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Study Skills

The Learning Resources Center provides numerous chances for students to improve their study habits. From using one of our Tutoring Centers to attending a Workshop to just asking advice of one of our staff, we try to be open to the student's needs. Below are a variety of handouts that can assist you throughout your semester.

Table of content:

10 Steps to Better Test-Taking pdf link

  1. Upon receiving your test, write down the information that you think you may forget.
  2. Write your name on the test.
  3. Preview the test and mark the easy questions
  4. Develop a test progress schedule. Decide the best way to get the most points in the least amount of time.
  5. Answer the easiest problems first and review the answers to see if they make sense. Clearly write down each step in order to get partial credit if you end up missing the problem.
  6. If you find a problem that you do not know how to work then automatically skip it.
  7. Review the skipped problems.
  8. Guess at the remaining problems or do as much work as you can on them.
  9. Review the test for careless errors.
  10. Use all the allowed test time. There is not prize for handing in your test first. Staple your scratch paper to the test when handing it in.

©1989 by Academic Success Press, Inc.

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Checklist for Essay Tests pdf link

  1. Do I really understand what the question asks me to do?
  2. Have I done any preliminary planning of my major points?
  3. Does the first sentence of my answer repeat the question and forcefully show the reader how I will develop my answer?
  4. Do the major points in my answer stand out?
  5. Are the major points supported with examples and facts?
  6. Are there clear transitions between my major points?
  7. Would someone who has not taken this class be able to understand the concept?
  8. Have I completely covered all major points needed to answer the question?
  9. Did I stick to the question, or did I wander away and not return?
  10. Have I concluded with a summary statement?
  11. Did I proofread for misspelled words, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, comma splices, subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent agreement errors, and other errors that might prevent the reader from understanding what I have written?
  12. Is my handwriting legible, and have I left enough space for comments or additions?

Hopper, Carolyn H. Practicing College Learning Strategies. (3rd ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004, p. 9.

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Tips for Keeping Up with Your Assignments pdf link

  1. If you don't understand an assigment, make and appointment with your professor or ask questions in class. Chances are if you don't understand something, others in the class don't understand it either.
  2. Write your assignments in your planner when they are assigned
  3. Divide large projects into smaller, achievable assignments with deadlines throughout the semester to get them finished. Write these on a Semester Project Planner, so you can see at a glance when smaller assignments are due.
  4. Organize your notes and assignments in notebooks. A notebook for each class will help you maintain a sense of organization.
  5. Put the course syllabus in the notebook for that course. Check the syllabus often to be sure you are aware of major projects for each course.
  6. It is often helpful, particularly during peak study times like midterms and finals, to set aside a certain period of time each day or evening for study.
  7. Make a list of tasks to be done to complete assignments, prioritize these tasks, and estimate the number of days you will need to complete the tasks.
  8. Planning ahead is best. When you know that you'll have a few things due after the weekend, plan to -- at least -- start some of them before the weekend rolls around.

Hurd, Dr. Jennifer L. Campus Companion - Finding Your Way. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007, p. 24.

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Tips for Taking Notes and Reading Assignments pdf link

It's the First day of class. You know you need to take notes, but you're not sure how to record the important information.

Here's one method:

  • Left margin about 2.5in wide
  • Notes written on wide right-hand side
  • No full/complete sentences - only a few words to help remember what was said in class

book image

And after class:

  • Use left margin to identify what each section of notes is about by writing out a question or label
  • Use bottom section to summarize main ideas

For reading assignments, begin by using a similar system that you use for your notes. book image

Here's that method:

  • Preview first -study the title, headings, bold print, summary, charts, graphs, and tables before reading
  • After reading eachparagraph, label margin with a question and underline the answer before going to the next paragraph
  • Keep up-to-date with your textbook reading assignments!

Hopper, Carolyn H. Practicing College Learning Strategies. (3rd ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004, p. 6-7

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Things Your Planner Shouldn't Be Without pdf link

  • Large spaces to write notes and assignments
  • Month-at-a-Glance section and a Week-at-a-Glance section
  • Address Book
  • Dividers for organization
  • Colorful stickers to mark important dates and appointments
  • A sturdy, durable cover, so the planner does not fall apart
  • Unlines pages to write random notes
  • Pockets for small slips of paper
  • "Due" and "Done" columns on Week-at-a-Glance pages to show assignments that are due and those that are completed
  • Grades received in space where assignments are written
  • "To Do" list at the beginning of each week to keep assignments organized
  • Each day divided by hours

Hurd, Dr. Jennifer L. Campus Companion - Finding Your Way. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007, p. 23.

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Steps for Doing Your Math Homework

  1. Review the textbook material that relates to the homework.
  2. Review your lecture notes that relate to the homework.
  3. Understand the reasons for doing each of the homework problems -- do not just memorize how to do the problems.
  4. If you do not understand how to do a problem, follow these suggestions
    1. Look in the text or class notes for material related to the problem objective
    2. Look for similar problems that are already worked out.
    3. Call a classmate.
    4. Contact your professor, TA, or tutor for help.
  5. Do your homework as neatly as possible.
  6. Write down every step of the problem.
  7. After finishing your homework, write down the most important learned concepts.

©1989 by Academic Success Press, Inc.

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Reducing Test Anxiety

  • Put your feet flat on the floor.
  • With your hands, grab under the chair.
  • Push down with your feet and pull upon the chair at the same time.
  • Relax for five to ten seconds.
  • Repeat two or three times.
  • Relax all the muscles except the ones that are actually used for the test.
  • Breathe.

©1989 by Academic Success Press, Inc.


Study Groups: A Dynamically Way to Improve Grades and Avoid Procrastination pdf link

Study Groups are students from the same class who meet regularly to strengthen, explain and spellout, and extend and expand each others' learning by providing motivation, feedback, advice, and support for that learning.

Purpose - to review lecture and reading materials, solve problems, develop and take practice tests

Key to Success - leadership, planned structure, and full participation by all members

Lifelong Learning Benefit - every person develops skills in group dynamics, a plus in the business world


  • 3-6 members, chosen based on common goals and not primarily because of friendships
  • Ability to meet on a regular basis
  • Each member comes prepared to study and work
  • Meeting length of 1-2 hours

My Responsibility PRIOR to a Meeting:

  • Revise and highlight lecture notes, writing a summary of most important points
  • Complete all required reading
  • Write 3-5 knowledge exam-type questions to recall basic facts
  • Write 3-5 comprehension questions based on notes and readings to show and understanding and application of concepts
  • Write 2-3 higher level questions to develop an analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of concepts

Successful Study Group Requires that:

  • An agenda be followed at every meeting, created either before or at the start of a meeting, to establish a purpose (what and how much to accomplish in the meeting) and to clarify roles of each member
  • One person takes the rotating role of leader, keeping the study group focused on the agenda
  • The meeting concludes with a review of "how" the study session went to determine if everything was accomplished

Based on information from:
     The University of Victoria
     The University of Illinois at Chicago

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A Guide to Creating Different Levels of Exam-Type Questions

Bloom's Taxonomy of Questions

Knowledge: Recall information

  • Examples:
    • What happened after...?
    • Who was it that...?
    • Describe what happened...
  • Useful Verbs:
    • Define, describe, identify, label, list, match, name, outline, recall, recognize, state

Comprehension: Understand the meaning

  • Examples:
    • What was the main idea? Distinguish between...
    • Provide and example or definition of...
  • Useful Verbs:
    • Compare, distinguish, estimate, explain, interpret, paraphrase, predict, rewrite, summarize, translate

Application: Use a concept in a new situation

  • Examples:
    • What factors would you change if...?
    • Could this have happened in...?
    • From the information given, can you develop a set of instructions about...?
  • Useful Verbs:
    • Apply, change, construct, demonstrate, discover, manipulate, modify, predict, prepare, show, solve, use

Analysis: Separate concepts into parts

  • Examples:
    • How was this similar to...?
    • Why did...changes occur?
    • How is...similar to...?
    • What was the problem with...?
  • Useful Verbs:
    • Analyze, break down, categorize, compare, contrast, diagram, differentiate, identify, illustrate, relate

Synthesis: Put parts together to form a whole

  • Examples:
    • Design
    • What would happen if...?
    • Devise your own way to deal with...?
    • Develop a proposal which would...
  • Useful Verbs:
    • Construct, create, devise, design, explain, formulate, imagine, modify, organize, plan, reconstructs, revise, rewrite

Evaluation: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials

  • Examples:
    • Judge the value of...
    • Defend your position on...
    • How would you feel if...?
    • Recommend...about...
  • Useful Verbs:
    • Assess, conclude, criticize, defend, discriminate, evaluate, interpret, justify, recommend, summarize, verify

"Extending Children's Special Abilities - Strategies for primary classrooms" by J. Dalton and D Smith

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Links: Office of Undergraduate Education | Honors College | Meyerhoff Scholars Program | Sherman Scholars | Women's Center

Learning Resources Center Sherman Hall, Room 345, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore MD 21250 | Phone: 410-455-2444 | Fax: 410-455-1057 | Email: lrc