, a new college student, makes all the wrong moves.