Do you have trouble building study time into your schedule? Do you find yourself waiting until the last minute to study for exams? The Study Cycle, adapted from Frank Christ’s PLRS system by Saundra McGuire in her book Teach Students How to Learn, is a guide to help you build effective studying into your everyday life. In the Study Cycle, each step builds on the previous one and distributes your learning throughout the semester, which is much more effective than waiting until the day before the test to study.
Step 1 – Preview
- Preview your text and other study materials before class to develop a better idea of what you’ll be covering. Skim through the chapter, notating all headings, subheadings, bold words, graphs, pictures and summaries. Develop questions you’d like the lecture to answer for you.
Step 2 – Attend
- Missing even a few classes can be detrimental to your studies and the learning process. Answer and ask questions and take meaningful notes during class. Combined with previewing, attending class will allow you to get more from lectures and take better, more concise notes.
Step 3 – Review
- Preferably right after class, but at least sometime during the day, take about 10 minutes to review your class notes. Fill in gaps, and note any questions that you may have. This process reinforces new concepts and increases confidence.
Step 4 – Study
- To reinforce the new material you learned during class, and to make sure you thoroughly understand the subject matter being taught, read notes and material from the week to make connections. As you study, ask yourself ‘how,’ ‘why,’ and ‘what if’ questions. Don’t forget, repetition is the key.
Step 5 – Assess
- Reflect on and evaluate your mastery and understanding of the material you learned and studied. Ask yourself:
- “Is the information I’m studying making sense?”
- “Am I confident with the new material?”
- “Do I understand the material well enough that I can teach it to someone else?”
Adapted from The Study Cycle. LSU and Frank Christ. http://www.cas.lsu.edu