exercise: Student A

This website's Main Pages (click to go there)   Home 主页    Current Update 当前更新    Resources 学习资源    Photos 影集 

  Links 友情链接    Things We've Written 我的文集   Special Features 本站特色    Site Map 本站导航    Real World 英语写作 

I've stopped updating this website, though it's pages will remain for a while. See "current update" for details.

Visit instead: wp.krigline.com and EFLsuccess.com

Sister-pages (click "up" for the "Study Methods" page; click here for "Student Connections"):

   Home Up exercise: Student A exercise: Student B

(▲ If you can't see the label, put your mouse over a button and look at the bottom of your browser.)

Improving Your Study Methods (student-sheet A)


Instructions: Print student-sheet A and student-sheet B. Read the vocabulary terms and definitions out loud (taking turns with your partner), then work with your partner to fill in the missing information below. As you do, notice the words that you have trouble understanding (this will tell you about weaknesses in pronunciation and/or listening). If needed, spell missing words for your partner, but DO NOT let your partner see your page! When you finish, use your eyes to compare papers (to be sure you have the complete information). For extra oral practice, talk about the discussion questions. Underlined words are in the vocabulary section.


I. How to Take Good Notes: The Five R’s


A. Recording – write down ____________________________ and supporting facts

      1. Use an ______________________ to show the difference between major and minor information

           a. In your notes, indicate the material’s significance by using an ________________________ [e.g., (A,B,C) for main points, but (a,b,c) for supporting points]

           b. Listen closely for your _________________________ signal words that indicate major points (such as “this is important” or “be sure you understand this”)

           c. Take lecture _____________ using only ____________________ half of your page; leave the other side free for complementary notes on this topic from your textbook.

      2. Strive to mentally _________________________ the flow of the lecture, don’t just passively listen

           a. Develop a big picture _________________: don’t get distracted by isolated facts.

           b. Concentrate on the overall _____________ or ________________ of the lecture. How do sub-points support that theme?

B. Reducing – summarize the _______________ in a simple form

      1. Summarize using your own words instead of trying to copy the _____________________ words

      2. Remember that notes are reminders, not a transcript or ______________ of the material.

           a. Copy verbatim only definitions and other material that needs to be ______________________.

           b. Quickly write notes in brief phrases, not complete sentences.

          c. Develop _____________________ system of abbreviations for long __________________ (e.g., medc=medicine, medl=medical)

C. Revising – look over and fix the material as soon as possible after recording it

      1. Fix (revise) confusing fragments of ________________________ in your __________________.

      2. Clarify abbreviations; be sure you will still know _______________________ a month from now.

      3. __________________________ some connecting thoughts or facts missing? If so, find them!

      4. Don’t be afraid to ask a ____________________ or your _____________________ for help.

D. Reflecting – think about what you’ve written down

      1. Did you get the meat _______________________ of the lecture? Can you see the big picture?

      2. Can you discover ______________________ of your professor’s __________________?

      3. Do you see both general information, and particular supporting information?

E. Reviewingreview your notes ____________________ you took them, and also before the exam.

      1. Involve more senses by reading your notes out loud.

      2. Begin early when ________________________ for exams; make time to review __________________, not just one time.


II. Studying for Exams


A. Compile all of your source material (lecture notes, textbook notes, handouts, things you have found on the Internet, etc.), and ___________________________________ before starting.

B. Begin studying early for the upcoming test; this requires planning.

      1. Gauge starting time on the number of exams and conflicting assignments. (If you have more than one ___________________________ due on the same day, then decide which one you will start working on first, and begin early enough to get everything done.)

      2. Start studying at least three to four days prior to your exam.

      3. Take into account the time needed for extracurricular __________________________. (You need to do more than “just study”; be sure your schedule includes time to exercise, honor work or family commitments, and spend time with your friends.)

C. Be an efficient studier. (see section III below)

D. Concentrate ______________________ on lecture notes and ________________________ on reading material. (Most teachers choose to lecture about the most important things in the textbooks, and design exams to find out if you understood what they considered to be most important.)

E. Keep your eyes on the big picture.

      1. Integrate information from many sources in order to get a more complete ____________________ of the material.

      2. Analyze each bit of information to determine its _______________ and role in the overall concept.

F. Consult your professor if your __________________ or textbook are unclear.

G. Study using the following suggested procedure: (1) carefully study your lecture _______________; (2) with each section of _______________, find supporting ideas in pertinent reading material (i.e., review and take ________________ from your books and handouts); (3) go over the ___________ once again in reverse order and be sure you can tie the whole concept together.


III. Being an Efficient Studier (Do the most in the least amount of time.)


A. Study a subject no longer than two hours at one sitting.

B. Take short breaks approximately every _______________________ (at least stand up and walk for a minute to get your blood moving)

C. Stay focused and concentrate deeply while studying.

      1. Minimize interruptions (turn off your mobile phone) and background noise (don’t be near an interesting ____________________ or a friend’s ______________________).

      2. Set a goal to be accomplished before taking your next break (e.g., “get to ________________” or “finish question 2”).

D. Don’t waste small amounts of ______________________, use them to study. (Believe it or not,

          you can accomplish a lot in just ten minutes.)

      1. Read a section of a required book.

      2. Recite a ____________________________ to memorize.

      3. Study a review sheet or review your notes.

      4. Discuss class-related topics ____________________________________.


IV. How to Prepare for and Take an Exam


A. Before the exam

      1. Exercise the night before, get plenty of sleep, and eat a good breakfast.

      2. Get up early, and spend some time looking at key notes to refresh your mind.

      3. Walk to class (walking gets your blood moving); arrive about 15 minutes before the test starts, and just relax while you wait.

      4. Do not study once you’re inside the classroom; cramming will only create confusion for you in the test.

      5. Trust your preparation (say to yourself: “I’ve studied hard, so I’m ready for this”), but never be over-confident (over-confidence makes you careless).

B. During the exam

      1. Quickly look over the test pages, looking for parts that will need more time (like essay questions); then go through the test carefully and methodically. Look at the back of test pages (if it is printed “double-sided” then you don’t want to leave half of it blank!).

      2. If you truly don’t have an answer for an item, skip over that questions (i.e., don’t waste time thinking about what you don’t know).

      3. Watch the clock to be sure you have time for every section. Many teachers do not allow mobile phones in the classroom, so wear a watch (don’t plan to use the clock in your phone).

      4. Take a short “mental break” in your seat for a minute or two if you start to feel yourself panicking, but don’t “look around the room” (lest teachers think you are cheating).

      5. Make an educated guess when you are not sure of the answer: e.g., eliminate choices that are clearly wrong, and then look for clues to show you the best remaining answer.

      6. If you have extra time, check your paper before turning it in; be sure you didn’t leave anything blank, but don’t change any answers unless you are sure you made a mistake (your first guess is normally best). Be sure your name and other essential information is on the paper.


V. Dealing with School Frustrations


A. Consider the past unchangeable, and study to change the outcome of the future.

B. Realize that you are never defeated until you accept defeat.

C. Keep your studies moving forward. Review to prepare for the next test or course, and learn from your mistakes (especially in “skills courses” like a foreign language). But do not waste time thinking too much about what you have done wrong (like trying to prove that your answer wasn’t really incorrect).

D. Realize that the first grades of the semester will probably be the worst. Instead of being discouraged, remind yourself that you will do better next time, once you are used to the subject or professor.

E. Put forth your best effort; after that, don’t worry. If you truly do your best, you have nothing to be ashamed of, even if the results are disappointing.

F. Religious people often find peace and strength through prayer (such as peace of mind before an exam, and the strength to forgive someone who hurt you). If you are looking for extra help, this might be a great place to look.

G. No one is perfect, so forgive your friends and teachers, just as you want them to forgive your own mistakes. Remember that forgiveness is a great source of peace and harmony.


Sources: This information was adapted for Chinese students by Michael Krigline, M.A., in 2009, based on a handout given to new students at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. The original material listed this source: Harves, Gene. Harves Guide to Successful Study Skills. New York: New American Library, 1981.


For discussion questions and vocabulary, see the main article (click here)


This resource was created by and for our students under my understanding of "fair use" for educational resources.  

 2009 Michael Krigline. As far as I am concerned, people are allowed to print/copy it for personal or classroom use.

(Please see our “Website Standards and Use Policy” for materials available at Krigline.com, and for information about the sources of definitions used on this website.)

Click in the boxes below to go to some of our most popular pages. If you get lost, just click "Home."

(There is a "search" box on the home page)


Site map (To search within any page, type "ctrl + f")

Current Update

& how to contact us

Resources  for students & teachers

Links for English Learners

EFL Movie Study Guides

Better Writing Study Guide

Our Students photos

Photo Index

South Carolina & USA photos

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Favorite Links

Things We've Written (articles)

Introduction to China

Life in China photos

Music Page & mp3 downloads

Archive Index

Real World Writing (my textbook)

See our Policy regarding the use of materials available at Krigline.com or Krigline.com.cn