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College Tip # 3 – Read the Material

Top Ten College Tips

Here is another one of the college tips that may seem obvious, but it is worth being said because many students do not do it.  The tip is to read the assigned material for each class.  What many students do is skim the material to complete assignments and primarily using information collected during the lecture. And while skimming and using the lecture notes can be sometimes good enough to get an average grade, also going through and reading the material will get you to the next level and increase the probability of top-tier performance.

In addition to reading, the timing of when you read is important as well.  The flow for a typical college class will be lecture covering one to two chapters per class and then every fourth to fifth week will be an exam.  The exam will be typically cover somewhere around 4 to 6 chapters.  Some students will go to all the lectures and then cram for the exam by reading all the chapters just before.  This process is better than not reading at all, but the key is to read the chapters either just after or just before the lecture they are discussed in.

This is one of the college tips where an example can help explain the process.

Option 1: Read after lecture
Read the assigned material after it is discussed in class and before new material is discussed in the next class. 

Lecture 1 – Discuss chapters 1 and 2
Days after lecture 1 – Read chapters 1 and 2
Lecture 2 – Discuss chapter 3
Days after lecture 2 – Read chapter 3

Option 2:  Read before lecture

Read the assigned material before it is discussed in class.

Days before lecture 1 – Read chapters 1 and 2
Lecture 1 – Discuss chapters 1 and 2
Days after lecture 1 – Read chapter 3
Lecture 2 – Discuss chapter 3

This process will help by accomplishing three different things – double exposure, synchronized exposure, and pacing.

Double exposure:  If you follow this process you will be exposed to the material at two different times – once during the lecture in class and also when you read on your own.  This double exposure will help to reinforce your level of understanding of the material.  You will lay a foundation of knowledge during the first exposure, whether that is reading or the lecture.  That foundation of knowledge will then be reinforced and strengthened with the second exposure, whether that is going back to read or going to class after reading.

Synchronized exposure: 
Not only does the process expose you to the information twice, but it also synchronizes the effort by having it take place before the class moves on to new material.  If you read just before or after the class where the information is discussed, there is a much more powerful effect than if you read at a later time when other material is being discussed in class.

Pacing: 
By following these college tips, you will be more likely to keep pace with the class and this can keep you from falling behind. 

#3 on the college tips is similar to the other tips in that it help you to keep up with the class, understand the information better, and do better on exams.

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This article was published on Sunday 01 November, 2009.

Back to main topic: Student Life
College Tip # 1 – Go to class
College Tip # 2 - Taking Notes
College Tip # 4 – Study Process for Exams
College Tip # 5 – Don’t Fall Behind
College Tip # 6 – Get Involved
College Tip # 7 – Exercise
College Tip # 8 – Get a Job
College Tips # 9 – Creating the Right Environment
College Tip # 10 – Balancing Social Activities
Top Ten College Tips
Benefits of Student Coaching
The Return on Investment from Student Coaching

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