Module 5: Study Skills
"Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."
Good study skills are essential for good students. Since you are all good students, it is assumed you have good study skills. Do you? Take this test to determine the quality of your study skills. You probably already know your strengths and weaknesses; however, this test will remind you of possible areas that could be improved upon.
Tutors are students who are successful learners. They have learned how to learn. As a tutor, it is your responsibility to communicate the principles of effective learning to your students. A good majority of the students who seek tutoring do not have good study skills. If these students took a course on study skills, it would probably cover a broad spectrum of subjects, including time management, memory skills, test-taking skills, listening skills, note-taking skills, how to read a textbook, and learning styles. There is a wonderful site: Study Skill Links. It contains some excellent links with valuable information for students who want to improve their study skills.
Encouraging students to develop good study skills requires you to assess the areas where students need help. Usually, students will not be able to accurately identify the areas where they need help. For instance, students who are always late for a tutoring appointment might need some time management techniques. You might ask them to describe the activities in their average day.
Some students have never learned how to take notes in class. You might ask the students you tutor if you can look at their notes. If you see that they do not know how to take notes, you could recommend that they look over the different note-taking systems. Or, you can ask them to tell you how they prepare to take notes for a lecture class. If they are lacking positive note-taking skills, you might share with them some ideas on how to take good notes.
Many students do not realize that there are techniques for taking tests, or more importantly, how to overcome test anxiety. You can give the student ideas on how to prepare for tests. As a tutor, it is always helpful to go over returned tests with your students. You can also share with the students the benefits of looking at a returned test.
As a tutor, you are a resource for your students. If you find that some of your students have poor reading skills, you can provide them with handouts that could improve their reading skills. Tutors can also teach students how to use memorization techniques. Improved reading skills and improved memorization skills can be a big step toward being a successful student.
Students seeking tutoring have often experienced poor grades; this could be the direct result of their personal study habits. You can provide a valuable service to them by giving them direction and encouragement to develop good study skills.
Look at these wonderful sites for valuable information on how to improve your study skills.
- Study Skills Self-help Information (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
- Study Skills and Exam Techniques (Charles Sturt University, New South Wales)
- The Study Skills Help Page: Strategies for Success