Alternative Study Strategies

Alternative Study Strategies

Method 1:

EDUCATION MAJOR – Semester GPA started at 2.3 Freshman year; at end of Sophomore year she got a 3.2 using the study system she developed.  She had a  receptive communication disorder, so it was hard to listen and take notes at the same time.  Remembering facts was difficult (unless they had a cause-effect order).

Studying for Tests:

  • Read chapters for the day they are due (never get behind)
  • Take notes on the book chapters, noting bold words and main points.
  • Take notes in class
  • Compare notes from the chapter with class notes; add class notes into chapter notes using a different color pen.  (All notes are together so you can study for tests so doesn’t without having to flip between books.

The Weekend Before the test

  • Read through all notes a few times.  (She can see what the main points are because those have more class notes added in; they show up in color).
  • Study the main points harder, but look over other points so you can recognize them on the test (in objective questions).

The Day of Test

  • Get up 1 and 1/2 hours earlier to review.  Does not study anything new.
  • 10-15 min. before class, stops looking at notes so she won’t be overwhelmed by the amount of information.
  • Doesn’t talk to anyone or answer any questions as she doesn’t want to get discouraged by hearing questions she doesn’t know the answers to (focuses on remembering what she has studied).

During Test

  • Looks at the essays before doing the multiple choice (MC); tries to write down a brief outline of each answer before going to MC.
  • Then she does all the multiple choice (objective part).  (When she reads the MC, she looks for items relating to the essays and lets her mind be triggered by them, so she actually gets ideas of things to add in to her essays while doing the MC questions!)
  • She only goes through the Multiple Choice section once, circling any she can’t get; she doesn’t look back over her test much because she generally gets confused by the questions and changes answers to wrong choices !!!
  • She writes her essays.
  • She returns to the circled MC questions after the entire test is completed,  and uses the process of elimination to get at the correct answer.

AFTER the FIRST TEST you can tell how the professor tests; this helps you to take more helpful notes from your text and your lectures.  It shows you what type of information to concentrate on.  Example:  In Psych of Person. she got a 71 on the first test because she studied the main point and big picture; however, the test was on little details.  Next test she focused on details in addition to main ideas and got an 87.

Method 2:

(Developed by Hougton College student with a 3.2 average. He is dyslexic, with disabilities in reading, spelling, foreign language and math.His method minimizes reading demands. He enrolls for 13 to 15 hours each semester. This method takes practice to perfect.)


Listens to lecture and takes notes (he is able to take good notes).

Selective Reading:

Four days before test time, he scans appropriate readings, taking limited notes on concepts important for the exams.  At this point he has the study questions to guide him.  He dwells on important quotes that provide support for concepts and ideas necessary to answer the study questions.  He takes only two pages of notes per chapter or author.   He combines lecture notes and text to answer the study questions; he ends up with main ideas from the lecture, supported by quotes and information from the readings.  When he reads selectively, he is really preparing directly for the test (For English class, he has to read everything due to active participation required in class,)


He returns to his lecture notes, finds those pertaining to the upcoming test and staples those notes together.  (This helps him be mentally organized and keeps him from being overwhelmed.)  He has now taken lecture notes, has read selectively, and has notes from both lecture and book.  He combines these two sets of notes ;  the method varies from class to class.  Most of his professors give a set of study questions.  Keeping these questions in mind, he keeps reviewing both sets of notes.  If he feels he not getting it, he’ll rewrite them into one set of notes to make a study sheet.  These notes are reviewed twice before the exams.  Since the notes only occupy two sheets of paper, it doesn’t take that long.  (He doesn’t find it necessary to write practice essays but some people might find this beneficial.)


You must be able to demonstrate a level of understanding of material (lecture and text), and understanding of the author viewpoint (where he/she’s coming from), and your personal opinion (for or against) the topic.  You have to be able to support your opinion through your knowledge of the material.   Make sure you can do this when preparing study questions.