Will My Rusty Study Skills Make It Hard for Me to Go Back to College?

Barry Lenson

“I haven’t done any push ups in 15 years and I haven’t done any studying for that long either. How should I tone up my study skills before I go back to college?” – Joe Osborne, adult learner 

If like Joe you’re wondering how to tone up your study skills before you go back to college, here’s some advice for you.

First of all, relax. You used to know how to study, right? Even though you'll be taking your course online, now very little has changed. If you had good study habits and skills when you went to school before, you'll get back up to speed quickly.

Here's some advice  . . .

  • Get organized. When you were going to school before, you probably organized your course materials into folders, different sections of ring binders, or separate notebooks for the different classes you were taking. Today, you are going to do exactly the same thing, except you will do it electronically by setting up folders on your hard drive to organize your course assignments, lesson plans, and other documents.
  • Set aside regular times to study and complete your coursework. Although online learning is flexible and you can do your coursework any time, you will do better if you schedule regular times to work – and stick to those times closely. You could work for an hour in the morning before leaving for work, for example, or over lunch hours at your place of work, or after dinner in the evenings. Pick and plan the times you’ll use, and adhere to them.
  • Find a dedicated place to study and do coursework. It could be a separate desk that you set up in your bedroom, a vacant conference room at work, or a study desk at your local public library. The exact setting doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that it should be away from noise.
  • Keep things quiet and avoid interruptions. You’ll concentrate better and learn more if you study away from music and other noise. Also, consider silencing your phone during your quiet study time and asking people to avoid interrupting you during your study time.
  • Don’t read course sections just once. You’ll absorb more if you complete a section, then go back later to review it once or twice more, even if only briefly. If you study course sections several times, the material that they contain is far more likely to sink in.

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