study skills

Tips for Students: Strategies for Reading

For each class, students must read a wide range of materials, in both print and online formats: from their texts, to journal articles, to novels and short stories. As they read, they’ll need to read and think carefully about the concepts covered in those materials. Active reading strategies can help them make the time they devote to their reading assignments more effective. In Essential Study Skills, Eighth Edition, author Linda Wong defines active reading as “… the process of using effective strategies to engage working memory to achieve specific reading goals” (267). To help students put the active reading process into action, Wong includes Read More…


Tips for Students: Study Skills Checklist

As the new school year approaches, most students want to start off on a good note. They’ll reflect on what they might do to improve and increase their academic success… and “improved study skills” might just be at the top of that list. To help students start the semester on a path to success, we’ve listed several key study skills, along with links to previous Engaging Minds posts that offer suggestions that help them build those skills and achieve their academic goals!

Which study skills would you add to this list? Share them in the comments.

  ⇒ Take thorough and thoughtful Read More…


Tips for Students: How to Take Thoughtful and Critical Notes

When you’re a student, you may feel as though you’re constantly taking notes: during lectures, during study sessions, when you’re researching in the library. . .  any time you want to capture or recall information, you may find yourself jotting things down into a notebook or typing on your computer. Indeed, note-taking is an incredibly important study skill, and if students know how to read and take notes with a critical eye, their study time will be that much more effective. In his book Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner, Dr. Joel A. English describes steps involved in critical note-taking. Once students adopt more Read More…


Tips for Taking Online Exams

For some students, taking an online exam is a new and somewhat bewildering experience. They don’t know what to expect, and aren’t certain of the skills and strategies that will enable them to perform at their best. On a good note, many of the steps they’d take to complete an online exam are quite similar to those that they’d engage in as they prepare for an in-class test; however, the online environment does present some differences that warrant a bit of extra awareness and preparation. Read More…


Steps Toward Greater Confidence on Math Exams

Many students do indeed experience serious math anxiety. For these students, an upcoming exam is an especially tense time—and they may be seeking ways to prepare themselves for the content of the exam, as well as those stressful feelings that they face before, during, and after the test.   Below, we’ve shared several steps that students can take to reduce their math anxiety and increase their confidence come test time. The tips, which we’ve adapted from Cynthia A. Arem’s  Conquering Math Anxiety, Third Edition, are practical and straightforward—and thus ideal for just about any student who’s in need of some extra Read More…


Identifying an Ideal Study Space

Every student will define the “ideal study space” in a different manner. Some may appreciate the solitude of a carrel desk on the top floor of your campus library; some may know of a cafe that offers an undisturbed nook (and free refills); others may enjoy a peaceful park setting (weather permitting). Regardless of where, precisely, that study space is, it needs to offer an environment that presents minimal distractions and allows them to concentrate on their studies. Though many of your students may already have a favorite study space, others may have trouble identifying the place that best suits their Read More…


Activity: Using Mnemonics as a Memory Tool

Though many assignments and examinations are designed to test students’ higher-order thinking skills, you do often need to ensure that they know and are able to recall key facts, processes, systems, or structures that relate to their mastery of a particular topic. As a result, they’ll often find themselves working hard to commit those crucial pieces of information to memory. And as hard as they work, they may often be in need of a system or a tool that helps them recall the information at the time they most need it. As Linda Wong writes in Essential Read More…


Students Describe What Could Help them Make the Grade on Their Tests

As part of Cengage Learning’s Student Case Study program, we asked our college student audience: “What tools do you wish were available to help you do better on your midterms?” Though some of their answers (such as a “copy of the test”) may not be feasible or advisable, and others (“osmosis”) may not even be humanly possible, many of their suggestions were highly practical and relatively easy for many instructors to implement. You may already offer your students one (or several) of these tools. But if not, consider whether any of these might help your students or be beneficial Read More…


Activity: Practicing Test-Taking Strategies

When students take the time to study for their examinations, they’re working to increase the likelihood of performing successfully on the test. However, if they’re using effective study skills, they’ll also reinforce what they’ve learned and perhaps develop a deeper level of understanding of the course material. In addition, they’ll also reduce their test anxiety as they become more confident in their knowledge and skills. As with any endeavor, practice is one effective means of increasing one’s proficiency and knowledge at test time. You may already provide students with practice questions, but if you don’t, you can encourage Read More…


What Gets Students Studying? What Stops Them?

In each course, you’ll encounter students with all types of approaches to learning. With these varying approaches come different preferences and habits for studying as well.  For some, a reliable team of study partners may be the motivating force that keeps students going. For advice on helping students set up study groups, visit our post, “Learning from Fellow Students: Creating a Study Group.” For others, studying alone is either the only way for them to focus or their only option if they’re in an online class with no alternatives. Regardless of circumstance, we at Cengage Learning wanted to learn what the most common study methods and habits are for college students. Read More…