Study Skills Resources 

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Basic Test-Taking Strategies

Perhaps the most essential factor in preparing for exams is to avoid cramming.  Review for tests should go on all semester, and this will eliminate the need to cram.

Here is a basic study plan for reviewing course material:

  • Notes should be studied the same day as the lecture and reviewed periodically thereafter. 
  • New, technical vocabulary should be put on cards with definitions and the words used in a sentence. 
  • The highlighting of required readings should be reviewed throughout the semester. 
  • Consistency in review will significantly reduce the amount of time needed to study immediately before the exam.  Start a pattern early in the semester and stick with it.

When studying for a test, learn to be aware of certain clues.  These include:

  • Any points on which the teacher spent a large amount of time or were prefaced with such comments as, “Of special importance is…” or “This is important because…”
  • Lists and enumerations, which are prime items for essay tests –
    "The six characteristics of..."
    "The four major consequences of..."
    "The major court cases leading to the establishment of the law are..."
  • Key terms, along with definitions and examples.
  • Previous questions from quizzes, old tests, chapter reviews, etc.

On the day of the test, make sure you have all materials required for the exam and get to class a little early. 

Read all instructions and budget time during the test. For example, time for a 2-hour test might be budgeted as follows:

Question Type

Question Value

Time Budgeted

10 True-False

10 points total

10 minutes total 

40 Multiple Choice

40 points total

40 minutes total

Review T/F and Multiple Choice


10 minutes

2 Essay

50 points total

60 minutes total:
5 minutes outlining #1
20 minutes writing #1
5 minutes outlining #2
20 minutes writing #2
10 minutes review

 Additional test-taking strategies

  • Easier questions should be answered first.  Scan the test for questions you can answer, then go back to any that still need attention.
  • Answer all questions, even if you have to guess, unless points are deducted for wrong answers.
  • If any items are not clear, ask the instructor for clarification.
  • Take advantage of the full amount of time allotted for the test.  However, don’t change your answer unless you have new insight or information.

Study Strategies: Media Resources (Available at the University Library)


Study Strategies:

  • Effective Study Strategies/Academic Resources Corporation. Niles, IL: United learning, 1987.
  • Where there’s a Will There’s an A: How to get Better Grades in College. Paoli, PA: Chesterbrook Educational Publications, 1991.
  • Academic Success for Dartmouth College Students. Princeton, NJ: Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth College, Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2003.

Time Management:

  • Getting Things Done with Edwin Bliss. Boulder, CO: CareerTrack Publications, 1989.
  • Time of Your Life: how to get control of your time and your life. Hollywood, CA: Cally Curtis, 1995.

Listening Skills:

  • The Art of Listening / Stage Fright Productions. Lake Zurich, IL: Learning Seed, 1993.
  • How to Listen Effectively/Tony Alessandra. San Diego, CA: Levitz/Sommer Productions, 1986.
  • How to Listen Powerfully with Ron Meiss. Boulder, CO: CareerTrack Publications, 1990.
  • Listen Up, hear what's really being said: improve your career and your life by becoming a better listener with Dick Wilson. Kansas City, MO: Rockhurst College Continuing Education Center; Shawnee Mission, KS: National Press Publications, 1998.


Study Strategies:

  • 12 Steps to Study Success, by Conrad Lashley and Warwick Best.  London: Continuum, 2001.
  • Becoming  a Master Student, by David Ellis.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
  • College after 30: A Handbook for Adult Students, by Caryl Chudwin and Rita Durrant.  Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1981.
  • College Study Skills, by James Shepherd.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.
  • College Study Skills: Becoming a Strategic Learner, by Dianna Van Blerkom.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomsen Learning, 2003.
  • How to Study in College, by Walter Pauk.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001.
  • Learning Skills for College and Life, by David Watson.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth/Thomsen Learning,  2001.
  • Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success: A Self-Management Approach, by Myron Dembo.  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000.
  • POWER Learning: Strategies for Success in College and Life, by Robert Feldman.  Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2007.
  • Study and Thinking Skills in College, by Kathleen McWhorter.  New York: Harper Collins, 1992.
  • Study Methods and Reading Techniques, by Debbie Guice Longman.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1992.
  • Succeeding in College, by Jean Reynolds.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.
  • Techniques for Success: College Reading and Study Skills, by Selma Wilf.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986.
  • What Every Student Should Know about Study Skills, by Enid Leonard.  New York: Longman, 2007.

Time Management:

  • Developing a Time Budget, by SL and DL Groves.  Brockport, NY: Appalachian Associates, 1978.
  • Manage Your Time, Your Work, Yourself, by Douglas Merrill and Donna Merrill.  New York: Amacom, 1993.
  • Orientation to College Learning, By Dianna Van Blerkom.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2002.

Memory Skills:

  • Improving Memory and Study Skills, by Douglas Hermann.  Seattle: Hogrete and Huber, 2002.
  • Strategies for Learning and Remembering, by Mary Ann Raforth.  Washington DC: NEA Professional Library, National Education Association Publication, 1993.

Exam Skills

  • The Student’s Guide to Exam Success, by Eileen Tracy.  Philadelphia: Open University Press, 2002

Study Strategies: Web Resources


Time Management/Organization:

Learning Styles:

Study Skills:


Other resources:

Strategies Suggested by Graduating SSWD students

  • It’s important to stay organized.
  • Always have communications with classmates. Exchange ideas on how to do homework.
  • Go to SSWD and get services set up because that support makes a big difference.
  • Perseverance and dedication to studying.
  • Allow yourself to grow.
  • You have to advocate for yourself.
  • Get to know professors.
  • Don’t forget to ask for help.
  • Take every opportunity you can.
  • Just hang in there.
  • Grades went up when using technology.
  • You can do better if you get help.
  • Learning is an amazing opportunity.
  • Get school work done.
  • Look at other students and see they can do it. Even though you learn differently you can still achieve the same goals.
  • Hope for the future and focus on your work.
  • You can do anything if you set your mind to it.
  • Keep up with your reading.
  • If you think you need assistance, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • You have to advocate for yourself.
  • Computer reading helped.
  • Study hard.

Note: SSWD does not promote, validate, or maintain any of the web sites listed.  See your Services to Students with Disabilities Counselor/Specialist for disability management counseling and further referrals for issues that may be impacting your academic success.

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