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Characteristics of a Successful Student Many students in high school do not know what it takes to be successful in the school environment. They understand good and bad grades in a general way, and they sense that they should attend classes, but that is where their knowledge begins and ends. Most teachers know what a good student is - and is not. For one thing, a good student is not necessarily the most intelligent individual in the class. The following is a list of some characteristics of good students. This list is a description of what a hard-working student does and what a teacher likes to see. By learning these characteristics, you may better understand the day-to-day and class-to-class behavior of successful students. The idea is to provide you with guidelines you can follow which will help you get down to the business of becoming a serious, successful student. 1. Successful students attend classes regularly. They are on time. They listen and train themselves to pay attention. If they miss a class, they feel obligated to let the teacher know why before class begins, if possible, and their excuses are legitimate and reasonable. They make sure they get all missed assignments (by contacting the teacher or another student), and understand specifically what was covered in class. Successful students take responsibility for themselves and their actions. [pic] 2. Successful students take advantage of extra credit opportunities when offered. They demonstrate that they care about their grades and are willing to work to improve them. They often do the optional (and frequently challenging) assignments that many students avoid. [pic] 3. Successful students are attentive in class. They don't talk, read, use their cell phone, or stare out windows. In other words, they are polite and respectful, even if they get a little bored. They also participate in class even if their attempts are a bit clumsy and difficult. They ask questions that the teacher knows many other students may also have. [pic] 4. Successful students see their teachers before or after class or during their prep about grades, comments on their papers, and upcoming tests. Successful students end up talking to their teacher outside of class at least once during the semester. They'll go out of their way to find the teacher and engage in meaningful conversation. These students demonstrate to the teacher that they are active participants in the learning process and that they take the job of being a student seriously. [pic] 5. Successful students turn in assignments that look neat and sharp. They take the time to produce a final product that looks good, and reflects of a care and pride in their work. Successful students seem driven to complete their assignments. All work and assignments are turned in, even if some of their responses are not brilliant. [pic]

Motivation and Goal Setting

Visualize Success


You are your own best motivator. Your motivation must come from within yourself. Others may try to encourage you, but you are the only one who can attain what you desire. You must convince yourself - you can!

Success comes in cans!

Throughout your school years you will have to make many choices; view these choices as opportunities. Don't allow yourself to be burden with problems; they are really only challenges. Train yourself from the start to put your time and energy into finding solutions to your challenges, not in complaining. You must adjust your attitude and retrain your thought process. Start with surrounding yourself with positive people. They will encourage and nurture you. Stay away from negative people because they will discourage you and sabotage your dreams and goals. You need to hold yourself accountable. Write a letter of intent to yourself, date it, and sign it. Put this letter some place where you will see it everyday. Go to a friend or fellow student and make a commitment to each other. It helps to be accountable to someone else. If you develop your dreams into goals, and your goals into realities, then your realities will become your successes!

Goal Setting

Goals provide direction in your life and nurture your motivation

Goals are like road maps; they get you from one point to another. Goals provide the direction you need to reach your destination, the motivation to sustain you on your trip, and a way to measure your progress. The best way to get results is to plan for the future, but live one day at a time. Think about the future. How do you define success? What makes you happy? What drives you? What makes you get out of bed in the morning? Does success mean family, money, security, prestige, to help others, improve the environment, solve problems, a career, a degree? Whatever you decide, the key is to strengthen your will to succeed. To succeed, strengthen your will - to strengthen your will, succeed. This sounds circular, and it is - it is a positive feedback loop. To get this positive feedback loop started, develop a long-term plan. Where do you want to be 3-5 years from now? What do you want to be doing? Where do you want to live? What kind of vacations do you want to take? What is your house going to look like? What kind of car will you be driving? What color will the car be? Get very specific with your dreams and your plans. If your dreams are specific, your goals will be specific. Never ask yourself the questions - "What if", or "What would happen if". Make the questions a positive affirmation of what you will do! Prioritize your goals - what is the most important goal for you and what is the first thing you need to do to start towards that goal? Then plan backwards in time and outline the major steps it will take for you to arrive at that future destination. Once you have the big picture, break your outline into individual, short-term goals. Short -term goals should range from daily goals to one-year goals, midterm goals should range from 2-3 years, and long term goals are up to 5 years. Make your list very specific and realistic. You want to be successful in reaching your goals, but at the same time, these goals should challenge you. At the end of each day reward yourself and strengthen your resolve for tomorrow.

Some Suggested Goals:

• Be a Life Long Learner • We live in exciting and interesting times. We live at the crossroads of revolutions in electronic technology, genetic engineering, and international economics. The only certainty in life is change, opportunity for some, and future shock for others. Education is the door to opportunity. Your most valuable asset and skill in life as well as in the market place is your ability to learn and to apply this knowledge. • Clarify Educational Plans • If you have declared a major, great! If not, do not worry - it is okay. Many students are unsure of their major until they are about halfway through college. If you don't know what you want to major in, then research various careers, talk to counselors, visit businesses, and/or interview people already working in the fields you are interested in. • Become an Efficient, Successful Student • No matter what your goals are, work at maximum efficiency. Be a student who works smarter as well as harder.

No one can teach you how to think, you must motivate yourself to learn how to learn!

Memory and Learning Styles

The main reason we forget something is because we never really learned it in the first place.


A good memory is something we must work towards. Things are forgotten because they never really made a strong impression on us in the first place. The reasons for this lack of impression are as varied as from one person to the next. Nevertheless, the most common reasons are: • you are thinking about something else - you are not listening; • you do not think the idea was important; • you do not take or have the time to learn or store the material properly. To remember information, you need to know that your memory operates on four levels of efficiency. Your ability to remember something increases from level 1 to level 4 depending on what you do with the information. • Level 1:Hear or read the material once (not reliable for a test). • Level 2:Read the information and review it once or twice (this is cramming - you will forget most of what you have read). • Level 3: Read the information, review the material several times, write it down, and test yourself over the next two days (expect fairly good recall). • Level 4: Repeat and frequently write down the information over a period of 3-6 days (gives you excellent retention). If you do not review what you have learned, you will forget 70% within an hour and 84% within 48 hours. One of the best forms of review is teaching or telling someone else about the information using your own words. This is where study groups become invaluable.

Learning Styles

People learn and memorize information using a variety of "learning styles." Learning styles are how you concentrate, process and remember new and difficult information. You may remember information more easily through any combination of the following styles: • hearing • seeing • reading • writing • illustration • first hand experience Be aware of your best styles. Most information presented to you in college is by lecture. Reading textbooks and other related material, as well as doing all the assignments are the other parts of the learning equation. It is beneficial for you to combine learning styles to be successful.

When you are studying:

• Say the information; • Write it down; • Read it over and over; • Put it into a form or format that will make sense to you; • Draw a diagram; • Relate the information to what you already know; • Picture and try to experience what you are learning; • Teach the information to someone else.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Readers
1. Effective readers have adaptable reading strategies that match different reading tasks.
The demands of the reading process change depending upon the type of reading you do. Sometimes, reading is effortless, maybe even "fun"-- perhaps when you read a magazine article on your favorite hobby, a spell-binding mystery novel, or other such "recreational" reading material. At the other end of the spectrum, reading is real work: legal contracts, apartment leases, insurance policies--and some textbooks.
Effective readers are aware enough of their own interests, motivations, and abilities to realize that they can’t take the same approach to reading a difficult textbook that they would use for reading a magazine article or newspaper. An awareness of the reading task that lies ahead helps effective readers take steps to make their reading as efficient as possible, which leads us to Effective Habit 2...
2. Effective readers control time, place, and atmosphere to suit the type of reading task they face.
You may be able to read your favorite magazine or an exciting novel while you are lounging in an easy chair or lying on your bed. But the same settings can be disastrous if you are trying to read a tough chapter in your chemistry textbook. When you have a reading assignment that will be demanding of your time and energy, go to the library or move from the living room to the kitchen table. Sit in a well-lit area, at a desk or table and in an upright chair. In other words, pick a working setting to do your reading work, not a recreational or casual setting.
The same is true for controlling time. Do as much of your reading as you can during daylight hours. One researcher on a college campus concluded that students working an hour during the daytime hours get as much done as students working an hour and a half during the evening. Also, pay attention to sequencing your reading assignments. If you need to do reading in three different textbooks, start with the toughest and finish with the easiest. Don’t put off the hardest reading to the time when you are likely to be most fatigued.
As to atmosphere, difficult reading needs to be done in environments that are relatively quiet and as free from distracting goings-on as possible. Don’t kid yourself about being able to read better if a radio or TV is on. If you are struggling to read difficult text assignment, you are already having to fight the tendency to "tune out" the material. It is too easy to "tune-into" the radio or TV and sabotage the reading process.
3. Effective readers spend some time previewing the material before they begin reading it.
If you follow no other advise in this tutorial, follow this one: always preview your reading material. Reading a chapter "cold" is something like walking into a darkened room. You have to feel your way around, get your bearings, and struggle with obstacles you bump into. If you stood in the doorway, turned on the lights for just a few seconds, and then entered the room, you would have a much less difficult time.
Previewing a chapter has the same effect as turning on the lights briefly in a room. So much of your reading efficiency is based on being able to predict where the material is headed, in seeing its overall structure, and in using dozens of other clues to begin the process of relating the prior knowledge you have on the subject to what you are about to read. By spending 5 to 10 minutes in a methodical preview of the chapter, you will be able to do the actual reading with greater comprehension and at a faster reading rate. You won’t experience the slow reading that takes place at the beginning of the chapter as you try to figure out where the material is going. You won’t have the same kind of stops and starts, digressions, and re-readings that often occur when you start reading cold.
Previewing should focus on several elements that are common to almost all textbook chapters: • Chapter title: This should be a concise statement of the topic and sometimes hints at the perspective the author is taking on it. This chapter title from an American history text indicates the focus of the chapter. When you note the title, your mind begins to make a quick inventory of what you already know about the beginnings of the labor movement in this country.
• Outlines, objectives, or formal introductions: Almost all chapters will have at least one of these elements at the beginning. They can give you a quick "skeleton" of the chapter’s structure and content. This outline from a government textbook introduces the chapter's main headings and subheadings.
• Summaries or conclusions: Skim through these; the author almost always gives hints at what he feels are the most important ideas in the chapter.
• Headings and subheadings: Most chapters will have a system of headings and subheadings that is used consistently throughout the book. In the example below, the chapter's main division headings are in a large standard font. A little further down, a subheading in an italicized smaller print. As you page through the chapter, make a mental note of how many main divisions there are, and skim through the subheadings to get a sense of the more specific topics to be covered.
• Pictures, graphs, and tables: Take a quick peak at these visual aids to develop a little better sense of the topics covered. This illustration from a psychology text comes from a chapter on memory. Such illustrations, and the printed captions that explain them, can give you important clues to chapter content.
• End of chapter questions: These also give you a hint of what the author thinks is important in the chapter. Such questions are especially helpful to read before you tackle literature assignments. In this example, which comes at the end of Stephen Crane's short story "The Open Boat," the editor's first question refers to Crane's view that nature is "indifferent" to man. Reading that questions before you begin the short story gives you valuable insight that should result in a better overall understanding of the story's theme.
4. Effective readers know their limitations of concentration and divide chapters into manageable groupings.
It is a rare person indeed who can concentrate fully on a tough reading assignment for the 45 minutes or an hour that is required to read it. As you preview the chapter, note its overall length, and choose a couple of stopping points--ideally where the chapter moves from one main point to another--and put a post-it note or book mark at that point. Try to break up the reading into 15-20 minute blocks. When you reach a stopping point, take a few minutes break, get up and stretch, or find some other brief diversion to let your mind relax. Then go back and read the next block. Your overall comprehension will be much better.
5. Effective readers improve their comprehension by trying to read faster.
That’s right--trying to read faster can actually lead to better comprehension. We often fall into patterns of mental activity that are well below our peak ability. Let’s illustrate this point with an analogy.
Would you be a good driver if you puttered down a major highway at 50 miles an hour? Probably not, because at that speed you don’t have to focus much on the act of driving itself. Instead, the mind focuses on the passing scenery, on finding a better radio station, or perhaps on conversations with passengers. Driving is only a part of what your mind is focused on at that time. But what if you really had to get somewhere in a hurry? Now you are driving down that same road at, or maybe even a little above, the legal speed limit of 70 miles an hour. Chances are, both hands are on the wheel, your senses are sharp, and you frequently check your mirror for possible hazards. The radio gets turned down, and your mind is almost completely focused on driving.
The same phenomenon occurs with our reading. If we read at a lazy, habitual pace, our mind isn’t challenged, and it is easier for it to drift away from the task of reading and focus instead on what’s going on around us or on some nagging thought that keeps asserting itself on our attention. If, on the other hand, we consciously try to increase our rate to the point that our mind stays focused on reading, we should be doing a better job and doing it much more efficiently.
The key is not to make reading a frenzied activity, just a focused one. By consciously trying to read perhaps 10%-20% faster, the task becomes challenging enough to demand our mind’s full attention. And it has the benefit of helping us finish the task just that much faster.
A quick warning: this strategy will work with much of the reading that you have to do, but not all of it. It won’t work and shouldn’t be used when you are reading highly technical material or material that you have little experience with. Such reading is already demanding enough to require your brain to stay focused, and you won’t gain anything by picking up the pace of reading.
6. Effective readers interact with the text by highlighting important information.
Highlighting important details in the text is a good idea for a couple of reasons. The most obvious and practical reason is that it helps us distill the information down into its most important ideas and leaves us with material that we can review quickly and efficiently. But the second reason is that highlighting makes us a better reader and improves our comprehension. Even if we never look at the highlighted material again, we should remember it better. Highlighting forces us to think actively and make critical judgments. It keeps us from being passive readers, like those times when our brain goes on auto-pilot, our eyes keep moving across the page, but our mental focus is directed at that last piece of apple pie in the fridge. The highlighter keeps us focused on the task at hand.
One error students make is in highlighting too much of the material. If you look at some students' books, half of the page or more is highlighted. Below is a page from a book that illustrates that the student highlighted too much of the material.
A good goal to shoot for is to limit yourself to marking 10-15% of the material. This makes you be especially discriminating as you evaluate the material. And the nice thing about it is that if it took you an hour to read the chapter, you should be able to review its important (highlighted) points in just 6 to 9 minutes if you were able to limit highlighting to 10-15%. The example below indicates that the student was more selective in highlighting, picking only the key thoughts from a page so the material could be reviewed quickly and effectively.
7. Effective textbook readers use recitation to reinforce what they have just read.
Many readers are so relieved when they finish the last page of a grueling chapter that they immediately close the book and go on to more pleasant activities. But investing just five more minutes in a process called recitation can save them time and effort later on.
Recitation, as the term is used here, describes the process of summarizing aloud the key points you just read in the chapter. Newly acquired information is fragile; if we aren’t careful, it can melt away as easily as an ice cube in summer heat. Recitation is a powerful tool that can help us move the information into a category of memory that is much more permanent. (For more information on memory and how it works, you can follow this link to Memory Management)
We handle this step by turning back to the first page of the chapter and reciting from memory the key ideas we just read. It is important that you do this process aloud, because it forces you to take the abstract thoughts in your brain and translate them into your own words. This translation process is important in helping you "stake a claim" to the information. As you move through the chapter and note the highlighted sections, just "talk your way" through the material a page a time. This act of reinforcing the information and expressing it in your own words will increase the likelihood that you will remember it and ensures that your review before a test is productive.
Back to LAC study skills help page

|1. ...ACCEPT SELF-RESPONSIBILITY, seeing themselves as the primary |1. ...see themselves as Victims, believing that what happens to them |
|cause of their outcomes and experiences. |is determined primarily by external forces such as fate, luck, and |
| |powerful others. |
|2. ......DISCOVER SELF-MOTIVATION, finding purpose in their lives by |2. ...have difficulty sustaining motivation, often feeling depressed, |
|discovering personally meaningful goals and dreams. |frustrated, and/or resentful about a lack of direction in their lives.|
|3. ...MASTER SELF-MANAGEMENT, consistently planning and taking |3. ...seldom identify specific actions needed to accomplish a desired |
|purposeful actions in pursuit of their goals and dreams. |outcome. And when they do, they tend to procrastinate. |
|4. ...EMPLOY INTERDEPENDENCE, building mutually supportive |4. ...are solitary, seldom requesting, even rejecting offers of |
|relationships that help them achieve their goals and dreams (while |assistance from those who could help. |
|helping others to do the same). | |
|5. ...GAIN SELF-AWARENESS, consciously employing behaviors, beliefs, |5. ...make important choices unconsciously, being directed by |
|and attitudes that keep them on course. |self-sabotaging habits and outdated life scripts. |
|6. ...ADOPT LIFE-LONG LEARNING, finding valuable lessons and wisdom in|6. ...resist learning new ideas and skills, viewing learning as |
|nearly every experience they have. |fearful or boring rather than as mental play. |
|7. ...DEVELOP EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, effectively managing their |7. at the mercy of strong emotions such as anger, depression, |
|emotions in support of their goals and dreams. |anxiety, or a need for instant gratification. |
|8. ...BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES, seeing themselves capable, lovable, and |8. ...doubt their competence and personal value, feeling inadequate to|
|unconditionally worthy as human beings. |create their desired outcomes and experiences |

|13 How to Identify your Best Learning Styles |
|[pic]Key Point |
|[pic]To be more effective, determine your best learning styles. |

|Know Thyself. |
|[pic] |
|[pic]I hear and I forget. |
|[pic]I see and I remember. |
|[pic]I do and I understand. |
|[pic]Old Chinese Proverb |
|[pic] |
|People learn differently. Some prefer using pictures. Others like working in groups. How do you learn best? |
|Here are the three major factors making up your learning style. |
|The three senses - auditory, visual and kinesthetics |
|The two reasoning types - deductive and inductive |
|The two environments - intrapersonal and interpersonal |
|Check these factors as they apply to different subjects to discover your learning preferences. |
| |
|The Three Senses |
|[pic] |
|[pic]Auditory - listening |
|( ) - I prefer to follow verbal instructions rather than written ones. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I find it comfortable to add spoken numbers mentally. |
|[pic]Visual - seeing, reading and visualizing |
|( ) - I score high on tests that depend on reading comprehension. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I can read formulas and understand them. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I prefer maps to verbal directions when I am trying to find a place. |
|[pic]Kinesthetics - moving, touching, writing and doing. |
|( ) - When I write things down, it clarifies my thoughts. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I have to manipulate formulas in order to understand them. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I like to draw pictures. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I am good at using my hands. I enjoy lab classes. |
|The Two Reasoning Types |
|[pic] |
|[pic]Deductive reasoning |
|( ) - I like to look at the big picture first, then get the details. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - When learning a new game, I like to know all the rules before playing. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - In an argument, I state my premises first, then draw conclusions. |
|[pic]Inductive reasoning |
|( ) - I like to see some examples when first learning a new subject, before developing an overview. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I prefer to learn the rules of a new game "as we go along". |
|The Two Learning Environments |
|[pic] |
|[pic]Intrapersonal - working alone. |
|( ) - When solving word problems, I have to figure it out for myself. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - Doing school work with a group often wastes a lot of time. |
|[pic]Interpersonal - working with others. |
|( ) - Before making a decision, I usually discuss it with my family or friends. |
|[pic] |
|( ) - I like to do my homework with others. |
|What Are You Best At? |
|[pic] |
|Ideally, we are good with each learning style. However, what we do best can depend on our mood, the subject |
|matter, our friends and the teacher. Our goal is to monitor our learning effectiveness and to adjust our |
|learning styles for maximum advantage. |

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