Study Smarter Not Harder

worksmart2I’ve learned that most students have learned little about how to learn. This leads to the annual tragedy of students asking for a higher grade because they worked hard. That argument doesn’t cut it in the real world. It doesn’t even work in my world (please give me a grant or publish my paper — I worked ever so hard).

No one cares how hard you work. They care about what you did. Outputs count — inputs don’t.

As far as learning goes, the best bet is to learn how to to learn efficiently.  Early in semester, I talked about this in class a fair bit, and posted various things to the Angel site to encourage students to learn better. Angel is about to vanish, so for prosperity, here they are.

  1. Study Smarter Not Harder handout from John and Jackie’s class. Their 2 hour class is voluntary. You’d think their small classroom would be packed. It’s not. I guess students are too busy studying inefficiently.*
  2. John Water’s MOST excellent guide on how to study for exams. Acting on the information in this handout could transform the lives (or at least the transcripts) of so many students.
  3. Study Tips
  4. Top 5 Ways to Accelerate Learning
  5. Make It Stick. An awesome book. Should be compulsory reading and the focus of all Freshmen Seminars.
  6. Good generic wisdom from SC200 2015.

The Class of 2016 offered up remarkably similar advice:

  • Take more and better notes
  • Ask the professor and TAs more questions
  • Pay more attention in class
    • Stay off the phone
    • Sit closer to the front
    • Sit away from friends
  • Don’t skip class
  • Go to exam review sessions
  • Review notes regularly after class

work_smart*My son did an earlier incarnation of John and Jackie’s class. He said it was the most useful two hours he’d spent at PSU.

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