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The daughter of a friend started her freshman year at a state university two weeks ago. She came home this weekend and told her dad:

"College is hard. They don't give you study guides and you can't get extra credit. You take three tests and that's your grade."

My friend called and asked if I had any advice for her. Long story short, I wrote down a few suggestions and sent them to him in an e-mail. Over the years I have thought about how people tell students to "study hard" and "make good grades," but no one ever tells them how to do that. Thinking these suggestions might be useful to someone, I decided to share them:

Treat school like a job: allow at least 40 hours/week.
(rule of thumb: 2-hrs outside class for each hour of class time)

  1. Read material before class, take notes/highlight/list questions.
  1. Go to class to get questions answered.
  1. Take notes.
  1. Read/review material after class.
  1. Do homework with the text closed.
  1. Get Cliffs Notes/study aids when available (may find in library).
  1. Use the internet to find study aids.
  1. Check the university teaching/learning center for help.

Establish a routine for studying.
Work steady, i.e., 5 1-hr. study sessions is better than 1 5-hr. study session.
Study away from distractions (noise/people/etc) - use earplugs if needed.
Study when you feel good (not tired/sleepy/hungry/etc).

Don't "memorize," learn concepts.

Join/make a study group.

Ask other students about classes/instructors:

-what does the instructor think is important (concepts or details)?
-does instructor use essay/multiple choice/short answer/etc. on tests?
-does instructor test on concepts or details?
-does instructor allow references (cheat sheets)?

Get copies of old homework/tests for instructors.
(This is not cheating, it is learning what the instructor thinks is important)

Check http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ for student evaluations.

Don't 'cram' for tests, if you have been studying it should be a review.
Get a good night's sleep before tests.
Take extra pencils/batteries/etc to tests.
Take a sweater/aspirin/earplugs to tests.
Know time limits on tests.

Ask the instructor/assistant for help:
-tell them what you have done so far.
-be specific about what the problem is.
-ask for suggestions about what is important.

I'm sure others here have "tricks" that help them learn. If anyone has anything to add, please do so in the comments.

Originally posted to FWIW on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 06:49 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wish all of my students (12+ / 0-)

    did all of those things.

    I think emphasizing 'learn concepts rather than memorizing' is key (although that is going to vary somewhat with the subject).  It seems that a lot of students get conditioned into rote memorization early in life.

    Associated with that is avoiding learning things as isolated facts rather than getting a grasp of the big picture.

    •  Unfortunately, a lot of teachers (9+ / 0-)

      reward rote memorization rather than conceptual understanding. I found that to be true at least as much if not more so in college than in high school.

      "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

      by ubertar on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:12:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's too bad. (7+ / 0-)

        Critical questioning is the heart of learning.

        "Jesus didn't come to take sides. He came to take over." -- Mark Pryor, DINO (Ark.)

        by cotterperson on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:17:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It also takes a hell of a lot more time to grade. (8+ / 0-)

          I went into teaching thinking all those nice idealistic thoughts about doing critical thinking and essays and such, but I pretty much gave up on that after teaching my first 100-level class. Grading 24 essays on the same subject - while I have a hundred other things to do as a grad student, including writing my own papers - quite simply takes a lot more time than is justified by the below-poverty wage I'm being paid to spend on a single class.

          And I had a small section at 24, because it was a public speaking class... most of the TA loads at the university are much larger than that.  Not to mention that especially in the lower-numbered courses, most instructors aren't lucky/good enough to be tenure track - meaning that they're adjuncts or one-year contract players who are carrying more classes than they probably should.

          Quite simply, if we want our system to reward critical thinking, we're going to have to reward instructors for encouraging critical thinking.  At the moment, the system is set up to reward instructors who can streamline their process and save time for (a) the other four sections they're teaching or (b) the research output they need for tenure.

          Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

          by mistersite on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:51:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excellent post and (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cotterperson, FWIW

            you are correct.  If I had to pay/borrow for a college education today, I would not do it!  As a grad student you should not have been doing what a tenured professor was being paid a lot more than you to do.  Your focus should be on your own education and research.  The whole system has gotten broken and I am not sure it can be fixed.

  •  College isn't hard. (6+ / 0-)

    Doing significantly better in college than I ever did in elementary & secondary.

    Anyway, real life is hard. (ONOZ I've just got one year left although I'm planning to put it off for about 6 years with the semi-real life that is grad school)

    Mind you, real life may not be so bad now that I just remembered Topology awaits in the morning.

    "i find the resemblace of DemocraticLuntz and Arken to Disney style yapping jackals to be astoundingly accurate"

    by DemocraticLuntz on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:01:09 PM PDT

  •  Great advise. I wish some of my students (5+ / 0-)

    would read this.  When I implore them to study a chapter before cover it, I jokingly say "at least look at the pictures".  They clearly don't even do that.

  •  These things SHOULD HAVE been taught (9+ / 0-)

    in high school.

    My sons got to college unprepared, too.  It was an eye opening experience. Suddenly it counted if you couldn't spell a word in a paper.  Extra credit?  Assignments REALLY have to be done by the due date?

    But, I guess here in Texas things will begin to change this year.  After all, what college professor would dare to give a student an F, if the student is legally allowed to carry a gun on campus?  That worries my kids most of all.

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:02:03 PM PDT

  •  If you take Russian, show (6+ / 0-)

    up to the tests hung over from imbibing too much vodka.  This works both for Russian language and Russian culture classes.  

    It helps, I swear.

    Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are...is a form of tyranny... And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. ~Al Gore

    by Sinister Rae on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:03:03 PM PDT

  •  Start a paper (8+ / 0-)

    the day it is assigned and work on it every day, even if it's only 10 minutes.

    I bet Obama smells like warm cookies, fresh from the oven.

    by dancerat on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:07:12 PM PDT

    •  And even if it's only work in your head. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FWIW, papicek

      I may have waited to do papers until a few days before most of them were due, but I was looking for topics and angles of approach every class most of the time.

      That served me well when it got closer to time and I'd completed all the course reading the papers were supposed to relate to.

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:54:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Now you've gone too far... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FWIW, papicek

      Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

      by JoesGarage on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:55:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Is Good (8+ / 0-)

    I would clarify #5 Do homework with the text closed.

    A major reason to do homework is to assess how good your understanding is. If it is very difficult or impossible to do the homework with the text closed, it's good to ask yourself why. If the reason is that you do not understand a key idea, then you need to address that, either by yourself or with help. If it is because you are missing an important detail, then you need to take care of that by yourself, but you also need to ask yourself if there are other important details you are missing. There also is the possibility that you were supposed to refer to the book or some other source for that particular problem or set of problems.

    Another thing to think about is to figure out what you like to do. If you truly dislike or are uninterested by something, it probably should be the last class you take in that area. You will soon be making some important decisions, and you'll make the right ones if you find something that brings you joy.

    "I call on all governments to join with the United States ...in...prosecuting all acts of torture." GW Bush

    by Reino on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:09:57 PM PDT

  •  Ask the teacher questions. (7+ / 0-)

    Answering them is what the teacher is there for.

  •  Go to the library. (7+ / 0-)

    Read some of the other works by writers you're studying. It may not be all on the internet, but it's important to know the writer's background. I understood a book in a readings class that otherwise would have been incomprehensible.

    In the olden times, libraries were full of good vibes. Is that still true?

    I kind of miss them.

    "Jesus didn't come to take sides. He came to take over." -- Mark Pryor, DINO (Ark.)

    by cotterperson on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:14:04 PM PDT

  •  "treat it like a full-time job" (6+ / 0-)

    If you're giving advice to someone who's fresh out of high school, this isn't the most practical advice. They've had no experience with full-time jobs... they've been in school their whole lives, and have had at most a part-time job after school, and this is not an experience they can relate to. It's good advice for someone going back to school as an adult, though.

    "Barack Obama must be a Dadaist because cow." --Bill in Portland, Maine

    by ubertar on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:16:35 PM PDT

  •  Take classes... (6+ / 0-)

    ...that give you skills that other people will pay you for upon graduation!

    •  I never did... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      libnewsie

      and maybe you're right.

      I majored in English and History, never intending to become either a teacher or go into advertising (though I had an offer way back when, I didn't actually work in advertising/marketing until I got in as an IT guy).

      On the other hand, with one, sole exception, nobody I know stayed in the field he trained in college to join.

      Too many books, too little time. . . .

      by papicek on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:22:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's been a while (7+ / 0-)

    but I think you covered a lot of bases. It's really more about organization than anything. I will admit that I pulled a lot of all-nighters before tests. I always hand wrote my study notes as it seemed to aid my memory. The first year is the worst for everybody. I think we lost approximately 40% of our class that year.

    I always had to work too which meant that I had to back off on some hours during the regular semesters and stick around for summer school. I didn't have any kind of a break in 4 1/2 years as an undergraduate which I think worked to my advantage because I never got out of study mode.

    Three tests huh? Enjoy that. I had upper level classes where the final was 50% or more of my grade. I had one poli sci seminar where my entire grade was based on one paper.

    Best days of my life. I guess the best advice I could give would be to make sure and enjoy them and major in your passion. I was a poli sci major and I really don't know what in the hell I was thinkin' about now. I should have majored in forestry or classical guitar. Wish I had a do-over on that one.

    Best of luck to your friend's daughter.

     

  •  One thing I have noticed in my classes (9+ / 0-)

    is that people do not know how to take notes.

    The professor is lecturing, and sometimes has a powerpoint or scribbles something down on the board. They will copy the power point word for word, and not a single thing the professor said during the lecture.

    In high school, almost ALL my teachers had detailed notes prepared for class, and your job was to write them down. It just is not the same in college.

    There was this girl sitting next to me in macroeconomoics last week, and I swear the only thing she ever wrote down was "MACROECONOMICS--CHAPTER 1 TERMS" in big bubbly letters
    She wrote down the terms, but nothing about them, no definitions, no examples, nothing the teacher said during the whole three hours of classtime. By the time I left, my hand was aching.

    I don't understand, why do you try to make hatred and intolerancy justified? Just tear down your ignorance and open your eyes. ---The Cruxshadows

    by Rubicon on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:25:08 PM PDT

    •  Rec'd for "big bubbly letters." (5+ / 0-)

      Did she dot her "i" with a star or heart too? ;-)

    •  Seconded (6+ / 0-)

      And use pencil and paper. I get really annoyed at the people who bring a laptop to class to "take notes" and spend the entire class on FaceBook, AIM, and Texts From Last Night.

      I understand that some people can actually take notes on a laptop, but the rest of you ruined it. Stop doing that.

      On what planet do you spend most of your time?

      by Casual Wednesday on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:34:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One of my professors was awesome - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FWIW, papicek

      she put the powerpoints on the course website after the day the lesson was given.

      And then at least one thing on each test would be a significant thing she mentioned in class but not on the powerpoint.

      Take decent notes on what she was saying, and you were guaranteed to have that item in your study materials. Fail to do so, and not bother to see someone else's notes...

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:50:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most of the time I was in college... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FWIW

      I never took notes. At all.

      Oh, I'd have pen and paper ready, and I'd maybe jot down one or two things I wanted to follow up on later, but I found that raising my hand and asking questions - treating the "lecture" as more of a "conversation" served me quite well.

      It wasn't until I took programming classes that I started taking notes, and I found it didn't help much. One professor erased the standard dictionary algorithm before I got all of it copied, and to this day, I haven't ever been able to replicate it, though I'm fairly handy with devising algorithms.

      If I ever needed one, I'm certain 5 minutes work on the net and I'd have it, but that isn't the same as understanding the trick that makes recording only the differences (the dictionary algorithm technique) so compact and efficient.

      Oh well. Him and his damned eraser!

      Too many books, too little time. . . .

      by papicek on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:08:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Power Point (5+ / 0-)

      I hand out hard copies of my power points and have the students take notes on them. They report that this allows them to pay more attention to the lectures.

      •  hmm (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FWIW, papicek

        My teacher has his online for my comparative politics class, I could print them and do that. Good idea.  So far I just haven't written them down because I know they are online, and I write down what goes on in class instead and look at the computer for the rest.

        I don't understand, why do you try to make hatred and intolerancy justified? Just tear down your ignorance and open your eyes. ---The Cruxshadows

        by Rubicon on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:16:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry to restate the obvious: (7+ / 0-)

    Do the readings. Case in point:

    I went back to school for a second bachelor's degree with an eye on grad school (which I achieved). Back then, I had a class in US Foreign policy.

    We had a 10 chapter book and the prof gave us a quiz on the readings every week. It was on the syllabus. No surprises. I did the readings and missed a grand total of one question on the 10 quizzed combined. I was the exception.

    One friend of mine -- a retired Air Force enlisted man -- complained to me that he was doing poorly. I pointed out that he paid $60 for the book and he might as well read it. The next week, he was surprised to have aced the quiz after reading the book. Amazing.

    Regardless, about half way through the semester, the class held a 47 minute debate (I timed it) on how to improve these quiz scores. I might as well have been speaking Greek (speaking geek?) when I pointed out that one only needs to read the book. I nearly stormed out after that.

    I am so happy to be in grad school where everyone takes the work seriously.

    On what planet do you spend most of your time?

    by Casual Wednesday on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:30:56 PM PDT

  •  Honestly... my advice... (8+ / 0-)

    ...from four years of undergrad and six years and counting of grad school - as well as from teaching undergrads - is to work smarter, not harder.

    All of the advice presented above is nice, but it's nice for the ideal college situation. You're going to find that you're never going to be in the ideal college situation. Your instructors and TAs are overworked and underpaid. You're not going to be getting 8 hours of sleep a night and three solids on a regular schedule every day. All those nice thoughts you have right now about doing all the readings for class and taking notes while you're reading at the library might last for a few weeks, but eventually your roommate's going to ask you if you want to grab a pizza and you're going to say yes. Your big exams will come in clumps, one on top of another, and be coupled with your big papers. You're probably going to want some cash, so mix a paying job in with all that other stuff. And oh yeah, there's the whole "socializing" thing that tends to be an important part of the college experience.

    Work smarter, not harder. Learn what you need to do and what's optional. Learn what the instructor wants and what isn't necessary. Any time spent on something that isn't necessary is time wasted. Learn what readings you're going to need and what you're not going to need; if the instructor just lectures from the book (as many do), it's probably not necessary to pick up the book. Learn what the exams are like and study for that. Learning the system is just as important as, if not more important than, learning the material. If you can work the system to your benefit, your life will be a lot easier.

    Also, let's be honest: Especially in the core classes, you're going to learn stuff you won't care about later. It's totally okay just to learn enough to get by and just for the exam, and then not worry about it afterwards. I don't remember a damn thing from freshman econ except that the professor had an odd-looking beard, and I've turned out just fine in life.

    Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

    by mistersite on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:34:34 PM PDT

    •  Totally agree, sort of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites, papicek

      About half your coursework is just requirements - if you can get it less than that, you're doing well. For the half that's just requirements, just do all the bad things. Heck, even for the other half just do all the bad things. I didn't take notes, memorized stuff the night before (stuff that stays in short term memory for a day), made sure I was hopped up on caffeine for tests and throughout finals week. The only good thing I did was read everything and think about it and pay attention in class (usually). That just came naturally as did blowing off everything else. It served me well. I got A's at my state school, got free advanced degrees from top private schools, and now have a great career that uses a pretty good portion of what I studied.

      One regret: I wish I had learned to be a better writer. It is hard work to write well, but it gets you ahead and it makes your life easier if you can do it quickly.

      •  That's what grad school is for. (4+ / 0-)

        One regret: I wish I had learned to be a better writer. It is hard work to write well, but it gets you ahead and it makes your life easier if you can do it quickly.

        I had a professor when I was getting my first MA who assigned a take-home essay test to be due in a week.  Six questions, 6-10 pages each, mostly original research (stuff we hadn't covered in a lot of detail in class but had a small list of secondary sources to glean more citations from).  I hated life for that week... but now I can put down 2-3 pages of academic text in half an hour.

        Learning how to write academic-quality stuff, I think, requires an intellectual maturity beyond that of an undergrad.  We quite simply don't - and don't have the time to - teach them how to do the kind of deep primary- and secondary-source research that comes with good, quality writing.  We can teach them to put a sentence together, but we can't teach them to make a point until they've learned everything that goes into it.

        Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

        by mistersite on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:29:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  don't underestimate... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FWIW

          the ability to put down one thought completely and clearly, which is what a sentence is supposed to be. Few undergrads I've known could mange it.

          While out of work, I brought in a little bit of money by tutoring, or previewing, undergrad (mostly) papers.

          FYI, I never wrote a paper for anyone else!

          I found that mostly, they hadn't mastered their material, and so were rather at a loss as two where their focus should be. So I spent a lot of time getting people to think about what they wanted to say. After that, a little bit of logic (this fact supports this argument and therefore should be in, or somewhere in the same galaxy as the point you're trying to make). After that, just mechanics. Vary the length of sentences. Get in the habit of beginning sentences with subordinate clauses or phrases. Furthermore, use linking words! If writing a fictional narrative (I never came across this, but I'd have liked to share this little trick), begin each character's name with a different letter to avoid forcing the reader into thinking about the text when you want the reader immersed in the world you've created instead. (Hear that, Tolstoy???? You bum.)

          Too many books, too little time. . . .

          by papicek on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:49:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie, nicejoest, FWIW

    Join/make a study group...

    was, after years of slogging, the best thing I ever did. This alone changed B's to A's.

    It doesn't have to be all that formal, or regimented. We met for an hour before class, for breakfast, at a college cafe. Got through the work and had some laughs in the process.

    Too many books, too little time. . . .

    by papicek on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 07:50:17 PM PDT

  •  College is where America plays catchup ball (6+ / 0-)

    Students can get high school diplomas they can't even read in the US. About one third of incoming freshmen need remedial courses before they can even take the beginning college courses.

    The stuff you're talking about should be taught in high school, and is in most developed countries. Maybe that is why American universities are the destination of choice for foreign students.

    •  I was sort of offended (5+ / 0-)

      in my freshman English class that the teacher wanted us to read the Great Gatsby.

      I read that book 3 damn times throughout high school. I learned NOTHING in freshman english. I suppose I could have skipped it if I hadn't been such a slacker in high school and done the AP class instead...

      I don't understand, why do you try to make hatred and intolerancy justified? Just tear down your ignorance and open your eyes. ---The Cruxshadows

      by Rubicon on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:06:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was an English major... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Danjuma, FWIW, Cassandra Waites

      in a freshman English class just for English majors. First day, the professor asks us to read from some text he'd picked - prose, contemporary, and probably at something like a 7th or 8th grade (maybe 9th) reading level. There were maybe half a dozen of us, out of a class of 25 or so, who could with ease.

      College English majors who couldn't read. That still amazes me.

      Too many books, too little time. . . .

      by papicek on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:17:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good advice. Two points, though: (4+ / 0-)

    Get copies of old homework/tests for instructors.
    (This is not cheating, it is learning what the instructor thinks is important)

    I would check your university and/or instructors' policies before doing so.  At many schools it is considered cheating.  Here's a good rule of thumb: if the professor collects all of the test forms so that they don't circulate, but your fraternity has a file filled with tests that they have clandestinely acquired over the years, then you're cheating.

    Check http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ for student evaluations.

    NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    Different students have different reactions to the same professor for a number of reasons.  The trick is to find students who share your outlook on college -- what kind of grades do you need?  Do you enjoy being challenged?  What are your career goals?  None of that can be ascertained from RMP.  Not only is it totally anonymous, but it can be gamed.  A disgruntled student can recruit ten of his friends to spam a professor's page with nasty reviews.  And we don't know why the student is disgruntled.  It could be that the professor is genuinely bad; but more likely it's that the student did poorly, was caught cheating, or was called out for having a bad attitude or breaking the rules.

    Your certainty that everyone except for you is stupid is prima facie evidence that it isn't true.

    by cardinal on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:37:42 PM PDT

    •  And there are some profs who, while hard, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardinal, FWIW

      are well worth the effort it takes in one of their classes.

      They may score low on prof rating sites simply because the students who feel cheated out of an easy ride through the course go rate them, while the other students are busily looking at the next semester's course listing to see if they can get in another class with the same hard prof.

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:50:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The best instructor I ever had ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... was the hardest, as far as what I had to do to get an "A." But he was the hardest working instructor I ever had - every time I went into his office he was doing something for his classes. BTW, this was in a community college.

        "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A. Einstein

        by FWIW on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 09:58:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I grade papers and give them back. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      ... except for Final Exams. It's not unusual for me to bring in an old quiz so the students will know what to expect. I assume some of the students have old tests and I try to level the playing field. This works because I don't give the same test twice.

      As for RMP ... yes there are those who will game the system, but from what I have seen they are a minority. Of course, I have only looked at ratings for a few schools.

      We do end-of-term evaluations for instructors so I know about disgruntled students and bad reviews.

      Thanks for the input.

      "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A. Einstein

      by FWIW on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 09:08:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tips for Multiple Choice Questions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FWIW

    Eliminate the answers you know are wrong first then decide from the remaining choices.

    Statistically, "C" is the most common answer so if you have to guess blindly on an answer or two...go with "C"  (Providing the choices are the standard machine graded "A" "B" "C" or "D"

    DITCH MITCH-Republican "Bush Buddy" Governor of Indiana

    by libnewsie on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:39:07 PM PDT

    •  I don't know about the "C" part ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... if the answers are coded by a random number generator, as most standardized test are, then all the correct answers/letters/numbers should appear with equal frequency.

      I have been a refresher course instructor for the Professional Engineer exam. This is what I told those students:

      1. Review all the questions. Mark them with a "+" for the questions they could easily answer, an "o" for the questions they could answer with some effort, and a "-" for those they couldn't answer.
      1. Work all the "+" problems.
      1. Work all the "o" problems they could, until the proctor told them they had 15 minutes left, then do this:

      Pick up the answer sheet and hold it flat (edgewise) at eye level. Look down each column to see which column had the fewest answers (most blank space). The column that had the most blank space was the default answer column.

      Look at the answer in the default answer column for each unanswered question. If it was reasonable, i.e. correct units/magnitude, pick the answer in that column. Essentially, 'straight line' the answers in the 'most blank' column unless it was obviously wrong.

      "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A. Einstein

      by FWIW on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 09:37:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some good advice... if she would take it.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FWIW, Wolf Of Aquarius

    I don't believe that most college students really don't know that you should do the reading and take notes; they simply have other fish to fry.

    And I was a bit concerned about these two:

    Get Cliffs Notes/study aids when available (may find in library).
    Use the internet to find study aids.

    Telling a college student to get the Cliff Notes to Wuthering Heights is like telling them not to read Wuthering Heights: just read the Cliff Notes. This is sad because, besides getting good grades in college, there's the whole being and educated person thing, and learning to think and enjoy culture and stuff. Also, many poor students plagiarize papers out of Cliff Notes, which leads to more bad grades....

    Study aids on the internet? Well, some may be good; many will be horrible. And, once again, is this really a way to say to the student: "Find a short cut instead of actually doing the work."

    •  Just saying ... (0+ / 0-)

      'use all the resources you can find.'

      Cliffs Notes was huge help for me in getting through Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, etc. Of course, I was a freshman with no study skills.

      College students are there for one or more of three reasons:

      1. Have a good time.
      1. Get a degree.
      1. Get an education.

      Some of them will try to make good grades, a few will actually try to learn something, and some don't care if they learn something or get good grades.

      Fortunately, getting a degree and getting an education are not mutually exclusive.

      "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A. Einstein

      by FWIW on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 09:47:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All good advice. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, Boreal Ecologist

    Ideally, these kinds of study skills would have been developed long before a kid gets to college.  Even under the best of circumstances, some people just have trouble with the organization it takes to be a successful student.  

    I know that every school in which I've taught does teach study skills, however there is often not much back-up at home.  Parents who work too many hours or at more than one job, don't have the time to make sure that their kids are following a study routine.  Then, there is the issue of too many activities.  

    I think it's great that there are so many things from which to choose, but often kids aren't made to really make the choice.  Kids who are involved in every activity known to mankind don't have a lot of time for homework.  I sure wish there were a simple answer, but the problem is too complex for that.

    BTW, I was one of those kids who never learned to study well.  I didn't have to even try until I got to college.  It was a rude awakening....

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 10:40:20 PM PDT

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