Revised Edition by Amy Yarlett August 2017


Original Authors: Andrew A. Bushko

Joseph M. Hargadon Caryn L. Holstein

Lanetia (Sam) Noble Emily C. Richardson

Donna Weaver-McCloskey

Previously Revised by: Jennifer Cullen

Joy P. Dickerson Jeffrey C. Lolli

Scott Rappaport Suzanne Mannes Jayne Thompson

Amy Yarlett





Table of Contents

Introduction 4 Chapter 1 You Are Here. Why? 5

• Widener University 6

• History 6

• Organization & Structure 9

• The Faculty 14

• Why Are You Here? 16

• Setting Goals 17

Chapter 2 The Clock is Ticking 20 • Time Use Analysis 21

• How to Build Your Schedule 23

• The Problem with Procrastination 27 Chapter 3 Courses and Classes in College 30

• Determining and Meeting Expectations 31

• Coping with the Lecture 33

• Effective Note Taking 33 Chapter 4 Study Skills 36

• Study Skills Survey 37

• Learning Styles 38

• SQ3R 41

• Strengthening Your Comprehension 46

• Memory Process 46

• Remembering and Forgetting 46

• Enhancing Your Memory 48

• Note Taking 51




Chapter 5 Your College Text: Reading Is Not Like Watching T.V. 57

• The W.I.D.E.N.E.R. Approach to Your College Text 59 Chapter 6 Test Taking and Test Anxiety 65

• Questions to Ask Before an Exam 66

• Preparing for a Test 67

• How to Take Exams Effectively 68

• All Types of Exams 68

• Essay 69

• Multiple Choice 71

• True False 73

• Examining Returned Tests 74

• Test Anxiety Analysis 76

• Dealing With Test Anxiety 77 Chapter 7 You, Your Advisor, and the Registration Process 81

• The Process: Student Planning 82

• What Courses Should You Take 95

• Glossary of Key Terms 96

• How to Calculate Your GPA 97

• Schedule Worksheet 98 Chapter 8 Academic Integrity 99

• Academic Fraud 100

• Plagiarism 100 Chapter 9 Getting Involved: Life Outside the Classroom 103


Appendix 1: Writing and Reading 106 Appendix 2: Classroom Conduct 113 Appendix 3: Diversity 116





Introduction – Welcome to Widener Getting started in college is like trying to buy a train ticket in a foreign country where you don’t speak the native language and the train schedule is a jumble of places and times. Hoping no one will see how confused you are, you wander around the train station trying to figure things out. You are well aware there are some local customs you should be sensitive to but unfortunately you don’t know what they are. After you’ve tried to read the timetable for the fourth time, you start to have second thoughts about why you’re on this trip at all and with a sinking heart you once more consult your map to figure where you are, where you think you want to go and how you’ll get there. Among the dozens of things you don’t know at this moment, a couple things are very clear: there’s a good chance you will take the wrong train or that you’ll be left at the station when the train you should have been on pulls away. Worst of all, you have the feeling that everyone else in the train station knows how to get where they want to go. So much for the glamour and adventure of travel and, by the way, welcome to your freshman year. Your Freshman Seminar is intended to make getting started in college a little easier. Your Seminar professor will help you understand some of the new words and phrases we use on campus as well as how to read the policies and procedures that can look confusing. Your professor also will introduce you to some of Widener’s local customs and work to reduce your fear of not knowing campus. Most important of all, they’ll help you figure out where you want to go with your college education and what might be the best way of getting there. While you and your Seminar classmates are working on the transition of being a college student, your professor also will actively be engaging you in an intellectual topic of great interest to him or her. It is hoped that through this engagement you will begin to develop the critical thinking, research, discussion, and writing skills essential for success in college. It also is hoped that The Widener Experience will introduce you to the world of ideas that can be found at a university and show you just how exciting this world can be. This text, The Widener Experience, is part workbook and part resource manual. Topics range from how to develop a personal time management plan to finding your way through the University’s structure to understanding Widener’s registration policies and procedures. In many ways this text should serve you well not only during your first semester but through your entire stay at Widener. In addition to the materials in this text, you also will be able to access the Undergraduate Catalog at and the Student Handbook can be accessed at, under current students, as well as materials pertaining to your specific Seminar from your professor. These materials found online, combined with text from your professor, and this book form the complete text for this Seminar. It is hoped you will find this text and your Freshman Seminar useful and even fun!





Chapter 1



The purpose of this chapter is to: • provide a brief overview of the history and organizational structure of Widener University; • help you identify some of the faculty and administrative staff who will be important to your life as a freshman; • cause you to examine your reasons for going to college and to translate your general long-term goals into specific achievable goals for your first semester on campus. Pre-reading questions: 1. Historically speaking how did Widener University grow to be a leading metropolitan university from its roots as a small early nineteenth century select school for boys in Wilmington, Delaware? 2. How many schools and colleges comprise Widener University? 3. What is a dean? 4. What are some of the most important differences between the responsibilities of your Widener faculty as compared to those of your high school teachers? 5. What are your reasons for going to college? How do you think your reasons compare to those of freshmen across the country? 6. Specifically, what do I plan to achieve by the end of the semester?





Probably nearly everyone who has visited a public attraction such as a museum, theme park, or zoo has seen a map of the location with a star on it labeled “You Are Here.” Obviously the purpose of such a map is to give people a sense of where they are in the context of the larger environment. This chapter has a similar purpose and it is hoped that by the end of this chapter you will have a better sense of the larger environment, Widener University, and a clearer idea of where and how you fit into that larger environment.

A Brief History of Widener University Widener was founded more than 150 years ago. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania there are only six institutions older than Widener and in the entire United States, there are only 38 colleges or universities founded before the year Widener was founded. Consulting the history of Widener University in this text, please answer the following questions.

1. When and where was Widener founded? ____________________________


2. Name three of Widener’s nine predecessor institutions. ________________________________________________________________


3. In what year did the Pennsylvania Military Academy become Pennsylvania

Military College? ________ 4. When did Widener become a university? ________ 5. How many campuses does Widener have? _________

History Founded in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1821, Widener University is composed of six schools and colleges which offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre- professional curricula. A comprehensive, teaching institution chartered in both Pennsylvania and Delaware, Widener is today a three-campus University offering numerous major programs of study leading to the associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The University’s schools include: The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Business Administration, School of Nursing, School of Human Service Professions, and Law Schools.





Widener’s nine predecessor institutions each had different educational missions. The Bullock School (1821-1846) and the Alsop School became Hyatt’s Select School of Boys (1853-1859). It introduced military instruction in 1858 and shortly thereafter changed its name to the Delaware Military Academy (1859-1862). The institution received its universal charter from the Pennsylvania Legislature on April 8, 1862 as the Chester County Military Academy, located in facilities near West Chester. Two months later, on June 26, 1862, the school was renamed Pennsylvania Military Academy (1862-1892). In 1867, the cornerstone for the present Old Main was laid on a newly purchased tract of land in Chester. In to indicate without ambiguity that the academy was vested with collegiate powers and privileges, the name was changed in 1892 to Pennsylvania Military College (1892-1966). In 1934, Pennsylvania Military College became a nonprofit, nonproprietary institution. In the 1940s and 1950s, the profile of the student body began to change dramatically: World War II Army trainees were admitted to an Army Specialized Training Program as early as 1943; World War II veterans entered in 1946; off-campus living privileges were extended to nonveterans in 1949; and an Evening Division opened in 1954. While in fact there was still a boarding Corps of Cadets, an ever- growing number of civilian students were enrolled in both day and evening programs. In 1965, noncadet boarding students were accepted and in 1966, with the acquisition of the College of Nursing of the Crozer Foundation, the first women were enrolled. In 1966, Pennsylvania Military College officially became PMC Colleges (1966- 1972). The name Pennsylvania Military College was retained for the cadet college and Penn Morton College was adopted for the civilian component. The modern structure of the University was introduced in 1972, when the cadet corps was disbanded and the academic offerings were reorganized into the Centers of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, and Management, the forerunners of today’s schools and colleges. Concomitant with these changes, the institution adopted the name Widener College (1972-1979) in honor of the Widener family which is as famous for its philanthropy and collections of art and rare books as it is for its contributions to higher education, business, finance, transportation, and thoroughbred horse racing. In recognition of its comprehensive offerings, Widener College became Widener University in 1979. Graduate programs had been introduced in 1967 with a master’s program in engineering, followed by the M.B.A. and then by some 30 additional master’s and doctoral programs. Moreover, the University had, by 1979, expanded from a single campus in Chester, Pennsylvania to a two-campus institution. The Delaware Campus of Widener University was opened in 1976 as the result of an affiliation with Brandywine Junior College (closed in May 1992), whose 40-acre campus was located on Rt. 202, north of Wilmington, Delaware. For the first several





years, the campus in Delaware was shared by Brandywine College and by the Delaware Law School, a formerly independent institution that had been acquired by Widener in 1975. In 1988 Widener University broke ground on its third campus, Widener University School of Law; located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Harrisburg Campus officially opened in the fall of 1989. History Footnotes • The attending physician in the Intensive Care Unit where President Reagan was

taken after William Hinckley tried to assassinate him was William A Knaus, a 1968 Widener graduate.

• The legendary film director Cecil B. de Mille (The Ten Commandments, King of Kings) went to school here for two years in the late 1890’s.

• Polo was established as a university sport in the late 19th century with our team playing in Madison Square Garden against teams from colleges and universities such as Cornell, Yale, and Princeton. On several occasions we were the national intercollegiate polo champions.

• The tombstones around Alumni Auditorium designate locations where seniors on Commencement Day buried their books to show their freedom from academic trials and tribulations. Tombstone dates identify which class buried their books beneath them.

• John Wanamaker, the founder of the Wanamaker’s department store empire, was the President of the Board of Trustees for several years early in this century. General Douglas MacArthur also was a member of the Board of Trustees.

• Joseph R. Biden, Jr, former Vice President of the United States, former United States Senator, and former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has taught regularly at Widener’s School of Law.

• The only college diploma on display at the Hyde Park home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt is an honorary degree we bestowed upon FDR. The diploma is located in the bedroom Roosevelt used when he was a boy. Other distinguished persons to whom we’ve given an honorary degree include Dwight Eisenhower, Edward Teller, Jonas Salk, Walter Annenberg, Barry Goldwater, and Bob Hope.

• The son of President Benjamin Harrison went to school here.

• Six Widener alumni have played professional football including Bill “Reds” Pollock ’35 who was named an All American, Joe Fields ’75 who played for the New York Jets from 1975 to 1987, and Billy “White Shoes” Johnson also from the class of 1975 who played for both the Houston Oilers and the Atlanta Falcons.





• Widener alumni authors include Steve Gillom ’78 who has written three history books while a professor at Yale and Brent Staples ’73 who wrote the best seller Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White. Dr. Staples is a Chester native and now serves as a member of The New York Times Editorial Board.


How the University is Organized Universities are collections of two or more schools and colleges. Widener has six schools and colleges. As a student at Widener, you are both a university student and a student in a specific college or school. For example, if you are an accounting major, you are a student in the School of Business Administration of Widener University; or, if you are a Criminal Justice major, you are a student in the College of Arts and Sciences of Widener. What this means as a practical matter is that you as a student must follow the policies and procedures of your school or college as well as those of the University. Consulting your undergraduate catalog, list below the six schools and colleges of Widener and identify with an “x” the one that is home to your major. Please note that until they declare a major, Exploratory Studies students are members of the University but not of a specific school or college.

1. __________________________________________

2. __________________________________________

3. __________________________________________

4. __________________________________________

5. __________________________________________

6. __________________________________________


My Major is ________________________________

Deans and More Deans

The chief administrative officer of each of Widener’s six schools and colleges is called a Dean. In each school or college, assistant and/or associate deans as well as sometimes department chairpersons report to the dean and assist in the administration of their respective units. Consulting your undergraduate catalog and other campus resources, identify who is the Dean of the schools and colleges listed below and then identify the other administrators listed for the school or college in which you are enrolled.





College of Arts and Sciences Office Location Dean ________________________________________________ ___________

Associate Dean of Humanities _____________________________ ___________

Associate Dean of Sciences _______________________________ ___________

Associate Dean of Social Sciences __________________________ ___________ School of Engineering Office Location Dean ___________________________________________________ __________

Assistant Dean ___________________________________________ __________

Chair, Dept. of Chemical Engineering __________________________ __________

Chair, Dept. of Civil Engineering ______________________________ __________

Chair, Dept. of Electrical Engineering __________________________ __________

Chair, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering ________________________ __________

Chair, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering _________________________ __________

Chair, Dept. of Robotics Engineering ___________________________ __________


School of Human Service Professions Office Location Dean ____________________________________________________ __________

Associate Dean, Center for Education ___________________________ __________

Associate Dean, Physical Therapy ______________________________ __________

Director, Social Work ________________________________________ __________

School of Business Administration Office Location Dean ____________________________________________________ __________

Assistant Dean for Academic Programs _________________________ __________

Dept. Chair, Management, Human Resource Management, and Sport Management

___________________________________ __________

Dept. Chair, Accounting, Economics, Finance _____________________ __________





Hospitality Management _____________________________________ __________

School of Nursing Office Location Dean ____________________________________________________ __________

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs ____________________________ __________

Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Student Services________________ __________

Exploratory Studies Office Location Director __________________________________ __________


Some Other Academic Administrators You Should Know

In addition to the persons you have identified so far, there are some other academic administrative officers who play important roles in your life as a Widener student. These persons are as follows.

The Provost is the chief academic officer of the University. This means that all academic deans report to the Provost and that she is responsible for all academic programs and policies as well as most student services. Who is the Provost and where is her office located? ______________________________________________________________ The Associate Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs on the Main Campus has a variety of responsibilities, two of which have direct importance to many students. First, the Associate Provost serves as an ombudsman for students. In this capacity, the Associate Provost helps students weave their way through University academic policies and procedures and when necessary assists students in disputed matters or when circumstances arise that threaten to disrupt a student’s education: for example, a severe illness, a car accident, or a death in the family. Who is the Associate Provost and where is her office located? ________________________________________________________________





Your Advisor: Your Academic Connection to the University. Your advisor plays an important role in your life at Widener. He/she is your first stop for any academic concern or issue during your Widener education. He/she will help you understand the purposes of your educational program and will assist you as you formulate your academic and career plans. Each semester you will meet with your advisor to select which courses you will take the next semester. You also will get the signature of your advisor whenever you want to change your schedule, for example, if you want to drop or withdraw from a course. Who is your advisor and what is his/her contact information? Academic Advisor: _____________________________ Office location: __________________ Phone/Email: ______________________ Email: __________________________________





The Administration of Student Services and Academic Support Services

On average students spend fifteen to eighteen hours per week in class. The rest of their time is spent doing other things, for example: attending a group study session in preparation for a test; practicing for a varsity sport; doing laundry; and, driving back and forth from home to get to campus, to name just a few activities. Widener’s faculty and administration considers a student’s life outside the classroom to be an important part of a college education and know well that how students spend their “free” time largely will determine their academic success. Consequently, a number of administrators are responsible for a wide variety of student services ranging from athletics to financial aid to study programs to housing. For each of the following areas, name at least one administrator who has responsibilities in that area, give that person’s title, and identify where his or her office is located. Area Administrator & Title Office Location

Disabilities Services

Residence Life (someone other than a R.A. or Area Coordinator)


Student Life

Tutoring Services

Student Health Services

Counseling Services

Career Services

International Student Services


Student Conduct

Financial Aid


Academic Coaching






Faculty So far this chapter has focused primarily on Widener’s organizational structure and its administrators. However, while the various deans and other administrators are important to your experience at Widener, your classroom instructors are more important to your success as a student than anyone else other than yourself. Consequently, there are some basic facts about faculty you should know. Probably, the first thing you would like to know about faculty is how do you address your instructors. Do you call them professor or doctor? What title is appropriate? In most cases either title is correct. Most faculty at Widener hold the rank of assistant, associate, or full professor. Whatever a person’s academic rank, the title professor is appropriate. Likewise most faculty at Widener have a doctoral degree of one kind or another. In these cases use of the title doctor is appropriate. The two most common doctorates are the Doctor of Philosophy, the Ph.D., and the Doctor of Education, the Ed.D. There are a couple technical exceptions to the rules just mentioned. One is that some faculty have the rank of instructor or lecturer. In all these cases the common practice is simply to use the title professor. Consulting your syllabi, list below the academic rank and the degrees earned for each of the faculty who teach your courses. Also list the same information for your advisor.

Name Rank Highest degree earned













Another thing you should know about your faculty is that they have a far greater degree of responsibility for the courses they teach and the way they teach those courses than did your high school teachers. While it is true that faculty have the responsibility to offer courses that are consistent with those described in the college catalog, it must also be understood that they have a great deal of freedom within those broad guidelines. For example, in colleges and universities, faculty select which texts will be used, what instructional methods will be used, which topics will be stressed and how they will be interpreted, how many and what kind of examinations will be used, and what criteria will be used to grade students. This autonomy is crucial to a faculty member’s academic freedom and is considered to be one of the most important aspects of academic life. Faculty have some important responsibilities in addition to developing and teaching their courses. For example, they each have a number of advisees, they participate in setting academic policies and practices through Widener’s governance structure, and they are engaged in scholarly activities outside the classroom. Faculty tend to be very busy people but you should know that at Widener teaching is the core activity for faculty and is considered to be the most important thing each faculty member does. Thus, you are not “bothering” a professor when you ask questions or pay an office visit. In fact most faculty are pleased when you visit their office during office hours.

President All the administrators and faculty you have identified in the preceding sections of this chapter ultimately report to the President of Widener who is responsible for the overall administration of the university. With over a thousand employees, three campuses, and a multimillion dollar budget, the job of serving as President is a formidable one. Who is the President of Widener University and where is her office located? President: __________________________________________ Office Location: ____________________





Why Are You Here? Each year since 1966 the Cooperative Institutional Research Program based at the Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA surveys tens of thousands of freshmen as they enter college. CIRP’s study of the Widener class that entered in the Fall 2015 reports that students thought the following six reasons were the most important to them in making the decision to go to college. Percentage noting reason Reason as very important

1. To be able to get a better job 96

2. To get training for a specific career 93

3. To be able to make more money 88

4. To learn more about things that interest me 86

5. To gain a general education and appreciation of ideas 79

6. To prepare myself for graduate/professional school 65

On a scale of 1 to 5, how do these reasons for going to college compare to your own reasons?

NOT AT ALL 1 2 3 4 5 IDENTICAL If you have different reasons for going to college, what are they?







What were your reasons for deciding to attend Widener?










First Semester Goals

The preceding section of this chapter focused on “big picture” topics. These “big picture” topics are important because they can provide the overall sense of direction and purpose which is related to success in college. However, at the same time it is just as critical to have a series of short term goals because the “big picture” goal such as graduating from college and getting into law school are accomplished one test, one paper, and one quiz at a time. In keeping with this idea, the purpose here is to help you define what you want to achieve this first semester of your college education. Setting Realistic Goals: The S.P.A.M.M. System Setting realistic goals is difficult because it requires thoughtful introspection and careful planning. To set a realistic goal try the S.P.A.M.M. System. 1. Be SPECIFIC. Instead of saying “I want to get good grades,” say “I want to get at

least a 2.75 G.P.A. and have no grade lower than “C”.

2. Be POSITIVE that your goal truly is what you want to achieve. This is tougher than it sounds because it requires sorting out your values and priorities to find what you really want to do.

3. Be sure that your goal is ACHIEVABLE. Be realistic about what you are able to do. Be very honest with yourself.

4. Carefully plan the METHODS you will use to achieve your goal. This step in goal setting requires the identification of the component parts of the process that get you to your goal. For example, think of all the component parts of the process that would allow you to achieve a relatively simple goal such as “I want to go to the Natalie Merchant concert in Philly next weekend.”

5. Be sure that achievement of your goal can be MEASURED. This step relates back to the first step about being specific and requires that you are able to answer the question “How will you know you’ve done what you said you would do?


With the S.P.A.M.M. system in mind, set three goals you want to achieve in the next two weeks. These goals can be academic or social. For example “I want to arrive on time for each of my classes, including my 8:00 a.m. English class.” or “I want to find out the name of that very attractive person I see in front of the University Center at lunch each day.”





Goal 1.




Goal 2.




Goal 3. _____________________________________________________________________




Now, set three goals you want to achieve by the time mid-term exams are over. Again, these can be academic or social. Goal 1.




Goal 2.




Goal 3.









Now, set three goals you want to achieve by the end of the semester. These, too, can be academic or social but because they will take longer to achieve than the goals you have set so far they should be more comprehensive in nature.

Goal 1.





Goal 2.





Goal 3.






Go for it: Plan to be among the best

It helps to set your goals high. One goal might be to strive for special recognition while you are a student at Widener. Widener offers honors and awards to students in their freshman through senior years, as well as awards to graduate students.






Chapter 2




Pre-reading questions: 1. Why is it so critical to master time management in college? 2. Is lack of time really the problem in time management? 3. What are the benefits of a time schedule and how do you make one? 4. Does it matter when you study as long as you do study? 5. Are there any suggestions to make managing time easier?

The purpose of this chapter is to: • Show you how to analyze your time. • Help you prepare a semester plan, a weekly plan, and a daily plan to assist you in better using your time.

• Help you better understand the demands on your time as a student at Widener University. • Discuss procrastination







Time Use Analysis: Putting Time on Your Mind Analyze how you use your current time based on your current experience. It is important to answer the questions honestly. Reflect what you do or don’t do, not what you think you should or shouldn’t do. YES NO 1. I often study at a time when I am not at peak efficiency due ___ ___ to fatigue. 2. I have failed to complete at least one assignment on time this ___ ___ semester. 3. This week I spent time watching TV, visiting, or napping that ___ ___ really should have been spent otherwise. 4. Often, lack of prioritizing tasks causes me some difficulty in ___ ___ completing tasks on time. 5. Social or athletic events cause me to neglect academic work ___ ___ fairly often. 6. At least once this semester, I have not remembered that an ___ ___ assignment was due until the night before. 7. I often get behind in one course due to having to work on another. ___ ___ 8. I usually wait until the night before the due date to start assignments.___ ___ 9. My studying is often a hit-or miss strategy which is dependent on ___ ___ my mood. 10. I normally wait until test time to read texts and/or review lecture notes.___ ___ 11. I often have the sinking realization that there is simply not enough time___ ___ left to accomplish the assignment or study sufficiently for the test. 12. Often I rationalize that very few people will earn an A/get the project ___ ___ done on time/really read the text, etc. 13. I catch myself looking forward to study interruptions rather than trying ___ ___ to avoid them. 14. I have failed to eliminate some time wasters this past week that I ___ ___ could have controlled. 15. I often feel out of control in respect to time. ___ ___






16. I procrastinated at least twice a week. ___ ___ 17. I find myself doing easier or more interesting tasks first even if ___ ___ they are not as important. 18. I feel I have wasted quite a lot of time — again this week. ___ ___ 19. I study for EACH course I am currently taking each week. ___ ___ 20. I spend some time this week reviewing previous weeks’ notes even ___ ___ when I do not have a test. 21. The time of day that I am the most alert is _________, so I try ___ ___ to study my hardest subject then. 22. I study approximately 1-2 hours out of class for every hour in class. ___ ___ 23. My most sluggish period during the day is _________, so I use ___ ___ these times to relax or participate in sports or hobbies. 24. I often make out daily lists of tasks to be completed, and I prioritize ___ ___ these lists. 25. I use small blocks of time (10-30 min.) between classes to review ___ ___ notes, start assignments, or plan. To calculate your score, score 1 point for each YES from items 1-18, and 1 point for each NO from items 19-25. The higher your score, the more you need a Master Time Schedule. Consider these categories for your score: 15-19 YOU’RE IN DESPERATE NEED OF A PLAN. How do you ever get

anything accomplished? (Or do you?) 10-14 YOU NEED A PLAN. Life could be simpler if you took the time to plan it out. 5-9 A PLAN WOULD HELP. The going could be smoother, and more could be accomplished. 0-4 A PLAN COULDN’T HURT. You’re doing pretty well, but give yourself the

gift of organization, and you may give yourself the gift of more time.





How to Build Your Schedule One of the keys components to being successful in college and in life is to become an excellent manager of your time. The key to accomplishing the goals that you establish is to set up a plan that includes how you are going to use your time effectively to accomplish those goals.


A study time schedule is a weekly plan of when and what you will study. It identifies specific times for studying particular subjects, writing papers, completing homework, and doing any other routine tasks you have to perform to stay on top. If you devise such a schedule, YOU can control how to divide your available time between study and leisure activities. After completing this weekly schedule, we will then transfer the plan to your semester calendar and include other important activities that will occur. This will allow you to see what time is needed to complete upcoming tasks so that you may reschedule your days in to add other activities.

1. Write “class” in all time blocks that you are in class. Then color it RED.

2. If you have a job, write “work” in all blocks that you are at your job. GRAY

3. If you are involved in sports, clubs, or organizations that meet on a regular basis, write an abbreviation to remind yourself of these commitments. GREEN


4. Write “drive” in appropriate blocks to indicate time needed to get between places. ORANGE


5. Write “eat” in blocks to allow realistic amounts of time for meals each day. BLUE

6. Write “family” and “chores” in blocks allotted for time spent with your family and doing things around your room and home. YELLOW


7. Write “R & R” in blocks to allow for reasonable amounts of time for relaxing. BROWN


8. Allow time in your schedule for things such as haircuts, laundry, doctor’s appointments, shopping, etc. PINK


9. How much time is left for studying????????? PURPLE

Look at the REMAINING HOURS AVAILABLE after all of your class time and other activities are accounted for. Most students will have between 15 and 40 “extra” hours after they have attempted to estimate how much time is required to do all that needs to be done every week. Yet nearly everyone feels there is simply not enough time to do everything that needs to be done.

Why do you think this is so? How are you going to spend your extra hours? If you find that you have more estimated hours for tasks than are available in a week, how are you going to accomplish all that needs to be done in one week? Considering the number of REMAINING HOURS AVAILABLE will there be ENOUGH TIME for you to spend as much time as you need studying?






Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 8:00am



8:30am 9:00am



10:30am 11:00am



11:30am Noon



1:30pm 2:00pm



2:30pm 3:00pm



4:30pm 5:00pm

5:30pm 6:00pm

6:30pm 7:00pm

7:30pm 8:00pm

8:30pm 9:00pm

9:30pm 10:00pm

10:30pm 11:00pm

11:30pm Subject Subject Subject Professor Professor Professor Office

H Office

H Office


Telephone Telephone Telephone Subject Subject Professor Professor Office

H Office


Telephone Telephone





16 Week Term Plan: use the term planner to plot out important projects, papers and tests to see when the busiest times of the semester are and to plan ahead. Post the Term Planner somewhere so you can visually determine which weeks are busier than others and which have more time to “get a jump start on project/studying”

Monday Tuesday Wednes day

Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4


Monday Tuesday Wednes day

Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8






Monday Tuesday Wednes

day Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Week 9

Week 10


Week 11


Week 12



Monday Tuesday Wednes day

Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Week 13


Week 14


Week 15


Week 16







The Problem with Procrastination For most college students, procrastination is the worst academic problem they face. Procrastination causes stress. Keeping up with assigned readings, reviewing notes after class, studying well in advance of tests and starting papers early can eliminate the anxiety of procrastination. Procrastination means needlessly postponing tasks until later, and it is really just a strategy that people use to protect themselves from certain fears. These fears usually involve the fear of failing, or even succeeding. Statements like: “I must be perfect,” “It’s safer to do nothing than do the wrong thing,” or “If I do a good job, I may have to do an even better job next time” are common thoughts for procrastinators. Many of us probably would fall into this category if we were honest with ourselves. Overcoming procrastination is a matter of habit and will-power and the only way to cure the problem is to face the fears. What can be done to help overcome procrastination? 1. Reduce distractions – What are your distractions/ Time Wasters?

2. Set daily goals.

3. List tasks to be done in of importance. Start with the most important or

pressing task first, then move on to the next, etc. 4. Break tasks down into smaller steps. For example, writing a research paper can

be an overwhelming task. If you break it down into little steps and do one thing each day, you will feel less overwhelmed. You can break the steps down as follows: a) choose a topic g) write conclusion b) research topic in the library h) decide on a title c) prepare notecards i) go to Writing Center d) outline paper j) make revisions e) write thesis statement k) prepare bibliography, graphs, etc f) write body of the paper l) type A similar example would be preparing for a four chapter exam a week in advance:

Day 1 – review Chapter 1/outline Day 5 – review notes Day 2 – review Chapter 2/outline Day 6 – overview of all notes & outlines

Day 3 – review Chapter 3/outline Day 7 – test Day 4 – review Chapter 4/outline

5. Set a deadline to complete the task. Set a goal for accomplishing a task. For example your “TO DO” list may say to gather articles for a paper, so set a time frame and manageable goal to have 5 articles by Thursday etc…OR set a goal to work on the project for 10 minutes etc. Often you will find that the 10 minutes goes quickly and encourages you to continue working.

6. Reward yourself for accomplishing a task, taking a test, writing a paper, etc. Rewards are great incentives to complete a project.





Complete the procrastination quiz to see if procrastination is a problem for you and in what area(s) you have difficulty.

YOUR PROCRASTINATION RATING Answer all of the following statements that apply to you. Be honest. TRUE FALSE

1. If I had a difficult task and an easy one to do, I would do the easy one first. ___ ___

2. I don’t like to turn down any requests for involvement. ___ ___

3. I avoid boring tasks. ___ ___

4. I am frequently angry at myself for putting things off. ___ ___

5. I have more work than I could ever possibly finish. ___ ___

6. I feel frustrated by my inability to get a handle on things. ___ ___ 7. Other students do much better work than I ever could do. ___ ___ 8. If I can’t do something right, I’d rather not do it at all. ___ ___

9. If I wait until tomorrow, I’ll probably do a better job. ___ ___

10. Large tasks feel overwhelming to me. ___ ___

11. If you leave problems alone, they often take care of themselves. ___ ___

12. I schedule my study time in advance. ___ ___

13. I have definite times for play and for study. ___ ___

14. Interruptions (such as calls and visitors) while I’m studying bother me. ___ ___

15. I give myself strict deadlines for finishing assignments. ___ ___

16. Once I’ve started an assignment, I often find there’s something I don’t ___ ___


17. I’ve been meaning to do something about time management for a while. ___ ___

18. I often would do a better job if I had more time to spend on it. ___ ___ 19. I like to work on several different projects at a time. ___ ___ 20. I rarely or never skip lunch. ___ ___






SCORING Give yourself 1 point for every TRUE answer in number 1 to 11 and 16 to 20. _____ Give yourself 1 point for every FALSE answer in 12 to 15. _____ Total points: _____ INTERPRETATION 0-5 You are very well-organized and probably get things done on time. 6-10 You procrastinate some, but probably manage to get most things done on time. 11-15 You procrastinate more often than not, and probably miss deadlines and rush to finish other things on time. 16-20 You are a real procrastinator and probably have trouble finishing anything. WHAT DO I DO ABOUT IT ? ? ? Look at any items on which you scored points and try to devise a plan to overcome this area of procrastination. Write a complete paragraph about a possible plan of attack. _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ References McWhorter, Kathleen. (2007). College Reading and Study Skills (10th ed.). Publisher:







Chapter 3



The purpose of this chapter is to: • introduce you to some of the basic expectations of collegiate level work and to steps you can take to meet those expectations; • help you deal effectively with the lecture method of instruction; • provide specific ways you can take useful lecture notes. Pre-reading Questions: 1. Do you know what your instructors expect of you in each of your classes? How do you know? 2. Where do you sit in each of your courses? Can where you sit affect your grades? 3. Do you take notes in your classes? Do you honestly think your notes will help you when it comes time to prepare for an exam?







Determining and Meeting Collegiate Expectations When freshmen arrive at college they generally have only a vague idea of what will be expected of them in their classes. They know that college will be different than high school but they do not know exactly what the differences will be. Thinking about your high school classes and the experiences you have had so far at Widener, list below three differences between your high school classes and your college classes you think are important. High School College 1. _______________________________ _____________________________


2. _______________________________ _____________________________

3. _______________________________ _____________________________ As you work your way through your college education you will become competent in judging what your instructors expect of you and to what degree you are meeting those expectations. Indeed, knowing what faculty expect and how well you are doing is one of the most important success skills you will develop in college. Unfortunately, a significant number of college freshmen do not begin to gain this skill quickly enough to avoid serious academic problems. The following comments are offered to help you discern what is expected of you in your college courses as quickly as possible. 1. Carefully review the syllabus for each of your courses. Take care to note on

your calendar when each assignment is due and when each test or quiz will be given. If this information cannot be found in your syllabi, make sure to get the information in class. Also, make sure you clearly understand the exact nature of the requirements and assignments for your courses. For example, if you have a paper assigned you should have a good idea about the kind of topic you should address, how long the paper should be, what method of documentation you should use, and what types of resources you should reference, etc. If you have a test, you should know if it will be multiple choice or essay or short answer or some combination of these formats. You also should know precisely what materials will be covered on the test. The more you know about your instructors’ expectations the more likely you will meet those expectations and earn better grades.





2. While faculty often will remind you when assignments are due or when a test will be given, this will not always be the case. Many faculty believe that if something is in the syllabus you have been informed and there is no reason to repeat that information in class, particularly if the assignment is to read certain materials by a certain date. One of the most common mistakes freshmen make is to think they have no “homework” because no papers or projects are due immediately and tests are five or six weeks in the future. Nothing could be further from the truth. If a faculty member states in his or her syllabus that you should read chapters 1-5 in your text by September 30, the faculty member expects you to do that reading if he or she mentions the assignment to you in class or not. Moreover, it is highly likely that when a faculty member lectures or makes comments in class it will be with the assumption (or at least the hope) you have done the assigned work. Please do not ignore this.

3. College courses unlike high school courses tend to be lecture centered rather than

textbook centered. A classroom lecture is not just someone standing in front of a group of students and chatting about something. Rather, lectures are a serious effort by faculty to engage students in what they think are important topics. Moreover, it is critical to understand that lectures are not just a repeat of what is in your textbook. Rather, they are a related but independent source of information that represents a faculty member’s best thinking on a particular subject. If you listen carefully to your instructors’ lectures, you will find what they consider important and what most likely will be covered in a test.

4. When it comes to tests, you need genuinely to understand all of the material covered in your courses. This is something your instructors expect without saying it. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that if you know 70% of the material, you will be able to get a C. You won’t. Knowing 70% of the material probably will earn you a D at best.

5. Self-assessment, knowing what you know and don’t know in a class, is considered your responsibility by faculty and is one of the most important skills you will need to learn. In high school you were frequently given feedback about how you were doing in a class. This will not be the case in college. In many of your courses you will have only two or three tests including the final examination. Consequently, you should develop your own way of determining what you know and don’t know in a class. One of the best ways to do this is to get a “study buddy” or join a study group for the purpose of jointly reviewing notes and readings and quizzing each other on course materials at least once a week. Research shows that group study really does improve comprehension of subject matter and that students who study in groups get higher grades than those who do not. You should know at least one name and telephone number of a classmate other than PE with whom you can study at least once a week.






Coping with the Lecture

As mentioned already, college courses unlike high school courses tend to be lecture centered. Thus, if you are going to do well in college, you must be able to learn effectively from lectures. For many students this is not easy but learning from lectures is a skill that can be developed with work and practice. Here are some steps you can take to learn effectively from lectures. 1. Make sure to complete all relevant reading assignments before you go to class.

Doing the reading ahead of time is what your professors expect you to do and they will lecture as if you have done what they have assigned. Your professors will refer to ideas, facts, and vocabulary contained in the assigned readings. If you haven’t read the assigned materials you will miss a significant portion of what a professor is saying.

2. Sit up front in class. There is documented evidence showing that students who sit up front in class get better grades than those who sit in the back of the classroom. The simple fact of the matter is that if you sit up front you more likely will pay closer attention to what your instructor is saying, have more direct contact with your instructor, and be better known to your instructor than if you sit where students are greasing the wall with the backs of their heads.

3. Take careful notes. Because of the centrality of lectures in college courses the notes you take in class will in effect become important textbooks which are equal in value to any volume you buy in the bookstore. There are a variety of ways to take good notes and over time you will develop the method that works best for you. Whatever system you use, you should make sure to do the following.

a) Take notes on only one side of a page and clearly indicate on what day your

notes were taken. These are two small items that will help greatly when you review your notes and when you prepare for tests.

b) Divide your note page into two parts by a vertical line about one-and-a-half to

two inches from the left-hand margin. The wider part of the page to the right of this line is for your lecture notes. The narrow column to the left of the line is called the recall column. The purpose of this column is for key words or questions on the material to be used as a study guide.





A myth persists that all notes should be taken in outline form. An outline has a series of very general categories under which is grouped related, more specific information. Thus, an outline of a lecture might follow this format:

I. First topic A. First main-idea statement 1. First example 2. Second example II. Second Topic

There are at least two problems with using this notetaking system. First, many lecturers do not present their material in a form well enough organized to be outlined this way. Second, you may become so concerned with getting the outline just right that you may miss important information. Instead, you might try the following system: First of all, don’t use numbers or letters unless the speaker is giving you a list organized that way. Do, however, categorize information by indenting and spacing. Main topics are written far to the left and underlined to make them stand out, main-idea statements are indented about an inch to the right, and supporting details are indented to the right under the related main-idea statements. If you cannot figure out at first what the topic is, leave space to fill in later. If you are getting a series of facts without any main idea to tie them together, leave space to fill in the main idea when it becomes clear later. When there is a major break between topics or main ideas, leave two or three lines of space between them to signal the break. This space also is useful if later on you need to add some information.

c) Always write down information a professor puts on the chalk board or on a

PowerPoint. You can be sure that when a professor takes the time to write something on the board or make a PowerPoint, he or she thinks that information is important. Moreover, you also can be sure that such information is highly likely to be included in a test.

d) Develop a system of abbreviation and symbols for words that you will be using frequently in your notes. For example, instead of always writing out the word psychology you might want to use the Greek letter ψ or you might want to use the Greek letter φ for philosophy. Here are some other suggestions.

1) Leave out vowels whenever possible. Example: Lve out vwls

whnevr pssble. 2) Sometimes you can eliminate the ends of words. Examples:

Biology=bio, subject=subj, introduction=intro. 3) Shorten “-ing” to g. Examples: walking=walkg, wishing=wishg.





4) Make use of standard symbols. Here are some common ones:

= equals > greater than ≠ does not equal < less than e.g. for example = identical to i.e. in other words ∴ therefore & and w/o without w/ with etc. and so forth c.f. see also ∆ change

Review your lecture notes regularly. When it comes to lecture notes, many students have a “take and forget” policy (reviewing their notes only when forced to by the impending doom of a test). If you adopt a “take and forget” policy you will find that when you prepare for an exam a good portion of your notes will have become a mystery to you and will confuse rather than help you prepare. A sensible alternative to “take and forget” is regular review and recitation. Here’s what you should do.

Preferably within 24 hours of when you took lecture notes but certainly no later than before the next time this class meets, review your notes and do the following • clarify any unclear notes and fill in any gaps you might discover; • highlight information that seems important to you or that the instructor

stressed; • in the left hand margin on each page of your notes, the recall column,

write organizing statements about your notes. For example, if your government and politics professor lectured about four qualities of presidential leadership, in the recall column write qualities of presidential leadership. If your economics professor lectured about how the Gross Domestic Product is calculated, in your recall column write calculation of GDP. Whatever the subject is, the basic idea is to give structure and focus to your notes;

• using the organizing statements you just wrote in the recall column, ask yourself questions about your notes and answer those questions without looking at your notes. Most important of all, do this out loud. That’s right, talk to yourself. Better yet, do your questions and answers with a “study buddy” or in a group.

Research clearly shows that if you regularly review your notes according to the four steps listed above, your memory of your lecture notes will be nearly 100% greater than if you used a “take and forget” method with your notes.

4. One final note about learning effectively from lectures: go to class. It’s awfully

hard to learn from a lecture when you’re not there to hear it.







Chapter 4


In this chapter, you will learn about: • discovering your learning style

• how to read your textbooks more effectively • how to improve comprehension • tips to improve memory • how to improve note-taking skills Pre-reading questions: 1. What is SQ3R? 2. What are the ways you can improve your comprehension? 3. Are there ways you can improve your memory? If so, what are they? 4. What is a learning style? How would you describe the way you learn? 5. How can I take better notes?






Study Skills Survey

Please complete the survey below and answer the questions as honestly as possible.


1. I fall asleep or daydream when I read. _____ _____ 2. I skip reading the preface and/or introduction and I rarely look at _____ _____ diagrams, pictures, case studies or summaries in the book unless they are assigned.

3. I rarely ask the professor questions about material I don’t ._____ _____ understand. 4. I only study alone and I doubt I’ll ever seek out a tutor. _____ _____ 5. I cram for tests instead of studying over a period of time. _____ _____ 6. I never answer the questions at the end of the chapter or in the _____ _____ workbook that accompanies my textbook.

7. I listen to the radio or TV when I study. _____ _____ 8. My study periods are interrupted by the phone, family or friends. _____ _____ 9. I attend every class and I sit in the front of the class. _____ _____ 10. I outline my chapters or put information on notecards. _____ _____ 11. I review notes before and/or after class. _____ _____ 12. I give myself a reward after I do my assignments. _____ _____ 13. I read my assigned chapters before class so I will understand _____ _____ what is covered in class.

14. I summarize paragraphs or jot down notes in the margins of _____ _____ my book.

15. I make up possible test questions as I am studying. _____ _____ 16. I make sure I study at the times of day I am most alert. _____ _____ 17. I use blocks of time between classes to study. _____ _____ 18. I use some memory tricks to help remember what I study. _____ _____ If you answered “YES” to any of the statements #1 through #8, or “NO” to any of the statements #9 through #18, you need to improve your study skills in those areas.





Learning Styles

When we talk about learning style we mean the style by which you are most comfortable acquiring and most likely to remember information. Many people use a combination of learning styles but often there is one style that is your preference. The more you know about and understand your learning style the more you can work with it to help enhance your learning and recall of information. The learning style inventory below can help you determine your preferred learning style.

Learning Style Inventory To better understand how you prefer to learn and process information, print out this page and place a check in the appropriate space after each statement below, then use the scoring grid on the next page to evaluate your responses. Use what you learn from your scores to better develop learning strategies that are best suited to your particular learning style. This 24-item survey is not timed. Respond to each statement as honestly as you can.

Often Sometimes Seldom

1. I can remember best about a subject by listening to a lecture that includes information, explanations and discussion.


2. I prefer to see information written on a chalkboard and supplemented by visual aids and assigned readings.


3. I like to write things down or to take notes for visual review.

4. I prefer to use posters, models, or actual practice and other activities in class.


5. I require explanations of diagrams, graphs, or visual directions.


6. I enjoy working with my hands or making things.

7. I am skillful with and enjoy developing and making graphs and charts.


8. I can tell if sounds match when presented with pairs of sounds.


9. I can remember best by writing things down several times.

10. I can easily understand and follow directions on a map.

11. I do best in academic subjects by listening to lectures and tapes.


12. I play with coins or keys in my pocket.





13. I learn to spell better by repeating words out loud than by writing the words on paper.


14. I can understand a news article better by reading about it in the newspaper than by listening to a report about it on the radio.


15. I chew gum, smoke, or snack while studying.

16. I think the best way to remember something is to picture it in your head.


17. I learn the spelling of words by “finger spelling” them.

18. I would rather listen to a good lecture or speech than read about the same material in a textbook.


19. I am good at working and solving jigsaw puzzles and mazes.

20. I grip objects in my hands during learning periods.

21. I prefer listening to the news on the radio rather than reading about it in the newspaper.


22. I prefer obtaining information about an interesting subject by reading about it.


23. I feel very comfortable touching others, hugging, handshaking, etc.


24. I follow oral directions better than written ones. SCORING PROCEDURES DIRECTIONS : Place the point value on the line next to the corresponding item below. Add the points in each column to obtain the preference score under each heading. You may print this page to help you fill in the scoring table. OFTEN = 5 points SOMETIMES = 3 points SELDOM = 1 point

VISUAL AUDITORY TACTILE NO. PTS. NO. PTS. NO. PTS. 2 1 4 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 13 15 16 18 17 19 21 20 22 24 23 VPS= Visual preference score

APS= Auditory Preference Score

TPS= Tactile Preference Score





There are 3 main learning styles: Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic/Tactile: 1.) Visual Learners: Take in information through seeing. If you are a VISUAL learner, by all means be sure that you look at all study materials. Use charts, maps, filmstrips, notes, videos, and flash cards. Practice visualizing or picturing words and concepts in your head. Write out everything for frequent and quick visual review. Traits: Usually prefer to study alone to read and visualize material. Tend to remember what a page of information looked like Good at studying from textbook and notes. Tips: Looking at and creating charts and graphs. Draw pictures of what you want to remember. They can visualize a page in their head, therefore it is helpful to take the time to picture the material, then look away and visualize it in your head. Note cards and outlines work well. 2.) Auditory Learners: Take in information through hearing. If you are an AUDITORY learner, you may wish to use tapes. Tape lectures to help fill in gaps in your notes. But do listen and take notes – and review your notes frequently. Sit in the lecture hall or classroom where you can hear well. After you have read something, summarize it and recite it aloud. Talk to other students about class material. Traits: Learn well through lectures. Benefit from working in groups where material is discussed. Tips: Benefit from tape recorded lectures and notes – can tape record your own notes and play them back. Find it helpful to recite material out loud to themselves. 3.) Kinesthetic/Tactile (Hands-on Learners): Those who learn best by doing. If you are a TACTILE learner, trace words as you are saying them. Facts that must be learned should be written several times. Keep a supply of scratch paper on hand for this purpose. Taking and keeping lecture notes is very important. Make study sheets. Associate class material with real-world things or occurrences. When appropriate, practice role playing. Traits: Need to physically work with or manipulate the material. Tips: Tend to prefer hands-on classes such as laboratory courses, mechanics, etc. Building models of what needs to be learned is helpful.





As you become more familiar with your learning style you can apply the study techniques which are most helpful to you. You may also find all of these study techniques to be helpful – just experiment until you find the best methods for you. EXERCISE Which style listed above best describes you? Do you learn best by using techniques from two different styles or perhaps all three? Which learning techniques work best for you?

S Q 3 R What is SQ3R? SQ3R is a study technique and an acronym which stands for SURVEY, QUESTION, READ, RECITE, REVIEW. (see next page for table) Why Use SQ3R to Study? SQ3R: 1. Provides a purpose for reading an assignment. 2. Improves reading comprehension of the assignment. 3. Reinforces the learning process and the resulting knowledge.





Survey! Question! Read! Recite! Review!

Before you read, Survey the chapter:

• the title, headings, and subheadings • captions under pictures, charts, graphs or maps • review questions or teacher-made study guides • introductory and concluding paragraphs • summary

Question while you

are surveying:

• Turn the title, headings, and/or subheadings into questions;

• Read questions at the end of the chapters or after each subheading;

• Ask yourself, “What did my instructor say about this chapter or subject when it was assigned?”

• Ask yourself, “What do I already know about this subject?”

Note: If it is helpful to you, write out these questions for consideration. This variation is called SQW3R

When you begin to


• Look for answers to the questions you first raised; • Answer questions at the beginning or end of chapters or

study guides • Reread captions under pictures, graphs, etc. • Note all the underlined, italicized, bold printed words or

phrases • Study graphic aids • Reduce your speed for difficult passages • Stop and reread parts which are not clear • Read only a section at a time and recite after each


Recite after you’ve

read a section:

• Orally ask yourself questions about what you have just read or summarize, in your own words, what you read

• Take notes from the text but write the information in your own words

• Underline or highlight important points you’ve just read • Use the method of recitation which best suits your

particular learning style but remember, the more senses you use the more likely you are to remember what you read – i.e.,

TRIPLE STRENGTH LEARNING: Seeing, saying, hearing- QUADRUPLE STRENGTH LEARNING: Seeing, saying, hearing, and writing!!!





Review: an ongoing


Day One • After you have read and recited the entire chapter,

write questions in the margins for those points you have highlighted or underlined.

• If you took notes while reciting, write questions for the notes you have taken in the left hand margins of your notebook.

Day Two • Page through the text and/or your notebook to re-

acquaint yourself with the important points. • Cover the right hand column of your text/note-book and

orally ask yourself the questions in the left hand margins. • Orally recite or write the answers from memory. • Make “flash cards” for those questions which give you

difficulty. • Develop mnemonic devices for material which need to be

memorized. Days Three, Four and Five

• Alternate between your flash cards and notes and test yourself (orally or in writing) on the questions you formulated.

• Make additional flash cards if necessary. Weekend Using the text and notebook, make a Table of Contents – list all the topics and sub-topics you need to know from the chapter. From the Table of Contents, make a Study Sheet/ Spatial Map. Recite the information orally and in your own words as you put the Study Sheet/Map together. Now that you have consolidated all the information you need for that chapter, periodically review the Sheet/Map so that at test time you will not have to cram.

Adapted from: Robinson, Francis Pleasant, (1961, 1970) Effective study (4th ed.), Harper & Row, New York, NY. Link:






Creating Guide Questions for Improving Comprehension – Using the SQ3R Technique

Objective: To learn to build sophisticated questions which will help your reading comprehension and your ability to integrate the reading with the goal(s) of the book and the course. I. If major headings and subheadings are present:

A. Underline the key terms in the chapter title, major headings, and subheadings.

B. Ask what you should know about the key terms using the following interrogatives:

what why how

These interrogatives encourage you to develop more thoughtful detailed answers while interrogatives such as who, when, and where narrow your answers to simple or single word responses. The types of questions you develop will dictate how you should read a particular reading assignment to maximize your comprehension. Develop your questions on the following in this . 1. chapter title 2. major headings 3. sub-headings 4. italicized words and/or phrases Remember you are interested in building meaningful relationships between the material you read now, what you read before, and what you will read next. Examples: 1. History a. When did an event occur? b. Where did the event occur? c. Why did it occur? d. Who was involved? e. What were the results? 2. Math a. What is the problem? b. What information do you need to solve the problem? 1) What knowledge do you already have to help you solve the problem? 2) What new information will you use to solve the problem? c. How will you process the information (sequence of steps) to arrive at the





solution to the problem? II. If major headings and subheadings are not present. A. Question the Table of Contents in terms of the present assignment. B. Question the chapter title. C. Question the main points the author states in the introduction and/or Preface. D. Question the topic sentences or first sentences of paragraphs in chapters. III. Application of Questions A. Question how the present reading is related to previous reading(s). B. Question how your reading assignment is related to theme or objective(s) of the course. e.g., why are you assigned this outside reading? e.g., think of your own examples to reinforce your understanding of concepts and to make concepts relevant and meaningful to you. Exercise Using one of your textbooks for one of your other classes, take an assigned chapter and survey the title, headings, subheadings and italicized works. Look at all pictures and graphs. Next, formulate questions about the chapter using the SQ3R technique. Chapter Title The main topics of the chapter are ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Headings, subheading, italicized words or important vocabulary — turn these into questions ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________





Strengthening Your Comprehension It is important to periodically test your comprehension while you are reading. At times you may need to strengthen or attempt to improve your comprehension. Here are some tips for strengthening your understanding of the material. Some ways to improve comprehension include:

1. Be aware of your environment. Eliminate distractions such as TV, computer, phone, etc. Be aware of amount of time you have spent reading, fatigue can negatively affect reading comprehension.

2. Read difficult subjects or sections more slowly. 3. Reread difficult material as necessary. 4. Read challenging subjects or sections out loud. 5. Write answers to guide questions or take notes in the margins. 6. Try to explain the material in your own words. 7. Highlight important information and main ideas. 8. Use other reference material to help understand concepts or vocabulary

that are unfamiliar to you.

The Memory Process Information is taken in through a process called Encoding. The information is then stored briefly in your sensory storage until your brain can sort out what information is important to remember. The process of selective attention is where your brain decides what information should be sent to your short-term memory and which information is simply “background noise” and should be discarded. Once in your short term memory, information will only stay there for a few seconds. In for important to move to your long-term memory you must “do something with it” i.e.: review it, recite it etc. For example: when someone tells you their phone number it will only stay in your short-term memory for a few seconds so you must repeat it several times in for it to move into your long-term memory, otherwise you will forget it.

Remembering and Forgetting

What Do We Remember We remember what we understand. We remember what we think is important We remember what has personal meaning for us. We remember what we have just learned. We remember what we overlearn.








A study conducted at Southwest Missouri State University by Dr. Charles Tegeler revealed information on the value of review to help you remember. Students were given information and they studied it until they had 100% mastery. The group was divided into two groups. One group did not review the material and at the end of 63 days when they were retested, they averaged 17% comprehension. The other group reviewed once a week. At the end of the 63 day period, they averaged 92% comprehension. 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 0 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 Why Do You Forget Research has demonstrated over and over that the greatest amount of forgetting occurs during the first day. Remembering what you have heard is even more difficult to remember than what you have read. When you read, you have control over the material. You can slow down, regress, or speed-up your reading. People often say they forgot something when they actually never knew it. If you just met someone and didn’t really catch their name, you didn’t forget it – you never knew it. There are a variety of theories about forgetting. Think about these as you read them and see if you can understand how the theory relates to your own “forgetful” experiences.

1. It’s There Somewhere. Some psychologists believe once we have thoroughly

learned something, it remains in our memory our entire life. This theory suggests that the concept is there, but we are just having trouble finding it in to be able to retrieve it.

2. Interference Theory – Old facts and ideas cause us to forget new facts and

ideas. The reverse is also true. New ideas and facts can cause confusion with old ones. We are continually adding ideas to our memory bank. If you







learn three similar facts at three separate times, the middle one will have the most difficult time surviving. This is also true of lists you need to remember. The first and last items are easier to remember than the middle ones.

3. Use It Or Lose It – If you don’t use a fact you have learned, it gets more

difficult to remember it. This is why review is so important.

4. Motivation and Attitude Theory – Sometimes we choose to forget. Things we associate with unpleasant memories or mistakes we have made we would like to forget. A poor attitude in class can definitely affect memory ability. You have the power to influence both remembering and forgetting.

The following ideas should help improve your memory: 1. Recitation and repetition – This technique is probably the most powerful one that will allow transfer from short-term to long-term memory. When you want to remember something, repeat it aloud. Recitation works best when you put concepts you want to remember into your own words. Simply repeating things will aid memory. Advertisements hook us in this way. We learn a jingle or a slogan by hearing it repeated again and again. Arthur Gages did a series of recitation experiments in 1917. His experiments suggest that when you are reading a general text (psychology, sociology, history), 80% of your time should be spent in reciting and 20% in reading. It is also more effective to start recitation early in the reading process. Do not wait until you have read everything before you start to recite. 2. Reflecting – It is important to give information time to go from short-term memory to long-term memory. This is considered consolidation time. Researchers vary on their opinions, but a safe rule is to leave information in your short-term memory 4-15 seconds. This gives information time to consolidate and transfer to your long-term memory. This is important to remember when you are reading quickly and not stopping to think about what you have read. The information will be discarded quickly if you do not allow time for transfer. Stop and think about what you have just read, recite it, paraphrase it, and related it to what you already know. 3. Periodic Review – Marathon study sessions are not effective. It is much better to have intermittent spaced review sessions. A practical application of this would be using the small blocks of time you are now wasting during the day. It is also important to take breaks while you studying as mentioned earlier, studying a few pages, thinking about it, then reading a few more pages so you are remembering many “firsts” and “lasts.” After a 45-50 minute study session, reward yourself with a short break. When you come back, you will be more alert and more efficient. If significant learning is taking place and you are really engrossed, go for it! You don’t have to stop, but memory is





more productive when you space your studying instead of trying to accomplish everything in one long session. 4. Make It Meaningful – We remember things better when we can apply them to ourselves. If we can match the information we need to remember to something or someone familiar to us or to a goal we have set, it will be easier to recall. 5 Visualize Relationships and Associations – Knowing individual facts does not help you understand a topic. It is important to relate new ideas to what you already know, to look at tables and graphs or to draw pictures and charts of what you need to learn. Often students will remember a picture, table, or graph that explains a theory easier than they will remember the words that described it. 6. Use memory devises – Memory devices are creative and fun ways to memorize information and retain it for a long period of time. The key is to tie the information you are learning to something already familiar to you, or to organize the information so it is easier to remember. Memory tricks are helpful for remembering terminology and definitions, lists of items or important events. They are most helpful if they are created by you and are limited only by your own imagination. It is helpful to write down your memory trick next to the word or items you are trying to remember. It is also helpful to make then funny or crazy because it adds some humor to studying – the sillier the better! Some examples are:

a. Chunking or Clustering – This is a method whereby you categorize similar items you need to know. For example: As you walked to the grocery store, you realized you didn’t have your list with you. You did remember there were twelve items. The items you had on your list were: onions, lettuce, ice cream, green beans, eggs, cheese, peas, apples, grapefruit, milk, and oranges.

Look at these items for 15 seconds. Close the book and see how many you can recall. You are doing well if you remember 6 or 7.

By clustering or chunking these items, we can make them manageable. We can have 3 major items instead of twelve.

Vegetables Dairy Fruits

onions ice cream bananas lettuce milk apples green beans eggs grapefruit peas cheese oranges

When we think of the major headings, the individual details fall in place. The thought of dairy products automatically reduces our thoughts to items associated with that group. This procedure will work well using your textbooks. Learn to associate details with the major headings.





b. Mnemonics – If you have a group to remember or a list of items, you can make-a-word mnemonic. An easy way to remember the Great Lakes is by the word HOMES – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Similar to this is an acronym. An acronym is formed by the first letters of the word you want to remember. A good example of this would be NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration A mnemonic device similar to an acronym is an acrostic. With this type of mnemonic device, rather than creating a new word from the first letter of each word, you create a sentence using words beginning with the same first letters as the list of words you are trying to remember. An illustration may be helpful to explain the concept. For example, when trying to remember the of operations for a math problem (Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition then Subtraction), students create a sentence to remember the . Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. A common exercise for medical students is to learn the cranial nerves. They are difficult to remember by themselves because they have no particular meaning for students who have never seen them before. By using an acrostic you can provide clues (the first letter of each word) that will make it easier to remember them.

c. visualization: use maps, charts, graphs and pictures to help remember information and to create visual connections with the information to be remembered. 7. Use your learning style that you previously learned in this chapter. Exercise Using one of your textbooks find some words, phrases or lists of information you will need to remember. Write below what you need to remember, and the memory device you will use to remember it.





Note Taking Survey Read each statement and determine how often it is true for you.

Always Sometimes Rarely Never

1. I take notes during class lectures

2. I take notes when I read

3. My notes are in a notebook 4. I use a note taking system (outlining, mapping, cornell, etc)


5. I take notes on things that are written on the board or on the projector

6. I copy notes from my friends if I miss class.

7. I use abbreviations when I take notes 8. I organize my notes (chronologically, alphabetically, by categories, etc.)

9. I read over and review my notes

10. I use notes to study for tests

11. I keep notes from year to year.

12. I draw pictures/diagrams in my notes

13. I take notes on both sides of one sheet of paper

14. I write questions in my notes

15. I draw arrows in my notes to connect ideas

16. I take notes in complete sentences 17. My lecture notes are complete. 18. I recognize relationships between lectures and readings 19. I combine my lecture notes with my reading notes. 20. I summarize my notes in my own words 21. I review my notes immediately after class 22. I conduct weekly reviews of my notes from all classes 23. I edit my notes within 24 hours after classes 24. I organize my notes by highlighting, underlining, or writing comments in the margins





Notes Checklist Activity Directions: Using a classmate’s notebook, place a check mark in the appropriate column, “Yes”, “Somewhat”, or “No” for each area. Add additional comments at the bottom of the page or next to each item. Class: _______________________________ Are ________________________ notes: Student’s Name Yes Somewhat No ____ ____ ____ Legible ____ ____ ____ Clear – good flow, makes sense, understandable ____ ____ ____ Dated ____ ____ ____ Highlighted ____ ____ ____ Underlined ____ ____ ____ Organized (outline format, bullet points, indents, etc.) ____ ____ ____ Expectable amt of notes (3-5 pages for a 1 hr class) ____ ____ ____ Titles for different sections/Ideas are separated ____ ____ ____ Extra space for comments/questions/new info ____ ____ ____ Notes or keywords in the margins ____ ____ ____ Abbreviations used ____ ____ ____ Capture the main idea and supporting details ____ ____ ____ Section breaks between exams ____ ____ ____ References to page #’s ____ ____ ____ Separate from other classes Other Comments: Peer Reviewer’s Name ____________________________






1. First part of word is most important, but also the last consonant used, e.g., whe., thn., wk., yr., wd., sp. 2. Consonants are more important than vowels, e.g., sply ., thse., abve., belw ., signft., notwthstndg., constly., cooptn., ref., orig., cf. (compare). 3. Corollary: Don’t worry if same form stands for two diff. words, e.g., wind, wind; acc., accurate or according to; wh., which or who. 4. The common endings easily abbreviate: (The common end’gs easily abrvt) g for ing (work’g) n for tion or sion (exam’n) d for ed (frost’d) t for ant (c’t, frag’t) m for ism (social’m) 1 for al (continu’l) y for ary, ory (maj’y) 5. Time-saving for commonly recurring connective or transitional words: & and = equals or same as ? doubt or question w/ with; w/i for within; w/o without b/t. between re. regarding, concerning bec. because b/co become avg. average vs against re regarding e.g. for example i.e. that is b/4 before ≠ is not equal to < > less than, greater than Α varies as, is proprt’l to ∞ infinity , countless, very great ∴ therefore

OR use your texting skills to make up your own shorthand abbreviations!!!





6. Words of some length can and should be represented by the first syllable & apostrophe (‘) with last letter: (. . . length can & shd be repst’d by the first syl. & apostrophe with last letter) adv’g (advertising.) systm’ly lab’y (or lab.) rmrk’y dom’c reg’n 7. If a lecture is going to be about a term or phrase that will be repeated, make up an abbreviation and write it down. MMP Massachusetts Party 8. Leave out periods in standard abbreviations. dept department NYC New York City 9. Use just enough of the beginning of a word to create an easily recognizable unit. asso associate info information chem chemistry 10. Add “s” to abbreviations when plurals are needed. chaps chapters bkgrds backgrounds govts governments 11. Leave out unimportant words. a the Adapted from Edward S. Jones, PhD. Improvement of Study Habits, pp. 44-45 Rev. 07/2008 O://dept/LSS/Handouts/Displayrack/Note-Taking Abbreviations.doc 1 of 1





The Cornell Note-taking System

2 1/2”



Cue Column

Note taking Column

1. Record: During the lecture, use the note taking column to record the lecture using telegraphic sentences. 2. Questions: As soon after class as possible, formulate questions based on the notes in the right-hand column. Writing questions helps to clarify meanings, reveal relationships, establish continuity, and strengthen memory. Also, the writing of questions sets up a perfect stage for exam-studying later. 3. Recite: Cover the note taking column with a sheet of paper. Then, looking at the questions or cue-words in the question and cue column only, say aloud, in your own words, the answers to the questions, facts, or ideas indicated by the cue-words. 4. Reflect: Reflect on the material by asking yourself questions, for example: “What’s the significance of these facts? What principle are they based on? How can I apply them? How do they fit in with what I already know? What’s beyond them? 5. Review: Spend at least ten minutes every week reviewing all your previous notes. If you do, you’ll retain a great deal for current use, as well as, for the exam.



After class, use this space at the bottom of each page to 2” summarize the notes on that page.


Adapted from How to Study in College 7/e by Walter Pauk, 2001 Houghton Mifflin Company






References Robinson, Francis Pleasant, (1961, 1970) Effective study (4th ed.), Harper & Row, NY, NY. Available at: Ebbinghaus, H. Memory (H.S. Ruger & C.E. Busenius, trans.) New York: . Teacher’s College Press, 1913 (originally published 1885). Gardner, H. Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1983. Guthrie, E.R. The psychology of learning (Rev.ed.) New York: Harper & Row, 1952 Hull, C.L. Principles of behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1943. James, W. The principle of psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1890. Mc Whorter, Kathleen. (2007). College Reading and Study Skills (10th ed.). Publisher: Pearson/Longman. Pauk, W. (2001) How to Study in College (7th ed.). Houghton Mifflin Co. Robertson, I. Sociology. New York: Worth Publishers, 1987. Penn State University (2004). Note Taking Survey. available at:







Chapter 5



The purpose of this chapter is to: • show you how to warm-up before reading so that you can make connections between what you know and what you will learn; • discuss how to find the main ideas in textbook chapters by turning headings into questions; • help you find and define key words; • offer suggestions about using your textbook during lecture; • demonstrate effective marking; • discuss combining textbook and lecture notes; • give examples of study aids; • discuss the importance of review.





Pre-reading questions: 1. What parts of the textbook should you read during the warm-up? 2. Why is it important to connect new material to what you already know? 3. How can you find the main idea in the textbook section that follows a heading? 4. How can you find an outline for the chapter? 5. How can you find the meaning of key terms? 6. Should you struggle to understand everything on the initial reading? 7. Why should you use question marks during the initial reading? 8. Why should you take your textbook to lecture? 9. What should you do about material that you did not understand during the initial reading that you still do not understand after lecture? 10. About how much of your textbook should you highlight, underline or note? 11. Why should you answer the questions and problems at the end of the textbook chapter? 12. What is one way of combining textbook and classroom notes? 13. What is the purpose of creating study aids? 14. Name several ways of reviewing textbook material.





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