Study Strategies & Tips

“Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” 

-Albert Einstein

Succeeding in college is about so much more than “being smart.”  To do well at Michigan State, effort is not merely a suggestion, but something that must turn into a way of life.  Kinesiology and Athletic Training are challenging majors, and this page is dedicated to helping our students become as successful as possible during their time at MSU.

So, how can you be successful?

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  1. Go to class
    1. This may seem like the most simple piece of advice, but showing up each and every day is the first thing that you can control.
  2. Use your resources
    1. Michigan State is a huge place with a plethora of resources.  Here are examples of very helpful resources that we often times recommend to our students:
      1. Learning Resource Center
        1. http://lrc.msu.edu/
      2. Writing Center
        1. http://writing.msu.edu/
      3. Math Learning Center
        1. https://www.math.msu.edu/mlc/
      4. Neighborhood Engagement Centers
        1. http://nssc.msu.edu/
      5. Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities
        1. https://www.rcpd.msu.edu/
      6. Counseling Center
        1. http://counseling.msu.edu/
  3. Stay ahead and avoid cramming
    1. Cramming for exams is not conducive to long-term memory formation.  Your brain simply isn’t engineered that way.  The following article explains this idea further:
      1. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140917-the-worst-way-to-learn
  4. Talk to your professors and TAs
    1. Your instructors are there to help.  Sure, standing in a 20-person line after the conclusion of a class session isn’t the best idea, but that is why instructors hold office hours.  Find your instructor’s office hours on the syllabus, or send them an e-mail to request an individual appointment.  Come well prepared with a list of questions pertaining to success in that particular course.
  5. Learning is more than memorizing
    1. Too often, we hear students talk about memorizing as an effective way to learn.  The problem with this line of thought is that it prevents students from processing, applying, and ultimately seeing the bigger picture.  In PSL250, the test question won’t read, “What are the four chambers of the heart?”  Instead, it may ask you to define how these chambers impact the cardiovascular system.
      1. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/when-memorization-gets-in-the-way-of-learning/279425/
  6. Get involved
    1. Research shows that the more students are involved in their collegiate experience, the better they perform in the classroom.  See the Get Involved portion of the website.
  7. Use your time wisely
    1. As busy as you will be, you will inevitably have down time.  If you have an hour and a half between classes, why not swing by the caf, grab a bite and review notes?  45 minutes?  Pull out your books and further prepare for the upcoming class discussion.  More time than that?  Instead of heading home, consider making better use of your time at the library.
  8. Get plenty of sleep
    1. There are countless studies that demonstrate that quality sleep improves cognitive function.  If you don’t believe me, hopefully this article from Harvard’s School of Medicine will help.
      1. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory
    2. While I don’t recommend banking on naps, short, 10-30 minute naps can bolster your brain and improve memory and alertness, if you have time between/after class.
  9. Form study groups
    1. As students, you are all in this together.  By bouncing ideas off each other, becoming a better team member, building your network, and sharing different perspectives, you all can grow as a group.  In addition, if you want to be an expert in something, teach it to someone else.
  10. Read your syllabi
    1. There is no excuse for being unaware of essential information that has been provided to you. In addition, check your email daily.  Your professors, your advisors, the Registrar’s Office and others will contact you with critical information.  Sync your e-mail with your phone if you have the ability.

Below are study strategies compiled for a few of our required courses.

Success Strategies for KIN 173

Success Strategies for CEM 141

Success Strategies for PSL 250

Success Strategies for KIN 216