Dr. Chew’s Study Habits

Based on his observations and research on student learning, Dr. Chew, psychology professor at Samford University, has prepared a series of five short but informative video clips explaining how to reinforce those beliefs that are accurate/implicit while changing those beliefs that are flawed. The end result should be that the more accurate our beliefs are about how we learn, the more effective we can be at studying and achieving the kind of “deep” learning that leads to long-term growth and, ultimately, success.

How to Get the Most Out of Studying

Part 1:  Beliefs that Make You Fail….Or Succeed.

Part 2:  What Students Should Know About How People Learn.

Part 3:  Cognitive Principles for Optimizing Learning.

Part 4:  Putting Principles of Learning Into Practice.

Part 5:  I Blew the Exam, Now What?

What are some current beliefs that you have of what you consider to be good study habits? How do these beliefs contrast with what Stephen Chew says are good study habits?

Over the course of my freshman year in college, I adapted a few of my study habits from high school as well as learned a few new study skills that have helped me be successful in my academics.  A high school study skill that I have carried on and used in college is highlighting or underlining important content in textbooks and other class readings. Highlighting important content challenges me to mentally locate and focus on the important concepts within the reading material. This aids me in overall comprehension and recall. Note taking is another extremely useful study habit that I have learned to rely on for studying effectively. I have found myself to be a more visual learner and being able to see information helps that information to stick with me and be available for recall when needed. The action of writing down key points serves to “imprint” the information onto my brain. The more I write, draw, and picture information presented to me in a lecture, the better I feel about recalling, using, and understanding the information.  Putting in the needed time to complete a project or review exam material in its entirety is another very important aspect of studying for me and allowing myself that time is crucial to my success in a project.

I feel my beliefs on good study habits parallel Dr. Chew’s view in many areas. Although I currently employ many of Dr. Chew’s suggested study habits, Dr. Chew explores them more fully and in greater depth.  For example, Dr, Chew’s take on highlighting or marking information while reading involves not marking key words or main topics but instead he encourages students to highlight concepts instead of definitions and to mark points where concepts relate. Implementing Dr. Chew’s tweaks into study methods that I already use will be an effective way to redefine and improve my study habits. Studying definitions and facts by writing them on note cards is another study method that I have used extensively in studying for exams. Dr. Chew directly criticizes this method and instead recommends a more conceptual review of exam material. This is a recommendation that I will take into deep consideration when studying for my future exam.

What deep processing techniques can you use in class, while reading, and while studying to ensure that you understand and “overlearn” the material? 

Dr. Chew explained deep processing as not only marginally absorbing information presented in text or in a lecture but also putting effort into relating the information either to another concept or to you personally. Relating learned concepts to other, more familiar, information helps the brain absorb the presented material and facilitates in recalling the material at a later time. This is the technique of deep learning that Dr. Chew demonstrated to be a more effective method of studying. An example of this would be a calculus student attempting to learn the definition and function of the Racetrack Principle which already relates a mathematical principle to horses on a racetrack. A student from Kentucky might relate this principle to his or her prior experiences at the Kentucky derby and think about how this principle is displayed in the real world.  Another student might relate the Racetrack Principle to a car race or similar event. Even though the relations made by the students differ, the effect of solidifying learned information is achieved for both students. These relationships can be made by students both in and out of a lecture and will facilitate the recall of the required information. Effective relationships can remain strong in a student’s mind even after you have completed the course. This is what is meant by “overlearning” material and this study habit can be extremely useful when learning material you will need in later higher level classes on the subject.

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