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Dennis Congos

Top 12 Study Skills & Strategies Necessary for Academic Success

By Dennis Congos, University of Central Florida

A study at Texas A & M University involved contacting leaders in the field of learning strategies and asking them to rank the skills they felt were most necessary for high school students. The results can easily apply to incoming college freshman and high school students. The top 12 Study Skills and Strategies Necessary for Student Success (out of 56 total skills) from a 1989 Survey of 20 Experts in the Field (in order of importance) are listed below:

1. Notetaking
2. Goal Setting
3. Selecting ideas from texts and lectures
4. Time management
5. Problem solving
6. Concentration and attentional skills
7. Test preparation
8. Questioning skills
9. Inference skills
10. Self-directional processes
11. Verbal elaboration ability
12. Imaginal elaboration

Justification for teaching skills for learning

This information may be used for stronger justification for teaching skills for learning at the college level, such as in a credit bearing class. We teach students to write better in English, we teach students to think better in philosophy, we teach students to compute better in mathematics, we teach students to speak better in speech, and we teach students to problem solve in science, but there is such a puzzling reluctance in many quarters to teach to the skills for learning, which are indispensable for learning any college subject.

Preparation for college bound high school students

The information in this survey may also be used for better cooperation between high schools and colleges to better prepare incoming freshmen with the skills essential to college level learning. Colleagues are encouraged to approach high school administrators with this information and together establish means for helping college bound students acquire the skills necessary for college academic success.

Training for the job of learning in college

Most of my professional career has been spent talking to parents, students, teachers and administrators on the fact that we expect college students to learn but few receive training on how to do the job of learning in college. How many jobs are there in this world where people get no training ahead of time? Other than the reminder by parents at my orientation welcome speech where someone inevitably shouts “parenting,” there are not many other than learning. Yet, nearly all parents place students in a situation where what they can learn in college will affect them the rest of their lives but incoming students receive little or no training in the skill essential to doing the job of learning at the college level.

Hopefully, the awareness of what leaders in learning strategies believe are most important skills for learning may be of use to those colleagues interested in doing more to prepare students for the challenges of college level learning.

The only citation I have is incomplete but this is as much as I have: From a dissertation done at Texas A & M University. I wish I had the complete citation so that I could read the entire study.

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