Ohio University

Search within:

Advising tip: How to ramp up your study skills

Published: October 7, 2021 Author: Chris Hitchcock/College of Arts & Sciences Success Adviser

Editor's Note: This series is prepared by success advisors in the College of Arts & Sciences.

We are halfway through the semester, so you have likely had a test or two by now, or maybe your midterms are imminent. Now is a good time to tweak your study skills and improve your learning.

Help yourself!

There are many ways you can boost your own learning potential; below are a few top suggestions.

Make a daily to-do list.

  • Cross things off as you go so at the end of the day, you can look back and feel good about all you have accomplished.
  • If you do something important that is not on the list, add it and cross it off — it counts as an accomplishment, too!
  • Try making, or at least starting, your list for tomorrow at the end of the day today. That way you wind down your current day, and are immediately prepared to start next day.

Make a schedule.

We have all tried the “I can handle it” approach to task completion, but we all eventually find that we either fall behind, or at least could have finished our work more effectively and efficiently.  A schedule will help us here. Below are a few helpful ideas for schedule design:

  • Learn one way to make a schedule using Microsoft Excel: Watch a helpful video on YouTube.
  • Buy a nice, printed calendar that you love looking at, or search for “2021 calendar printable” and get one that is less pretty, but free.
  • Try a three-tier method of calendaring and modify it to meet your needs and style. Watch a helpful video on YouTube. He talks quickly, so try slowing the playback speed through the settings button.
  • Create category color codes, then color code individual activities so you see the category immediately; for example, English 1510 is green.
  • First include activities that repeat, such as classes.
  • Include major projects — mark the due date, then work backward scheduling steps that will lead to the completion. For example, for a paper, you would want to schedule outlining, drafting, going to the Writing Commons for feedback, and multiple revisions.
  • Include dates from the Ohio University academic calendar.
  • Include free time — schedule yourself some time for relaxation and recreation, then stick to it because you need it.
  • Plan to study or work early and often — if you did not learn a concept during the two-hour class, you will not likely learn it the night before the exam.
  • Use a structured study technique, like the Pomodoro Technique explained on this YouTube video.
  • Turn off your phone and communication apps on your devices — I promise it only hurts for a minute.
  • Make designated spaces for study, recreation, and sleep so your body and mind tune in to the activity at hand when you enter that space.
    • Think outside the (your) box — if you live in a residence hall or with others, you might use the library for study, Ping or Sells Park for recreation, and your room for sleep.
    • Agree on sleep or quiet time with your roommate(s).
  • Apply some of the various study and motivational strategies posted by OHIO’s University College on its study strategies page.

Get help from others

Use the resources that Ohio University provides; after all, you’re paying for them. Remember, services like tutoring are not only for those who struggle, they also help strong students perform even better.

  • Get some academic coaching from successful peers through the Academic Achievement Center to improve organization and time management — and to get some inside tips on helpful resources and understanding technology used in your courses.
  • Schedule tutoring services at the Academic Achievement Center where peer tutors help you perfect your knowledge if you are feeling strong, or improve if you are feeling challenged.
  • Go to The Writing Commons where tutors can help ensure that your writing is communicating the information you intended — schedule a meeting at the Writing Commons.
  • Attend Supplemental Instruction sessions where session leaders can help clarify those classes and ensure that you comprehend the concepts. Find sessions for biology, chemistry, math, psychology and more at Supplemental Instruction sessions.
  • Meet with your professors and prepare before the meeting.
    • Write down specific questions.
    • Write/access specific examples of where you struggled with a concept.
    • At least 15 minutes before your meeting, turn your laptop or device on and open all pertinent pages and documents to ensure you can access everything you need — and to avoid wasting valuable meeting time that is better used for discussing your questions.
  • Meet with a College of Arts and Sciences professional advisor to discuss the resources Ohio University has to offer — schedule a meeting.
  • Talk with classmates who do well in your class. Even if you also do well, you might learn strategies to help you perform even better.
    • Ask what resources they use.
    • Ask how they study for the class.
    • Ask if they want to study with you.
    • If there is a concept that challenges you, ask how they learned it.
  • Ask questions — if whomever you are speaking with does not know the answer, ask them who else you can ask, or who they would ask.

Working hard is important, but working smart is imperative, so be sure to use all of your resources so you can learn and perform to your highest potential.

For more information, contact Chris Hitchcock, College of Arts & Sciences success adviser.