This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter zero table of contents.

Success Stories Pt 1

Students sometimes start out doing poorly then show dramatic improvement when they discover an effective way to study. This is an important phenomenon that should give hope to students who are struggling. I often asked such students to write about their experiences in their own words, for the benefit of future students who might achieve success with the same approach.

What is "an important phenomenonon" and why were students asked to write about it?

These "success story" pages contain narratives from students who went from getting C and D grades to getting A and B grades. In some cases their advice does not correspond exactly to mine (for example, some of them recommend highlighting. Grrr!) but that is OK. No doubt different techniques work for different people. If you try one approach and it doesn't work, try a different approach. I have already told you what I recommend; I hope you will give that a try, too.

Barbara H. writes:

My average in your class had been a D for quite some time. It took me until almost the end of the semester to realize that I need to read the whole chapter. At first I was just finding the answer to the question and that's all I would study. On the day of the quizzes the questions would be of material I barely had skimmed over, and I was so mad at myself for not remembering the answer. Also, to understand what I'm memorizing I needed to read everything. I am very proud that I made a 100 on the last quiz. I find your class very educational but I needed more discipline about studying than I came to college with.

Eddie C. writes:

I should have had an edge on everyone else that stepped into that class from day one, because this is my second time holding a seat in your class. At the beginning of the term I thought I would have an easy time and would not have to study very hard, since I had looked at the chapters before. I could not have been more wrong. I found out the hard way that I still had to study to pass. Maybe not realizing this sooner is the reason I had to drop the class last time. Now I finally found out what works for me.

First off, I have to completely ignore the side questions as I read it all the way through for the first time. Then, after a good complete reading, I go back to the beginning and try to see how much sunk in by trying out the questions one by one. Usually I have no trouble answering most of the questions, but there are always those few for which I have no clue. These are the ones that I focus on. After mastering these I go back through them all one more time or until I am satisfied. I finally leave the material alone until before the quiz on Friday when I do an intense overview of the questions and some of the material. I started this procedure only a few weeks ago and it has paid off.

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