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Study tips get semester off to good start

Jan. 17, 2001

Reviewing notes, getting help are guides to success

By KIMBERLEE BARBOUR

Reporter

Before getting caught up in the semester and worrying about the lack of room in your daily planner, take a few minutes to organize study schedules, said Sally Firmin, the coordinator of retention services in the Academic Development Services Department. The beginning of the semester is the most important time to focus on studies and set a routine.

Firmin suggests five easy ways to maximize studying without stressing at the end of the semester.

Stay up with the reading assignments. Once a student gets behind in his or her work, it is very difficult to get caught up, Firmin said. With the increased amount of students at the library toward the end of the semester, it is a good idea to stay current with assignments.

Review notes on a daily basis. Retention rate goes up the sooner notes are read after a lecture. It is best to look at the notes in a systematic manner. Read Monday notes on Monday, read Wednesday and Monday notes on Wednesday and then Monday, Wednesday and Friday notes on Friday, Firmin said.

Planning time is absolutely critical, she suggested. More people than not procrastinate. Planning makes students less apt to put things off, experts say.

Emily Mazon, a Southlake sophomore, said she lives by her daily planner.

'It keeps me sane. I look at it when I have to rearrange my schedule or need to remember to read an assignment,' Mazon said.

It is best to think ahead about papers that are due at the end of the semester.

Some books are on high demand at the library. Do not wait until the end of the semester when it is a possibility it could be checked out.

'Sometimes books are in use by other students at the end of the semester when students really need them for a paper,' said librarian Brenda Anderson.

Staying in touch with faculty is another helpful hint to keeping up with assignments.

'Baylor is blessed with a caring faculty that is willing to help their students. There isn't a better source for advice on the material that will be covered throughout the semester than the professor himself,' Firmin said.

Always remember to make an appointment and arrive at the meeting prepared.

The fifth rule of thumb for studying is to get outside help as soon as a problem occurs, whether it is a study group from class, a tutor or a partner.

Mazon said that her study group helps tremendously.

'They keep me accountable to my assignments,' she said.

The study groups should be no more than five or six people, heavily structured, and each group member should be responsible for a specific part of the reading. The oral element is key to retaining the information, Firmin said.

'I did not plan to have a break in between my classes, but it just worked out that way,' Geoff Krall, an Austin junior, said. 'I study during my break and so far it has been great for going to the library. It isolates me from comforts like my bed and the television.'

A two hour study skills class is offered every semester through the education department to every student.