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College Resource Center : Accounting : General Study Aids : Study Techniques

Study Techniques

Clear Your Head for Productive Studying

  • Make a list of pressing concerns so you know that you can "get back to them" when you are done studying. Keep the list nearby to jot down interrupting thoughts.
  • Stand and stretch, roll your head and shoulders, shake your body gently to loosen any tension you may be feeling.
  • Close your eyes and relax for five minutes. Calm your thoughts.
  • Open your eyes and look at your particular study assignment. Get a general idea in your mind of the subject matter of this assignment; try to get a "mind set" on the topic.
  • Close your eyes and visualize a productive study session. Associate pleasant thoughts with your efforts.

Set Goals for Your Study Session

In order to maximize your study time, set goals for each assignment. If you are reading, determine how many pages you will read and set a time limit for that reading session. If you are reviewing materials, list what you must master during the study session. Be as specific as possible, listing the terms you want to memorize or concepts you want to learn and be able to explain.

Start with modest goals first. You can always increase them. Some students find they need thirty minutes or more to really focus on a subject before taking a break. If you find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, try fifteen-minute stretches. Practice setting different time goals for yourself.

Form a Study Group

  • Start a study group by posting a notice on the department bulletin board or passing around a sign-up sheet in class. If that doesn't work, talk to your instructor who may know other students interested in group learning. Stop recruiting when you have four or five interested students.
  • Locate a good meeting place, convenient for all, and with comfortable surroundings.
  • Prepare a schedule of meeting dates and tentative study topics for future meetings. Encourage group members to offer their suggestions.
  • Try to get each member involved in the group process. If your members are serious about learning, they will be willing contributors. Unless members are willing to work toward the common goal of increased learning, your group won't be successful.
  • Tell people to come prepared. This means each participant should complete relevant assignments and read related chapters before the group meets.
  • Review your text and class notes together. Compare your notes to see if you share a common understanding of the material with others.
  • Develop potential test questions and take turns asking and answering questions based on your notes. If you have problems or confusion about the meaning or interpretation of material, pull out the textbook.
  • Assist one another with writing assignments or homework by proofing one another's work. This does not mean doing the work for someone else, but everyone can use an extra eye to help catch mistakes. This exercise is a great learning opportunity because it lets you see how others approach an assignment.

Study According to How You Will Be Tested

At some point in the course of a class, your instructor will ask you to demonstrate what you have learned. When you are asked to discuss the finer points of a subject in an essay test or class discussion, you must remember or recall the information "from scratch." However, if you take a multiple choice or true-false test, you just need to recognize--not retrieve from your memory bank--the correct information. As you probably know from experience, recalling information is harder to do than recognizing information.

Most of the time you will not have a choice as to how you are tested on what you have studied. But you do have a choice as to how you prepare. Ask your instructor what form your course evaluations will take, and do so well in advance of examination time. This information will let you know whether to spend your study time practicing the recall or recognition of important facts, events, or concepts. In general, it is best to make your study goal to recall important information. That way, remembering will take place at a deeper level and you will be prepared for any test form.

Source: Adapted from College Success by Roberta Moore and Barbara Baker.

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