Study skills

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Understanding and Developing Study Skills and Learning Methods

Universities have adopted a teaching technique that means students are required to allocate study time to independent learning, this allows students to develop their existing study skills and learning techniques. Learning and studying is subjective, therefore individual techniques will differ significantly to fit in with students unique learning styles. When considering study skills and learning methods it is critical that certain aspects are taken into consideration; the time that is available and the way in which the information is best retained (Cottrell 2008.) This essay will begin by looking at the different studying techniques. It will then go on to focus on both critical thinking and time management and the different methods that can be followed within each category.

Study skills are the strategies that are used to retain the information (Andrea Kosling 2004.) Whereas learning methods are the way in which people process and understand the information, and they are generally centred around reading and writing (Overview of Learning Styles 2013.) Universities encourage each of their students to use these skills and adapt them to benefit that individual. Note taking within secondary schools differs to that in higher education. This is because within a university the lecture is teaching a large class and cannot give individual attention to each student. Therefore, each learner quickly develops their own note taking methods which allows the selective key points to be obtained. Note taking from text books is the same and can be linked in with academic reading as the way information is retained differs with each student. Some students may prefer to read a whole chapter and then summarise their findings, whereas others may prefer to read each chapter in small sections and then summarise the information (Cottrell 2008.) However, students must be careful when writing using their notes to construct their essay as ideas taken from textbooks cannot be passed off as their own, but citing within the text means evidence is being shown as to where is was found and who created that work. A reference page must then be constructed in alphabetical order stating the resources (Williams and Carroll 2009.) Academic writing links with referencing writing as it shows that the student can use a wider range of resources and can then construct an essay too. Within the term academic writing, students must also ensure that the body of the essay is written in the third person so that it is impersonal and no opinion is shown unless stated, as well as ensuring that it is set out coherently and the person reading the information can clearly see what is being stated (Cottrell 2008.)

Critical thinking is one of the main study skills needed to produce high standards at university, as it allows the learner to have a more open mind when analysing certain texts. Peelo (1994) states that being able to critically think is the ability to look at a certain piece of text and then be able to assess both the logical reason behind that argument and the motivation for that point being put forward. The first step taken when critically reading work is to analyse the argument that is being put forward by the author. The student would then go on to figure out how and why this conclusion has been drawn up; is it from someone’s view point or has it been reached by carrying out a number of research projects? However, to be able to devise a conclusion the student may need to do background research so that they broaden their knowledge of that topic and other author’s conclusions. As with everything this processes does not come easy to some people and these students may only be able to take the text for its face value. There are however simple steps that can be taken to help develop this skill (Cottrell 2005.) Glaser (1941) highlighted the important steps to look at when being critical. First is the...
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