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The Skills of Studying


Taking a class is not just about sitting through lectures or completing homework. The most successful students are those who allow themselves to become fully immersed in the subject matter. These are the students who are inquisitive and who are going to do well in the class no matter what. Not every student comes naturally equipped with those skills, which is why we at AJ Tutoring help to develop those skills in a variety of ways but the most important of these is incorporating study skills into our tutoring sessions!

When studying for exams, students often want to practice solving problems they haven’t seen before and will search for ones that are similar to or more complex than those they’ve been assigned. While I think this is an excellent idea, I typically advise students to first redo all of the problems they’ve been assigned so far in the unit and make sure they can solve those without looking at the solutions. As they systematically work through the problems, they should keep a list of which ones they were unable to solve and re-attempt those a few days later. (Note that this method requires students to start studying for a test at least a few days prior to the exam!) Any problems they are still unable to solve can form an even shorter list to be attempted a day or two later, and so on. 

I also find that while many students find it extremely difficult to learn a topic by reading about it in a textbook (and thus sometimes forgo reading the textbook altogether), it can be an extremely valuable exercise to read the textbook as a way to review concepts leading up to an exam. This can be an excellent way to ensure that students go into the exam with a complete, conceptual understanding of the units, which simply solving algebraic problems cannot always provide. Reading chapters of a textbook to review also involves reviewing definitions of key terms, taking note of when and how formulas should be used, and solving each example problem provided.

Study skills can take a student from slogging through a class to succeeding in a class. Just a few simple steps provided and reinforced through 1-on-1 guidance from a tutor can make a lifelong difference for students academically and personally. Ready to learn how AJ can help take your student to the next level? Call a Director today for more information or reach out to us online for a free consultation!


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