Maximize your study time!

"Generally speaking, the faculty at Purdue expects students to study from two to three hours outside of class for every contact hour (all hours you are in class or lab)." This is a quote from the Purdue website on How to Study at Purdue

If that seems unmanageable, and it does for a lot of students, then there are some ways to reduce the amount of study time by making the actual time spent doing that more productive. According to Jeff Karpicke, Associate Professor in Psychological Sciences, specializing in cognitive and learning research, self-testing is the best way to know if you really understand something. If you can explain the process or demonstrate the solving to a peer, then you have mastered the material. 

Self-testing is a major part of the Supplemental Instruction (SI) study sessions at Purdue. Student leaders who have done well in the subject matter for designated courses attend the lectures with the students and hold weekly study sessions for students enrolled in tough courses.  The leaders are trained to help students discover their learning potential by demonstrating and explaining the more difficult material to each other. Special effort is made to actively engage the students in activities that help them acquire the techniques for mastery. *Students who attend the sessions say, "One hour of SI is equal to two or three hours of trying to get it on your own."

SI sessions are held two or three times a week in locations all across campus. For the quickest link to find the times and locations, the BoilerGuide app is a free download: Scroll to Supplemental Instruction and click on that tab. The SI page on the Student Success website is also a quick way to see the SI-linked courses and the weekly schedule: Click on Schedule.

Our SI leader t-shirts say: "Student-led study groups . . . because we learn better together." Overall, students who attend the sessions regularly, eight or more times, usually earn a half to a whole letter grade higher than those who do not attend. 

*"Students who study in groups learn two and a half times more than those who study alone if the groups stay on task." John, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (1991). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4) Washington, DC: George Washington University.

Ethel Swartzendruber, Senior Assistant Director for Student Success and SI Coordinator
KRCH Leadership Center

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