Biology Study Success
SUCCESSFUL STUDY HABITS
Taking a college course is an investment. Deciding to start college is like starting
a garden that requires daily attention. You have to water plants, get rid of weeds,
manage pests and harvest fruits. When you decide on college you have agreed to apply
for a job. Do not go to college if you are not ready to start another job -It’s that
simple! If you already work for another employer when you start college now you have
2 employers. You are now your second employer because you now are working for yourself;
you are investing in yourself. College means you have a daily work schedule. Each
individual college course requires a daily clock-in and clock-out in addition to class
meeting time. That job starts at the beginning of your semester.
The steps below outline good habits in managing yourself as an employee for this
investment. Your pay for this job is directly proportional to your performance. College
is a commission-based job. If you follow these habits and work hard, you receive
the maximum payment for your work (term letter grade A). If you are lazy, procrastinate,
or focus on meaningless distractions, then you will receive very little to nothing
for your work and your investment was a waste of time and money.
1. Get Organized. Plan and schedule your study time. Don’t make excuses and don’t walk away.
2. Take notes. Taking notes is essential! Whenever material is being presented in person or online
prepare to take notes. Make sure you have a pencil and notebook and write an outline
of the topics presented. Stay actively engaged during the presentation.
3. Don't multitask. Trying to work on a poster presentation for one class while you are studying for
another with the television and radio playing is not a model for academic success.
4. Divide it up. Studying is difficult and never easy at the beginning. Stop the study marathon habit
of cramming information one or two days before an exam. Dividing your study workload
into daily manageable chunks will prove more effective. The manageable chunks must
start when the material is first presented.
5. Study. There’s a right and a wrong way to study. Review your material daily in small chunks
and in different manners (for example, write flashcards, make your own practice tests
with the questions provided in your manual or text. Invite a study group over, draw
test results out and make tables in your note book). Use color pencils.
6. Repetition, follow a schedule. Do you work better right after school or after you've eaten dinner? Are you more
productive in 90-minute blocks or half-hour spurts? Find a schedule that works for
you, and stick to it. (Example: Every evening 8:30-9:00PM I will make flash cards.
Every morning 6:30-7:00AM I will study my flash cards).
7. Manage your study space. Find a place that will maximize your productivity. Stay away from televisions, put
your cell phone in another room and walk away! Use a quiet place where you are comfortable
8. Find a study group. Sitting down with a group of people who are learning the same material can be helpful.
Quiz each other and re-teach the material to each other. Teaching someone else is
the best way to learn.
9. Ask questions. Asking for help directly from the instructor from the beginning. Do not trust all
the material you may find on the internet. When using online references check the
source of the information.
10. Sleep. Don't underestimate the importance of sleep! Getting a good night's rest will sharpen your focus and improve your working memory. Schedule your sleep as you schedule your work.
-John M. Clauson M.S.
Microbiology Laboratory Coordinator/ Instructor
- study music if you like a little background noise but no distractions.
- sleep stories to relaxing sounds for cultivating a great night sleep.
- fully customizable app for tracking class requirements, grades, cross-departmental projects or extracurricular activities.
- keep a check on weather for planning study events, walks to class, breaks, or exercise.
- Monitor lab traffic for computer availability, check grades, find faculty and staff contact info, check dining info, socials schedules, and more
*note these are not endorsed in anyway by WKU or the Biology Dept. We are simply giving suggestions.
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