how to study in university

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Studying is really an all-out effort at learning, and it is only practiced successfully when you learn, and learn well and efficiently.

Allocating your time

  A good general rule for studying is that one to two hours of study time are required for each hours of lecture of recitation. You must modify this in the light of what you know about the probable difficulty of your courses for you.

–revising the schedule: Your first schedule for the semester should not be your last. Your schedule will do you no good if it is so unrealistic that you can’t follow it at all in practice.

   Once you have regular habits of study, you don’t need to rely on your schedule as an incentive. You can use it just as a convenient plan for your week’s activities. You probably ought not to change your schedule more than once every two weeks and ordinarily not oftener than every three or four weeks, for you ought to know how one schedule has worked for a week or two before you revise it.


  In college, the full-time student will spend approximately twice that in preparation outside of class. That is why throughout this book we emphasize the skills needed in study outside the classroom.

Lecture course

Quiz sections: In any case, the strategy is something for you to work out in the light of your interests and the way the sections are conducted.

Class attendance

  Our advice to all freshman students would be to attend all classes faithfully regardless of the way the course is organized. Even if the lecture re-covers the ground of the textbook, the teacher’s emphasis and explanation are usually of sufficient help to be worth the time. After all, class time is not that crucial in a student’s schedule. He can easily spare 15 hours a week out of the 112 that he is awake.

Good listening

  Actually, good listening, like good studying at a desk, is an active process. You should sit erectly, be mentally alert, and prepare to concentrate as completely as possible on what the lecturer says. If the teacher is not endowed with a good speaking voice, this is all the more important. You should try with eyes and ears to learn all that you possibly can. Your mind throughout should be on what the lecturer says and displays, not other things. An apparently dull lecturer and dull subject can turn out to be interesting when regarded in this way, especially after you have learned something about the subject.

Prof. Walter Pauk, Cornell Uni.   5 R’s

1.     Record

2.     Reduce. This refers to summarizing the ideas and facts that have been put down in lecture. This is a way of clarifying the meaning of what has been recorded, of picking out key term and concepts, and of providing flags or clues to the details described in the recorded notes.

3.     Recite. Review very soon. At this point, the student does whatever rewriting of the recorded notes is necessary, but it is also the time to reduce the main ideas and facts to a form suitable for recitation.

4.     Reflect. This means thinking about the content of the notes

5.     Review. Reviewing is necessary to retain what you have learned. To review, merely repeat step three of the 5 R’s.

To implement them, you need to have a prearranged format for your notes.

Study textbooks

Survey Q3R=SQ3R

.Survey (overview). Question. Read. Recite. Review

 The survey Q3R program has been soundly tested. It has been shown to describe not only what good students do but to be a safe guide for improving enormously the work that all students, good and poor, can do.


The first of the five main steps is the survey (or getting an overview). In this step you should get the best possible over-all picture of what you are going to study before you study it in any detail. The person should know what he is going to run into before he starts; he needs to know the general picture before he can make intelligent decisions about the details.

–Surveying a book: Surveying a book must proceed in steps, from big ones to little ones. When you first pick up a book, a good thing to do is to survey the whole book. Start the survey by reading the preface, it will tell you what preparation and knowledge is required for reading the book. The preface usually gives some clear picture of what is to come.

 Next in any book comes the table of contents. Look at it, go through it slowly and thoughtfully, find out from it as much as you can about what the book contains. Moreover, you should do this repeatedly as you progress through the course. The farther you read in the book the more meaningful the table of contents becomes.

 To conclude your survey of the book as a whole, there are two further things to do. One is to leaf through it (It gives you a feel for the book and an understanding of its over-all organization), and the other is to read the summaries of chapters (if there are summaries).

–Surveying a chapter: You should survey the chapter, but more carefully than you’ve done for the book, and this time with an eye especially on the headings.

 One important precept, then is use the headings. You should also pay attention to the order of headings. In several programs in which thousands of students have been taught to use survey methods, the students have made remarkable gains, by actual measurement, in their ability to comprehend and learn new material.


 People seem to remember what they learn in answer to a question better than things just read or memorized. A person with a question is a person with a purpose.

  When you have cultivated the questioning frame of mind, you may simply think your questions out to yourself as you survey and later as you read the chapter. Eventually, the art of asking questions becomes so ingrained that you don’t have to stop to formulate them.

READ: Its only the trip through the woods made after the terrain has been surveyed and the path mapped out by questions. It enables one to mark the big trees and the points of interest so that they can easily be found later when the trip is made more hurriedly (review) or be pointed out to someone else (recitation and examination).

  To avoid passive reading, read to answer the questions the instructor or author has asked. As you go along, keep challenging yourself to make sure that you understand what you read.


 The general rule is as follows: As you read, stop at intervals to recite the substance of each major section of a chapter. When you review for examination, again make recitation a substantial part of your study procedure.

  This you can be sure of: The time spent in recitation pays off. In one study, for example, students who spent up to 80 percent of their time on recitation did better than people who spent the same time reading without reciting. You can also be sure that time spent in recitation actually saves time. The amount you remember by reciting is so great that you don’t have to spend nearly so much time later in rereading the material and in reviewing it for an examination.

   For most prose, the section set off by a heading is the best unit to recite. Each time you see a new heading come up, stop and recite the material in the section you have just finished. Do this for each side heading; then double up when you come to a main heading.


The first review is immediately after you have studied something.  The final review, the one just before an examination, should, like the first review, emphasize recitation.


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