Understanding study cycle helps students perform better in class

Mengyuan Dong

It can be frustrating for freshmen to realize the study strategies they developed and implemented in high school don’t seem effective anymore.

Bryana Smith, an undergraduate assistant at the UT Sanger Learning Center, said a thorough understanding of the study cycle and regular practice may make the transition to college easier. She hosted a workshop on Thursday for students who have trouble performing well in class and on exams.

“For high school learning, it was just like to remember the concept given to you,” Smith said. “In college, you need to really understand what you learn and apply it to something in the real world.”

Smith teaches the study cycle concept, which includes previewing, taking lecture notes, reviewing, reorganizing and self-quizzing on material. Each of these steps demonstrates specific strategies, such as formulating questions in previewing and correcting misunderstandings in reviewing. She said this process helps students better understand where they are in their studying and what they should focus on most.

Regularly going over these steps could help students keep their thoughts cohesive and fit their studying habits together, Smith said.

“I sometimes find it difficult understanding the concept and don’t know how to apply it when I get the practice problems,” psychology freshman Daniela Gonzalez said. “The reviewing step is probably something I should work on from now.” 

Emma Rivera, a health and society freshman, said the biggest challenge of studying is how to get into material faster and better manage her time.

“I always wait until the last minute to figure out where I’m at and what questions I still have,” Rivera said. “(The workshop) helped me realize that I should organize my studying in a new way and stop cramming everything like I did in high school.”

Of the five steps in the full study cycle, Smith said reorganizing is the most important because it inspires students to “make the information relevant to themselves.” To achieve this, Smith said students can use real world examples to relate the information to them, such as things they are most familiar with and people they come into contact with every day.

“You can even make a song with the information you learned,” Smith said. “Just change it and make it relevant to you in any form or fashion.”