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Helpful Tips for Successful Online Studying

To be successful with any undertaking, it is necessary to plan and prepare for it. Online courses, just like ground courses, can be mastered by students who utilize good planning and preparation strategies. These strategies can be organized into five categories: reading, test-taking, participating, communicating, and studying.

You can use your reading time most efficiently and effectively if you reread the text with different levels of intensity and speed, such as if you use the SQ3R method. Rozakis (2003) recommends that you first “survey” the pages to get a general understanding of the literature. She then recommends that, while reading through the material, you create a personal “question” out of each of the content headings regarding what you think the contents might be, and then search through the content for answers. You then “read” the material and compare it to your original understanding of the material. After reading the material, she proposes that you formulate in your own words a summary of what you have read and “recite” it out loud. Finally, she advises that you “review” the material and see if your summary of the material was correct and what influenced it (Rozakis, 2003, pp. 120-121).

As evidenced by the large number of test preparation books available at your local bookstores, there are many techniques and strategies that can be utilized to improve your score on a test. You can start your preparation for a test well before the test date. When possible, you can look at the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) for the test to get an idea of what to expect from the test. When preparing for a test, practice and review the basics of a topic first, as a test typically covers generalized knowledge of a topic more than its minute details. Avoid leaving all your pre-test review for the night before the test. Ensuring you get an adequate amount of sleep is critical for good performance on a test, or else your ability to think well during the test may be impaired by fatigue and exhaustion. Eating before the test will also help ensure you have enough energy to perform well, but eating too much or eating the wrong foods can reduce your performance. Remaining calm is imperative, as worry and anxiety will only make the test more difficult for you. When taking a test, answering the easy questions first and saving the harder ones for last will reduce your anxiety, will give you a better opportunity to finish the test in a timely manner, will help you get accustomed to the format of the test, and will possibly reveal helpful information for solving the more difficult problems. For multiple choice questions, you can eliminate any answers that are definitely wrong, and then evaluate the remaining answers. For online quizzes with questions that must be answered in a specified order and are submitted permanently, you will find it is a good practice to ensure you read everything properly, and to also reread the question and answer one final time before you submit it, as you will not have an opportunity to change your answer later.

Participation in course discussion is an integral part of online courses, and helps to build the interactive and collaborative class atmosphere among students that we typically ascribe to classes taken at a physical campus. Make sure to allocate time into your schedule for your daily postings, and acquaint yourself with the rubrics for participating. Make sure that you proofread your post, verify that your grammar and spelling are correct, copy and insert the post to which you are replying, and precede you post with your name as specified by the naming convention.

Besides the stipulated class participation we utilize several methods to communicate with each other in our online campus. The group discussion board enables communication between all students. The private feedback area works well for communicating with your instructors. The email function in Blackboard enables you to contact select classmates or instructors, which can be particularly useful when working on projects involving only a few students. Acquaint yourself with the advanced formatting and upload features of these means of communication, and make sure your communication reflects a calm, rational, and professional attitude.

There are several ways to increase the quality of your studying. A quiet place with few distractions makes it much easier for you to think clearly. Reading all the materials you are given ensures there will be no surprises when it is time for your tests. Finding a comfortable position to study reduces tension, but lying on your bed may tempt you to fall asleep. Occasionally taking breaks or exercising between periods of study can help rejuvenate your mind and assist you in keeping focused during the times you are studying. Taking notes helps solidify important information in your memory, and it sometimes gives you a better understanding of the topic by the opportunity it presents to restate the concepts in your own words. Highlighting or underlining key points can help you locate the important points in a text, but only do this if the materials belong to you.


Rozakis, L. (2003). Test Taking Strategies and Study Skills for the Utterly Confused (pp. 120-121). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional. Retrieved July 10, 2010, from NetLibrary database.

Stud"y, n.; pl. Studies. Etym: [oe. studie, l. studium, akin to Studere to study; possibly akin to gr. estudie, estude, f. étude. Cf. Etude, student, studio, study, v. i.]

1. A setting of the mind or thoughts upon a subject; hence, Application of mind to books, arts, or science, or to any subject, For the purpose of acquiring knowledge. Hammond . . . spent thirteen hours of the day in study. Bp. Fell. Study gives strength to the mind; conversation, grace. Sir w. Temple.

2. Mental occupation; absorbed or thoughtful attention; meditation; Contemplation. Just men they seemed, and all their study bent to worship god aright, And know his works. Milton.

3. Any particular branch of learning that is studied; any object of Attentive consideration. The holy scriptures, especially the new testament, are her daily Study. Law. The proper study of mankind is man. Pope.

4. A building or apartment devoted to study or to literary work. "his Cheery little study." Hawthorne.

5. (fine arts)

Defn: a representation or rendering of any object or scene intended, Not for exhibition as an original work of art, but for the Information, instruction, or assistance of the maker; as, a study of Heads or of hands for a figure picture.

6. (mus.)

Defn: a piece for special practice. See etude.

Study Stud"y, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Studied; p. pr. & vb. n. Studying.] Etym: [oe. studien, of. estudier, f. étudier. See study, n.]

1. To fix the mind closely upon a subject; to dwell upon anything in Thought; to muse; to ponder. Chaucer. I found a moral first, and then studied for a fable. Swift.

2. To apply the mind to books or learning. Shak.

3. To endeavor diligently; to be zealous. 1 thes. iv. 11.

Study Stud"y, v. t.

1. To apply the mind to; to read and examine for the purpose of Learning and understanding; as, to study law or theology; to study Languages.

2. To consider attentively; to examine closely; as, to study the work Of nature. Study thyself; what rank or what degree the wise creator has ordained For thee. Dryden.

3. To form or arrange by previous thought; to con over, as in Committing to memory; as, to study a speech.

4. To make an object of study; to aim at sedulously; to devote one's Thoughts to; as, to study the welfare of others; to study variety in Composition. For their heart studieth destruction. Prov. xxiv. 2.

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