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Studying for the Sciences. Ready for Success in Allied Health A Basic Skills Production Summer 2008. What makes an “A” student?. An “A” student starts early !!. What does it mean to start early ?. Starting early . Did you bring a pen/pencil to class ? Did you bring paper to take notes?

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studying for the sciences

Studying for the Sciences

Ready for Success in Allied Health

A Basic Skills Production

Summer 2008

what makes an a student
What makes an “A” student?
  • An “A” student starts early !!

What does it mean to start early ?

starting early
Starting early ....
  • Did you bring a pen/pencil to class ?
  • Did you bring paper to take notes?
  • Have you read the syllabus and filed it?
  • Have you bought a textbook for class?
  • Have you read the TOC ?
  • Have you read the assigned chapters?
  • Have you bought other materials for this class?
reading strategies
Reading Strategies
  • Explore the textbook
  • Check the vocabulary
  • Analyze for comprehension
  • Synthesize for understanding
explore the textbook
Explore the Textbook
  • Look at course outline
  • Compare it to Table of Contents
    • How do they match up?
  • Look at charts, graphs, diagrams, pictures
  • Try to make a connection with what you already know
check the vocabulary
Check the Vocabulary
  • Learn basic suffixes, prefixes, root words
  • Most scientific vocabulary uses Latin roots as their basis
  • Keep a chart or index cards of commonly used prefixes and suffixes
  • Use context clues
analyze for comprehension
Analyze for Comprehension
  • Look for patterns in the textbooks
  • Classification --used to group/sub-group objects
  • Process description --how does it work?
  • Factual statement pattern
    • facts are usually used in defining things, comparing/contrasting, citing examples
  • Problem solving pattern –
    • how was the problem solved?
  • Experiment – instruction pattern
    • What are the steps needed to conduct the experiment
synthesize for understanding
Synthesize for Understanding
  • Be an ACTIVE reader
  • Become engaged from the start
  • Ask yourself questions
  • What’s this chapter about? Why is this important to read? Will it help me get an A?
  • Take notes
  • Use a highlighter
  • Translate formulas into words
another reading strategy
Another Reading Strategy
  • SQ3R
    • SURVEY
    • READ
    • RECITE
    • REVIEW
ebbinghaus research
Ebbinghaus’ Research
  • Professor Ebbinghaus gave subjects 20 nonsense syllables to memorize
  • They practiced list by repetition until they were correct two times in a row
  • He counted the number of times it took to master the list
  • If they forgot, they practiced until they remembered the list perfectly
ebbinghaus results
Ebbinghaus’ Results
  • If they practiced immediately, they retained the knowledge 100%
  • If they waited 20 minutes, they retained about 60%
  • If they waited 1 hour, they retained about 45 minutes
  • If they waited 3 days, they retained about 25%
ebbinghaus principles
Ebbinghaus’ Principles
  • Memory decays as a function of time
  • Rate of forgetting – fastest after initial learning – slower for more meaningful material
  • Amount remembered depends on multiple times spent learning
  • Effect of “overlearning”– information practiced beyond mastery will be harder for you to forget or “lose”
reviewing material
Reviewing Material
  • What doesn’t work --
  • just listening in class
  • just taking notes
  • just memorizing facts & conclusions
  • just recopying or retyping your notes
  • waiting until AFTER lecture to read the textbook assignment
  • waiting until last minute to review
what does work
What does work ?
  • The best way we learn is by



memory is associative
Memory is “Associative”
  • Memory of new information is increased if

it is associated with previously acquired knowledge

  • Meaningful association =

effectively remembered

memory factors
Memory Factors
  • Intention
    • how much effort you expend
  • Repetition
    • how often material is repeated
  • Emotion
    • whether material brings emotional response
  • Depth of processing
    • whether related to known material
shallow vs deep processing
Shallow vs. Deep Processing
  • Shallow processing
    • Simple rehearsal
    • repeating information
  • Deep processing
    • Elaborative rehearsal
    • actively reviewing and connecting to knowledge already stored
deeper level processing
Deeper Level Processing
  • review by RECALL not by recognition
  • establish connections
    • make associations
    • attach meanings
    • form relationships
    • create hierarchies
deep processing techniques
Deep Processing Techniques
  • Writing outlines
  • self-examination during learning
  • review questions
  • previews
  • encourage integration of material and think about the meaning
shallow processing
Shallow processing
  • Meaning – understand each isolated part
  • Lacks deeper meaning that comes from understanding relationship among parts
  • new knowledge tends to be shallow when it is first learned – this is normal !!
flexible knowledge
Flexible knowledge
  • As you continue to work with knowledge, you gain expertise
  • knowledge no longer organized around examples
  • can be transferred to new situations
  • Suppose you know how to find the area of a rectangle. Can you apply it to a new situation? Can you find the area of a room or a house?
testing for flexible knowledge
Testing for Flexible Knowledge
  • Types of multiple choice questions:
  • A blood pressure reading of 200/96 mmHg is considered:
      • A. Hypotension
      • B. Hypertension
      • C. Cardiac hypertrophy
      • D. Renal hypertension

What did you have to know to answer this question?

another multiple choice question
Another multiple choice question:
  • A newly admitted client has a blood pressure of 200/96 mmHg. The client has a family history of diabetes mellitus. Which nursing action is most appropriate at this time?
    • A. Call the doctor
    • B. Retake the blood pressure
    • C. Assess for other signs and symptoms
    • D. Ask the client if he/she is taking antihypertensives.
what s the difference
What’s the difference?
  • First question
    • just the facts – recalling factual information
  • Second question
    • clinical decision using critical thinking skills
  • Clinical scenario-type questions are commonly used in nursing exams.
here s another scenario
Here’s another scenario:
  • You are the nurse on a med-surg unit who has just received a report. Which patient should you assess first?
  • A. A 35 yo admitted 3 hours ago with a gunshot wound. 1.5 cm area of dark drainage noted.
  • B. A 43 yo s/p mastectomy 2 days ago with 23cc of serosanguous fluid in the drain.
  • C. 59 yo with a collapsed lung due to an accident; no drainage in the chest tube
  • D. a 62 yo s/p abd-peritoneal resection 3 days ago; now complaining of chills
what do you need to know to answer the question
What do you need to know to answer the question?
  • Medical terminology
  • Vocabulary
  • Nature of the surgeries
  • What is normal and expected?
  • What do you NOT expect to see?
  • You are combining ALL these factors to answer the question. Not just recall and repeating information.
effective strategies
Effective Strategies
  • Spacing Effect
  • short periods of practice daily are better than cramming
  • sustained practice
  • regular, ongoing practice
  • practice BEYOND one perfect recitation
  • useful for developing automaticity
does practice make perfect
Does Practice Make Perfect?
  • Practice is important
  • Practice until you don’t get it wrong
  • Practice has to be ongoing
  • Make practice “deliberate”
    • set specific goals and get immediate feedback of results
    • exert some effort to improve performance
what is an expert s attitude
What is an Expert’s Attitude?
  • Approaches everything with need to learn more
  • never loses intensity of a beginner
  • never feels finished or satisfied
  • continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond one’s competence
what is overlearning
What is overlearning?
  • Overlearning is studying material one already knows
  • For a new skill to become automatic, sustained practice, beyond the point of mastery, is necessary.
  • develop automaticity – you can become more skillful when you don’t have to think about it (knowing the grammar rules !!)
when to review notes
When to review notes:
  • 1st review: immediately after class
  • 2nd review: within 24 hours
  • 3rd review: within the week
  • 4th review: within the month (before a test)
  • 5th review: within the semester (before the final exam)
how do we comprehend
How do we comprehend?
  • Taking in new information and understanding it depends on what you already know that can be connected
  • Making correct inferences demands some background knowledge.
stated v implied information
Stated v. Implied Information
  • “John’s face fell as he looked down at his protruding belly. The invitation specified ‘black tie’ and he had not worn his tux since his own wedding 20 years earlier.”
  • What is John concerned about?
background knowledge
Background Knowledge
  • “Mark was a real Benedict Arnold about it.”

Can you understand this?

Who or what is Benedict Arnold?

how do we know that we know something
How do we know that we know something?
  • Familiarity -- knowledge of having seen or otherwise experienced some stimulus before, but having little information associated with it.
  • Recollection – characterized by richer associations
  • Ability to explain to others !!
i already know this stuff
I already know this stuff...
  • If you believe you know this material, you are likely to stop listening, stop reading, stop working, and stop participating.
  • Be careful, you may think you know this stuff, but you may just have shallow processing.
  • Feeling you understand the material as it is presented is not the same as being able to recount it yourself.
  • Some students quit once some facts have been memorized, believing they have already done quite a bit of studying.
i think i know this
I think I know this...
  • I’m familiar with it..
    • ( I know how to do fractions)
  • I can partially access (kind of recall) that information.
    • ( I learned fractions last year)

Some people just really think they know more than they do !!

study groups
Study Groups
  • One of the best ways PROVEN to help increase grades !!
  • Cohort of familiar students to support each other
  • Can get a complete set of notes because everyone has probably written down different “important” information from lectures
  • When you teach someone else, you reinforce what you have just learned
does sleep matter
Does sleep matter?
  • Yes !!
  • sleep deprivation adversely affects learning
  • compensates for inadequate sleep with
    • shorter attention span
    • lowered creativity
    • reduced memory capacity
    • rigid viewpoints
    • irritability
    • increased appetite
your favorite word
Your favorite word !!!
  • test
  • assessment
  • quiz
  • exam
  • mid-term
  • final
now it s time to prove you know what you know
Now it’s time to prove you know what you know !!
  • Studying for a test
  • Think of questions your instructor might ask
  • Ask the instructor!!
  • Try writing a brief summary of commentary for each chapter studied
  • Recite important names, theories, dates, terms, and relevant information
  • Define words in each chapter
  • Put it all together – your thoughts, your notes, your understanding of the material
during the test
During the test --
  • Read the directions carefully
  • Ask questions before the test starts
  • If some questions are worth more than others, devote more time and effort to them
  • Make sure you understand if you are given partial credit for partial completion of the problem
  • Answer the ones you are confident about
  • Keep track of time
  • Write legibly – don’t make your instructor decode your scribbling
after the test
After the test --
  • Your learning doesn’t stop at the test
  • When you get your test back, meet with your study group (or instructor or tutor)
  • Was everything on the test already in your notes?
    • Yes – (you may have a studying problem)
    • No – (you may have a note taking problem)
studying problem
Studying problem
  • Did you start reviewing notes immediately after class and then on a regular basis?
  • Did you join a study group?
  • Did you just memorize facts or did you make associations to help you study?
note taking problem
Note taking problem...
  • Did you take the right notes?
  • Did you have trouble figuring out what was important?
  • What was supposed to be written down?
  • When did you start reviewing your notes?
final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Start __________ !
  • Form a study ________ !
  • Take good ________!
  • Get some ________!
  • Review your notes __________ !
  • Practice until you _____________ !
  • Make ____________ !
  • Have _______ !
  • Baiardo, Richard, Helping Students with their Study Skills in the Sciences, 2007, Powerpoint presentation, RSS Group, Evergreen Valley College.
  • Bloom, Benjamin S. Developing Talent in Young People, 1985, Ballantine Books
  • Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Romer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100, 363-406.
  • McWhorter, Kathleen T., Guide to College Reading, 2003, Longman Publishers
  • Ross, Philip E. “The Expert Mind”Scientific American, August 2006
  • Willingham, Daniel T., “Inflexible Knowledge: The First Step to Expertise,”American Educator, Winter 2002
  • Willingham, Daniel T., “How Knowledge Helps: It Speeds and Strengthens Reading Comprehension, Learning—and Thinking,”American Educator,Spring 2006
  • Willingham, Daniel T., “Why Students Think They Understand—When They Don’t,”American Educator, Winter 2003-2004
  • Willingham, Daniel T., “Practice Makes Perfect, But Only If you Practice eyond the Point of Perfection,”American Educator, Spring 2004