Guidelines for Effective Studying

1. Create a study schedule. Be flexible and realistic. Good students learn to budget their time according to the complexity of the subject matter. You may need to experiment a bit with what works the best for you, but it is worth the time and trouble.

2. Read and study all text assignments before the instructor lectures on them. Conscientious preparation avoids the pitfall of thinking that the lecturer is always "going too fast."

3. In reading textbook assignments, take careful notes and get in the habit of looking up unfamiliar words. Keeping a dictionary close at hand is a hallmark of a successful student. You may even consider keeping your own vocabulary list.

4. Try to find a quiet study environment. Keep distractions at a minimum and have adequate lighting.

5. Do not get too relaxed while studying. A hard-backed chair is preferable to a comfortable recliner. Self-discipline is absolutely essential. Do not place yourself in an environment where it would be more tempting to take a nap rather than study.

6. Frequent small breaks during your study time could be helpful. Frustrating errors and the inability to concentrate result when one is tired or "overloaded".

7. Writing assignments are demanding and time-consuming. Accept the possibility that you may have to go through several drafts before your paper is ready to submit. The best writers understand that re-writes are inevitable. Allow plenty of time to complete a writing assignment, and always carefully proof-read your work before submitting it.

8. Rote memorization is often necessary to learn specific facts, but this is not the sole purpose of study. Real learning is attained when the student has analyzed and synthesized information into something meaningful. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to reflect on what you are studying. Try to relate it to your own experience and your own ideals and values.

9. Discuss your studies with others. This is a good way to reinforce what you have learned. Take advantage of class discussion and never be shy about asking questions or exchanging ideas. This is fundamental to worthwhile intellectual discussion and debate.

10. Learning is a lifelong quest. Strive to be a student of the world. Historical studies should encourage one to ask questions about everything. Remember that the only people who cannot be educated are those who think they already know everything. The successful person is one who understands that there is always more to study, more to think about, and more to explore.