Some students are not getting the grades they want, and others spend
too much time working for good grades. Any student can find useful advice
in Study Smarts: How to Learn More in Less Time. Study Smarts
is the most complete and lively guide to streamlined studying. In a
highly readable style, the authors eliminate the confusion and anxiety
often felt about keeping up with course work.
Each chapter explains a different technique, and each chapter title is
a nugget of advice that summarizes that technique. For example, "Eliminate
interference from your environment;" or "Never study anything the same way
The writers explain how to set goals, take notes, review, cut
reading time, make the most of class discussions, etc., all as efficiently
as possible. Beyond refining basic study chores, there are novel tips for
time management and cramming and special memory techniques. The authors
also tell how to get outside help for special problems.
What the reviewers said:
"A concise, straightforward, pragmatic guide to developing effective
study habits. Gearing their advice to classroom learning--and
applicable from junior high school right on through lifelong learning
programs--the authors divide their suggestions between learning tips and
memory techniques. Learning tips include acquiring a course
outline, mastering the jargon of a subject, teaching oneself to read
efficiently, recognizing lecturers' clues, and taking organized notes.
The memory tips reinforce learning techniques and include mnemonic
tricks and intensive study habits." —Booklist
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An excerpt from Study Smarts:
LEARNING TIP 8
Catch the Lecturer's Clues
As the lecturer speaks, your notes have to convert his words into the
- Title: main idea, topic, thesis, rule, or principle. (It's possible
for there to be several titles in one lecture, or one title spanning
several consecutive lectures.)
- Subordinate topics: the pieces that fit together to form the main idea.
- Supports: the definitions, explanations, examples, and proofs of all
the topic's pieces.
If the lecturer follows a strict outline, your job
is easy. The more he tends to ramble, the tougher it is to take notes. But
his words and his style will help you, if you know what to look for.
first clue is his overall approach. Does he stick to the textbook,
following it along chapter by chapter and page by page? If so, you can
outline or map what he'll cover before you go to class, and just fill in
while you listen. Does he just zero in on the hard parts? If so, a preview
reading of the chapter is vital. Does he focus on just the important facts
or ideas? If so, skim the chapter before class and then again afterward.
Do his lectures supplement the book, providing unrelated information you
won't find there? Then you've got to take fuller notes, but your textbook
reading can often be done at your leisure.
Time is an important clue,
too. The more time devoted to an idea, the more important the lecturer
usually considers it. Does she give lots of examples? Does she take the
time to write it on the board? Does she bring in a film or prepared slides
for overhead projection? Does she repeat one thought several times, either
in the same words or in different ones? Then you can practically bet
that the fact or idea she's taking more time with will show up on an exam.
Another clue to organizing your notetaking is in the material itself.
Learn to recognize the three basic types of organization: chronological
(in time sequence), spatial (what's next to what; for example, organizing
the planets in order of closeness to the sun), and logical. The last kind
of organization is the trickiest, and is used in most college subjects. To
help you, we've included a chart from our textbook Good Writing.
clues are words that say, "I'm summarizing." Therefore and
in essence are
words like that. An important definition may follow the words "it means .
. ." On the other hand, you may be getting just a rambling explanation, so
When you take notes on your reading, you can put ideas into
your own words. But when you take lecture notes, be sure to copy the
lecturer's pet words and phrases. She'll use—and expect you to use—those
words on your exams.
HOW MOST IDEAS ARE ORGANIZED
1. In time sequence: