Don’t study harder, study better

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By Michael Duncan

Exams always seem so far off, but that calculus exam that was once months away is now within weeks. Now you’re staring at homework you should have done ages ago.

“Procrastination is still the main problem for me, but I’m improving,” said Emerald Lacaille, a first-year child and youth care student who also gets nervous before exams.

“I’m usually studying in the few hours before the exam,” said Shawn Pena, a third-year information technology management student. “I know what material to study but I just can’t get down to study.”

However, Ryerson’s Learning Success Centre offers a bunch of services that help students learn how to make hitting the books a little easier.

“Time management is the main issue when it comes to exam time,” said Marlyn Husbands, a learning skills strategist at the centre. “If students are able to manage their time, then the next main problem is memorizing or understanding the material.

“Students could be concerned about doing well on the assignment and then they procrastinate and they are unable to accomplish it.”

As well, the centre offers consultations with strategists who have already experienced and successfully dealt with the study problems many students stuggle with.

Through these meetings, students can identify their learning style, which is another key to improved studying.

“By understanding their learning style they can work on their strengths in order to be successful and also be aware of what their weaknesses are so they can work on them or develop their strengths in that area,” said Husbands.

For visual learners, she suggested study aids such as cue cards, diagrams and concept maps.

“Your notes shouldn’t be pages with words on them,” said Husbands.

Auditory learners also need to take good notes.

“Have a study partner to talk about certain concepts or chapters and who you can bounce some ideas off of,” Husbands said.

For the active or kinesthetic learner, she suggested asking questions in class as well as participating in study groups.

“I think all students entering post- secondary education especially at a university level need to know, and it would be advantageous to know, their learning style,” said Husbands.

Being rested and well fed is also very important before an exam, she said, but in the end it comes down to whether you began studying two days or two weeks before.

“I don’t really get nervous to get my marks,” said Lacille. “I get what I worked for.”

The Learning Success Centre is located in the Victoria Building at VIC B15.

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