This is the "Study Skills" page of the "Academic Success Skills" guide.
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Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Motivation to Study

Finding motivation to study can be difficult. Follow the suggestions below to motivate yourself to study:

  • Set goals for your study session. What do you want to accomplish? How will you work towards accomplishing your goal? If you set realistic & achieveable goals for your study session, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed & defeated before the session even begins. 
  • Establish a reward system for accomplishing short & long-term goals. Watch an episode of your favorite Netflix series or eat a piece of chocolate only after studying a section of information. Treat yourself to a nice lunch or go to see a movie with friends if you ace your exam. 
  • Eliminate distractions. Find a quiet, clear space with minimial distractions so you can focus on the information you are studying. It's good practice to turn off or put away any distractions that you find more enjoyable than studying. 
  • Take a break. Take a 5-10 minute break at a logical breaking point or toward the end of the study session to recharge. A break can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed & can increase the efficiency of your study session. 
  • Develop an interest in what you are studying. Think about the information you are studying & how it relates to the real world & your daily life. Write down what you like & dislike about the information. Examine how the information relates to your beliefs & values. 

When you are motivated & interested in the information you are studying, you will be able to focus more easily, remain focused, & accomplish your goals.


Active Studying Versus Passive Studying

The following YouTube video from Lakeland Community College demonstrates the difference between Active Study Strategies & Passive Study Strategies. Active studying allows students to engage with the course information which increases comprehension & retention of information.


The Study Cycle

The following YouTube video from Louisianna State University demonstrates how to effectively utilize & maximize class time & study time. This process is known as the Study Cycle. Three steps are explained to maximize class time including: previewing course information to prepare for class, attending class to take meaningful notes, & reviewing course information to reinforce learning. Two steps are explained to maximize study time including: planning & executing focused study sessions for 30-50 minutes as well as assessing comprehension & the efficiency of past study sessions. 




  • Organizes information visually
  • Useful for information with processes, procedures, stages, & steps 

How to Create a Diagram

  • Create a template structure for process, stage, etc. or use a premade template
  • Fill in important information & label the diagram
  • Test your knowledge by recreating the diagram & filling in information without assistance 

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  • Organizes information in chronological order
  • Useful for information with dates, stages, processes etc.

How to Create a Timeline

  • Draw a blank timeline
  • Space out time based on the number of dates, stages, processes, etc.
  • Fill in each time slot with necessary information


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What is a Study Aid?

A Study Aid is a self-made, visual organizer that arranges lecture notes and textbook information into smaller, more manageable amounts of information to increase comprehension & memory of large amounts of information. Study aids also allow you to visualize relationships between concepts and make meaningful connections with the information to promote critical thinking. In addition, study aids promote higher levels of learning: remembering, understanding, applying, evaluating, and creating. 


Concept Map

Concept Map

  • Organizes information spatially, general to specific
  • Add details and examples to apply information
  • Visualizes relationships between concepts
  • Useful with an subject material

How to Create a Concept Map

  • Identify the main topic
  • Identify subtopics
  • Add important details and examples

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Comparison Chart

Comparison Chart (Matrix)

  • Organizes information to see relationships
  • Visualizes similarities and differences
  • Useful with any subject material 

How to Create a Comparison Chart

  • Identify items to be compared/differientiated
  • Identify characteristics for comparison
  • Create a matrix based on number of items being compared (# of rows) and characteristics (# of columns) for comparison
  • Add important details and/or examples for each characteristic based on the item


Concept Cards

Concept Cards (AKA "Flashcards on Steriods")

  • Organizes information to promote understanding of concepts
  • Includes book definition, your definition (in own words), examples, diagrams, exceptions, etc.
  • Includes more than just a concept and definition
  • Promotes checking for understanding

How to Create Concept Cards

  • Create or purchase 3X5 cards
  • Write concept, term, process, etc. on front of card
  • Divide back of card into 4 sections (draw cross in center of card)
  • Top Left Section: write lecture/book definition
  • Top Right Section: write definition in your own words
  • Bottom Left Section: write example, draw diagram, etc.
  • Bottom Right Section: write resources to find more information


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