Review: Developing Study Skills

Welcome to Week 2!  By now, you should have a sense of what this and your other classes are about.  You should also have a sense of what you might need to do in terms of time management in order to accomplish your goals this quarter.  The following exercises are techniques for helping you to manage your time better so you can have a successful quarter.  Give one or all a try!

Exercise 1

Now that you have learned some time-management basics, it is time to apply those skills. For this exercise, you will develop a weekly schedule and a semester calendar.

  1. Working with your class schedule, map out a week-long schedule of study time. Try to apply the “two- to three-hour” rule. Be sure to include any other nonnegotiable responsibilities, such as a job or child care duties.
  2. Use your course syllabi to record exam dates and due dates for major assignments in a calendar (paper or electronic). Use a star, highlighting, or other special marking to set off any days or weeks that look especially demanding.


Exercise 2

The key to managing your time effectively is consistency. Completing the following tasks will help you stay on track throughout the semester.

  1. Establish regular times to “check in” with yourself to identify and prioritize tasks and plan how to accomplish them. Many people find it is best to set aside a few minutes for this each day and to take some time to plan at the beginning of each week.
  2. For the next two weeks, focus on consistently using whatever time-management system you have set up. Check in with yourself daily and weekly, stick to your schedule, and take note of anything that interferes. At the end of the two weeks, review your schedule and determine whether you need to adjust it.
  3. Review the preceeding list of dos and don’ts.
    1. Identify at least two habits from the “Dos” list that you could use to improve your time-management skills.
    2. Identify the habit from the “Don’ts” list that you are most likely to slip into as the semester gets busier. What could you do to combat this habit?

Exercise 3

Over the next few weeks, establish a note-taking system that works for you.

  1. If you are not already doing so, try using one of the aforementioned techniques. (Remember that the Cornell system can be combined with other note-taking formats.)
  2. It can take some trial and error to find a note-taking system that works for you. If you find that you are struggling to keep up with lectures, consider whether you need to switch to a different format or be more careful about distinguishing key concepts from unimportant details.
  3. If you find that you are having trouble taking notes effectively, set up an appointment with your school’s academic resource center.