Studying History

Student #1 was Dyslexic

  • He studied Western Civilization with Dr. Airhart his freshman year.
  • He got a “B-“ on the first test when half of the class got a “D” or an “F”.

How did he do so well on his first test in this difficult class? 

  •  He took advantage of the study questions which the professor supplied before each test.
  • He answered all study questions in his own words. He made written outlines of answers to study questions in his own words. He went to all study and help sessions to know what to emphasize in his studying. He revised his outlines and memorized them,
    • rehearsing out loud,
    • in his own words
    • from memory


Student #2 had weaknesses in math and foreign languages, and had ADD.  

  • She went from semester GPAs of 2.0 to 2.6 while at Houghton.
  • She studied Western Civilization with Dr. Howard and got a B+.
  • You must learn the details in this class: people, places and dates

How did she succeed? 

  • Since she remembered stories well, she thought of history as “a big story”, and could then remember it better.
  • She took notes from her textbook on ALL important items.  (If it has more than 2 paragraphs with it it’s important, or if a visual goes with it.)  She listed items by the NAME of the associated person - then listed dates and a summary of things associated with the person, such as politics, economics, and mood of time associated with person.
      • Example.  Queen Elizabeth I -  (dates of rule), who came before her in rule,
        who ruled after her;  what were her policies, politics, economic factors, the
        mood of the people (were they contented or was there an uprising).
  • An hour before the test she read through each to memorize, trying for short-term retention.  She remembered a lot from the act of taking her notes - writing.  (If she really wanted to retain long-term, she would have reviewed her notes frequently.)  
  • She thinks she could have gotten an “A” if she’d known going in that it wasn’t a broad concept course.  You need to think Who, What, Where, Why, When right from the start and takes notes/study accordingly.