Now that summer is over, you find yourself staring at a full-time load of classes. The pressure’s on. Don’t worry! The ACU Library has put together a Pathfinder on effective study strategies to connect you with resources that can save you time and stress. This Pathfinder features books, eBooks, websites, and handouts on time management, textbook reading, test preparation, test anxiety, and more. Learn how to learn with the “Improve Your Memory” handout. Get more out of your study time with the “Time Management Tips for Study” handout. With better study strategies, you can succeed in college and stay sane. Keep reading for a taste of what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t already, you’ll soon discover that college reading is tough stuff. Textbooks may be a cure for insomnia, but they can facilitate learning, too, if you use them properly. One common strategy for textbook reading is SQ4R, shorthand for Survey, Question, Read, Write, Recite, Review. Follow these steps to get more from reading textbooks (and other things):

1. Survey: Take about ten minutes to glance through the chapter. Start at the beginning and read the introduction and learning objectives. Then go through the chapter and look at headings, subheadings, pictures and captions, special boxes, and end-of-chapter summaries. Read the first sentence of most paragraphs as you do this. After this survey, your brain will be more ready to learn, since you’ll know where the chapter is going. Survey reading is like looking at a map before going on a road trip.
2. Question: Write down some questions based on what you saw during the survey reading. Turn learning objectives, headings, and subheadings into questions. These questions tell you what to look for as you read; and when you keep them in mind, you’ll be more focused and attentive to what you’re reading. This step is like planning stops for a road trip.
3. Read: Actively read the chapter with the learning objectives and your questions in mind. Answer those questions. This reading is like taking that road trip.
4. wRite: Write down what you learn as you read. Take notes in a notebook or in the margins of the book (only if you own it). Write summaries, your reactions, and new questions. This step is like journaling about a road trip to remember it better.
5. Recite: Read important information out loud, including what you’ve written. This gets more of the brain involved, achieving multisensory learning as you see, speak, and hear the information. Even talk with someone else about what you’ve read. Reciting is like talking about your road trip.
6. Review: Reread the chapter or at least look through it again. Revisit your questions and notes. Relive your road trip.

Finally, buy or rent all required textbooks and get them early, before the first day of class. Textbooks can be expensive, but it’s more expensive to retake a class because you didn’t have your own copy of the textbook, a vital learning tool. Without the textbook, you’ll face extra stress and get less out of your education. Remember: you’re at ACU not just to earn a degree, but to learn how to transform culture with truth. Textbooks help you do that.

For more Pathfinders, go to the ACU Library’s website and click on the “Start your research with a Pathfinder!” link.