Reading and Study Skills
Are you floating through college, making A’s effortlessly? Or have you discovered that everything your parents, high school teachers, and counselors said is true? Many super-smart students find themselves overwhelmed, when all they need to do is to polish their study skills. The Reading and Study Skills Program is a service offered by the Psychological and Counseling Center which may make your college experience more productive.
The program is designed to assist students in improving their reading and study techniques on a developmental, rather than a remedial, basis. While it is very helpful to students who are experiencing academic difficulties, it is also beneficial to anyone who wishes to become a more efficient learner.
Topics you may be interested in include:
- Improving reading speed
- Comprehension and retention
- Test preparation and test taking skills
- Note taking
- Writing papers and reports
- Memory strategies
- Time management and organizational/study skills
- Stress and anxiety due to academic issues
If you are having some difficulties with your classes, wish to improve your grade point average, or if you would simply like to get your study techniques up to speed for your university work, please call 322-2571 (2-2571 on campus) for an appointment.
Individual sessions with Rosanne Awbrey, M.Ed., are available to Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate students, Programs for your organization are also available. Please call the Center for more information.
A major cause of anxiety among college students is the apparent lack of time — time to get the work done, time to have fun, time to meet obligations, even time to do those general daily chores such as paying bills and cleaning one’s room. It is necessary to decide one’s priorities at the beginning. Time management means setting goals and organizing one’s life to meet those goals and still feel at ease and relaxed.
Time for Work
- Keep a calendar or daily planner to schedule events such as exams and papers.
- Learn to say NO.
- Prioritize your work – if it is low priority, do it later.
- Have a daily plan – and stick to it.
- Don’t put unreasonable or unattainable items on a “to do” list.
- Break up tasks and set time limits.
Time for Play
- Set your priorities – what is important to you?
- Choose your activities to reflect what you really want to do.
- Don’t be afraid to meet new people or try a new activity (the VU campus offers many opportunities).
- Just “hang” for at least 30 minutes each day.
- Eat well. Good nutrition helps those brain cells stay alert.
Dealing with Professors & In-Class Participation (Raise Your GPA)
- Attend class. You never know what you’ll pick up. Also, professors often choose their test questions from lecture notes.
- Ask questions. Don’t forget those points for classroom performance.
- Go to help and study sessions.
- Get to know your professor. Just saying “hi” occasionally can help.
- Read over lecture notes at the end of the day or ASAP after class (best study secret around!).
- Be sure to take breaks.
- “Be there” during lectures. Don’t daydream, doodle, or study for a test coming up next period.
Dealing with Test Anxiety
- Study as you go rather than waiting to cram at the last minute.
- Set reasonable goals and give yourself encouragement along the way.
- Challenge your negative thinking. This test does not mean the end of the world.
- Get enough sleep!
- Learn some relaxation techniques.
Tips for Taking Tests
- Scan the exam at the beginning and answer those questions that are easy first.
- Read the directions – note key words.
- Partial credit helps. Write something down.
- Don’t spend all of your time on one question. Watch the time.
- On essay questions, organize your thoughts first. Use a mini-outline.
- Save enough time to check your answers at the end.
Procrastination & Motivation
- Do some small part of a large task (write down ideas for a paper).
- Make yourself work for a small chunk of time (like 20 or 30 minutes).
- Identify your escapes – talking to friends, watching TV, cleaning your room.
- Relate your work to a long-term goal. How will this paper help you in law? in accounting? in psychology?
- Recognize that you chose this school and this course.
- Spend time daydreaming.
- Go for a leisurely walk.
- Learn a new skill – photography, sailing, yoga.
- Rent a funny movie.
- Go out for a good dinner.
- Call your parents.
- Visit with your friends.
- Volunteer on campus or in the Nashville community.