Studying tips to make the grade

college success donald foss
With three decades of experience, Donald J. Foss knows the techniques that work.

Expert advice on how to make college count.

Developmental psychologist Donald J. Foss has been studying the mental gymnastics of learning comprehension for over three decades. His latest book – “Your Complete Guide to College Success: How to Study Smart, Achieve Your Goals, and Enjoy Campus Life” – is an attempt to put accepted psychological research on learning into plain language for every college student. We asked him for his insight on learning styles, study habits and slogging through obstacles.

What’s the biggest misconception students have about studying?
If there’s one thing we know about studying, it’s that comprehension increases when you break it up over a long period of time. The best way to retain information is to study in small chunks, interwoven with other tasks. Yet, students are usually resistant to that idea. They don’t like continually warming up to the topic. Most people would rather learn in one long sitting.

When it comes to studying, are there different learning styles?
Yes. But I think that’s overemphasized. You hear a lot students say, ‘The material isn’t being presented in my learning style.’ And that may be true, but that’s not a very good predictor of how students do in any given class. It’s pretty clear there are some best practices that seem to work for just about every style of learning.

What makes a good study group?
If you can be honest with each other about how well you know the material, you’re putting yourself on better footing than most students. I find most students think they truly know the material as long as they can recognize the information. But that’s like just humming a tune when your job is to sing a song with lyrics and melody. If you can’t explain the material to each other, it’s better to find that out in the group than on exam day.

Making Freshman year L.A.S.T.

Foss points out that Thanksgiving break presents a crucial decision for many college freshmen. It is well documented that, nationwide, roughly ten percent do not return for the spring term. In his new book, “Your Complete Guide to College Success,” Foss has created a handy acronym – L.A.S.T. – highlighting the four primary obstacles to enduring the many traumas of freshman year.

Loneliness and isolation
When students were asked to write about their greatest fears, Foss found this came up more than half the time. Getting out of your comfort zone and taking interest in a campus group is a key antidote.

Alcohol abuse
It’s still the most prevalent drug on college campuses. Yet, Foss points out, on most campuses about forty percent of students don’t drink at all.

Studying
Foss suggests that the time a student puts into studying should triple from their senior year of high school to their freshman year of college. Study partners can be a great asset in navigating these new expectations.

Time management
Plotting out time for assignments on a calendar not only helps students complete the assignments, it also creates what Foss calls, “time urgency.” Basically, you realize your time for any given assignment is limited, and that causes you to naturally increase your focus.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

'A Brony Tale' documents men who are into…

Ashleigh Ball, a voice actress on "My Little Pony," speaks to us.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NBA

Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.

NHL

Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.