Study Skills

Students in classroomLearning study skills is an important part of being a successful student. Remember that for every hour you spend in class, you will need to spend an additional 2 hours outside of class to complete homework for the class. This can include reading assignments, writing papers, doing research or group work.

PCC offers one, two or three credit Study Skills classes: CG 111A , 111B, or 111C and college counselors may be able to help you address study skills and ways to develop successful study habits. Additionally, there are many study skill workshops offered at the college and can be found in the PCC Calendar of Events in MyPCC.

Top Ten Study Tips

  1. Take good class notes.  Consider rewriting your notes after class in order to make them more complete and to further aid in retention of course content.
  2. Use a handheld cassette recorder to record class lectures and take notes from if your instructors allow you to do so.
  3. Stay ahead of the class readings.  Highlight your text or take notes from the readings.  Make an outline of the reading or chapters.
  4. Don’t procrastinate.  Give yourself enough time to complete assigned readings, assignments, and to study for exams.
  5. Set aside a fixed time and space to study.  Have your study space be free from distraction and noise.  Studying at the same time daily helps your studying behavior become habitual and easier to accomplish.
  6. Study in short sessions. Studying in shorter sessions rather than one long marathon session can help you retain information. One idea is to study in four 2-hour sessions rather than one 8-hour session. This allows your brain to store the information more effectively.
  7. Establish a study group with classmates.  Set frequent times to meet and share class notes, study for exams, work on projects, and discuss class readings.
  8. Understand your preferred learning style and how that impacts your study skills.
    • Visual Learners learn by seeing lectures, presentations and examples. They want to see the instructor’s facial expressions and body language. If you are a Visual Learner you might choose to sit toward the front of the room to ensure an unobstructed view of the instructor and any visual tools (black or white board; overhead projection screen, models) being used.
    • Auditory Learners learn best by listening and talking through the information. They listen for the tone and pitch of the speaker to determine the important information in a lecture. If you are an Auditory Learner you may want to try reading your text out loud or into a recording device so you can listen to the information. You may also want to find a study partner you can discuss lectures and readings with or drill with using flash cards.
    • Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners learn best by getting “hands-on” with the material. They want to take models apart and put them back together to see how things fit or participate in over-the-shoulder training, where they are the “drivers” and the instructor is the “navigator”. If you are a Tactile/Kinesthetic learner you might learn best in lab situations where you get to experiment, see your subjects in their natural settings or practice on simulators. You might also find you have a hard time sitting through a lecture for four hours, so you may want to find a seat in the room that would enable you to stand or stretch from time to time without interfering with the learning of others.
      The more senses you involve in learning the more likely you will be to remember the information.
  9. Use mnemonic devices to help you recall information. One example of a mnemonic device is an acronym created from the first letters of a series of words such as "HOMES: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior" This is an easy way to remember the five Great Lakes. You can make up your own acronyms to recall a series of facts when you are studying.
  10. Use the SQ3R method to improve your comprehension when reading a textbook chapter:
    • Survey - skim through all the headings in the chapter and read the chapter summary if there is one. This helps you get a sense of the main themes and ideas..
    • Question - turn each of the headings in the chapter into questions by adding words such as "who", "what" or "how".
    • Read - read the paragraph or section to search for the answers to your questions.
    • Recite - use your own words to express your thoughts on the material. See if you can answer your questions without looking at the material.
    • Review - after you finished reciting the chapter, review all of the questions and answers you created. The purpose of this review is to put together all the separate questions and answers like the parts of a puzzle and understand the chapter as a whole.