Factors Affecting Study Habits

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Factors That Affect Academic Performance Among Pharmacy Students Sujit S. Sansgiry, PhD, Monali Bhosle, MS, and Kavita Sail, MS College of Pharmacy, University of Houston
Corresponding Author: Sujit S. Sansgiry, PhD. Address: Department of Clinical Sciences and Administration, College of Pharmacy, University of Houston, Texas Medical Center, 1441 Moursund Street, Houston TX 77030. Tel: 713-795-8392. Fax: 713-795-8383. E-mail: ssansgiry@uh.edu Received February 3, 2006; Accepted April 14, 2006.

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The objective of this study was to examine factors such as academic competence, test competence, time management, strategic studying, and test anxiety, and identify whether these factors could distinguish differences among students, based on academic performance and enrollment in the experiential program. Methods

A cross-sectional study design utilizing questionnaires measuring previously validated constructs was used to evaluate the effect of these factors on students with low and high cumulative grade point averages (GPAs). Pharmacy students (N = 198) enrolled at the University of Houston participated in the study. Results

Academic performance was significantly associated with factors such as academic competence and test competence. Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater significantly differed in their level of test competence than those with a GPA of less than 3.0. Students enrolled in their experiential year differed from students enrolled in their second year of curriculum on factors such as test anxiety, academic competence, test competence, and time management skills. Conclusion

Test competence was an important factor to distinguish students with low vs. high academic performance. Factors such as academic competence, test competence, test anxiety and time management improve as students' progress in their experiential year. Keywords: academic performance, academic competence, test competence, time management, strategic studying, test anxiety Other Sections▼

Grade point average (GPA) is a commonly used indicator of academic performance. Many colleges of pharmacy set a minimum GPA that should be maintained in order to continue in the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program. At the University of Houston, the minimum GPA requirement for PharmD students is 2.0. Nonetheless, for any graduate program, a GPA of 3.0 or higher is considered an indicator of good academic performance. A high GPA while in pharmacy school may not be the only factor associated with subsequent career success.1 Qualities such as empathy and social skills, namely communication skills, conflict management, leadership, collaboration, cooperation, and team capabilities are also important in the pharmacy practice environment. Students who possess these skills are able to work effectively with other health care providers and manage patient care efficiently.2 Although, survey instruments exist to measure such variables, they are not used consistently across all colleges of pharmacy. The GPA still remains the most common factor used by administrators to evaluate progression in an academic environment. Many factors could act as barriers to students attaining and maintaining a high GPA that reflects their overall academic performance during their tenure in college. These factors could be targeted by the college or school of pharmacy faculty members in developing strategies to improve student learning and improve their academic performance. Test anxiety, time management, test competence, academic competence, and study techniques are some of the factors that affect an individuals' academic performance1 and are the topic of this report. Academic competence is associated with students' ability to manage their study load and is used to assess if students are able to manage the study material in the curriculum.3 It also provides an indication of whether the curriculum is interesting enough for students to...
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