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I truly want my students to succeed. However, success in college is not automatic or easy. It takes a lot of effort. In order to help in the difficult task of college education, I have assembled a few helpful hints to make your study more efficient and profitable.

Below you will find a number of sections dealing with various aspects of study and college life.
Click each label to view that section. Please feel free to explore and use these suggestions.

I hope and pray that you would not just survive, but thrive - growing in every way and fulfilling your God given destiny with excellence and all the diligence such a high calling deserves.

College is not High School or Summer Camp

No matter what your expectations for College are, most students find the coursework more difficult than they expected. We expect and require a lot from College students because we know you have a high calling, not a mediocre calling

It is also a very common experience that the excitement wears off. When the honeymoon period of new friends and living away from home is over, you will still have textbooks to read and assignments to write. And they are due whether you feel like doing them or not.

It seems to often be God's manner to put us in difficult situations, not to crush us, but to grow us. We grow when we are tested and stretched- when we meet resistance. No pain, no gain. If it were easy, everyone would do it. You need to be honest with yourself that it may get difficult. You also need to decide in advance that you will rise to the challenge and learn discipline and character.

You must make devotion and study a priority

First of all, they are a priority! Growing in discipleship and academics is [or should be] the reason you are here. They are very near to the heart of God for your time here. God calls us to a life of discipline and purpose many times in Scripture. Our love for Him should be shown in our obedience to Him in this area of our lives.

Discipline doesn't come easy or naturally. Just as no one becomes a great athlete or artist without putting in hours of training, being a disciple takes work. You cannot expect to get all God has for you and all that the classes offer without actively taking hold of it. You cannot study only when you feel like it because you will not feel like it often enough. You cannot pray only when it is convenient, because it is not convenient enough. You cannot be disciplined only when there is nothing better to do because there is always something else to do. You have to make the time to do what is right and what is right does not always feel right.

Your flesh is fighting against your success in discipline. You need to recognize and overcome your fallen tendency to take the easy way. The way of discipline is not attractive to our sinful nature and it always fights and whines against discipline. It takes an act of the will to tell our flesh to shut up so that we can do what is right no matter what.

Not only is our human nature against discipline, but we have an active enemy fighting against us. We need to recognize that our enemy does not want us to fulfill God's purposes and is constantly, actively fighting against us. We must realize that we are in a war and always be active as well.

Before it seems like we need to do it all ourselves, let us remember that true victory comes from God alone. We cannot do it by ourselves. We cannot overcome either our sinful nature or the enemy of our souls in our own strength. Only as we rely on the Lord and fight in His strength do we find discipline and victory.

But that does not mean that we have no part. Discipline is a partnership- where we do our part with all of our might and God does His part. Phil. 2:12-13 says- "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Because it is God who is working in you both to will and to do."

Think about the future- delayed gratification- hope and faith

Discipline is really about hope and faith. Just as an athlete goes through painful workouts, not for the workout itself, but looking forward to the benefit the workout will give when it comes to gametime, so also discipline is not so much for your time at College as it is an investment in God's present and future calling.

Discipline is not about good grades or pleasing teachers. It is about becoming a person of discipline and character. You are right now becoming the person you will be forever. What kind of person are you becoming?

We need to break away from the tyranny of the urgent and enticing, and use our time and energy according to what is important in terms of God's eternal perspective.

We need to trust in delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is putting off the reward until later- trusting that God will indeed reward as He has promised. It is immediately rewarding to go watch a movie and hang out with friends. It is not immediately rewarding to study and work on a term paper. However, in making that decision, you need to take into consideration the long term effects of the decision.

If you study consistently over the whole term, you will learn more and get better grades than if you cram overnight. Ultimately, the first option is both easier and more rewarding. All it takes is the foresight to get ahead of your coursework instead of wasting your life on things that are not fun or profitable.

That does not mean that you should not have friends or fun (see the section on balancing school and life). It just means that a disciplined person will give the time to friends that should be given to friends, the time to study that should be given to study, and the time to God that should be given to God. There are a million things that will tempt you to go against your priorities for the short term reward, but you must conquer them for the sake of the long term reward.

Ultimately, discipline is about faith. There are many Scriptures about the need for discipline and the fact that God will ultimately reward a disciplined person. We need to ask ourselves, "Is God trustworthy?", "Can I depend on God to follow through with His promises- bringing the reward in the right time?" If we say yes, then we should live lives of discipline, trusting God that it is the best and most rewarding choice.

Scriptures on The need and benefit of discipline
Psa. 90:12 -
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Prov. 1:5 -
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance
Prov. 2:1-6 -
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Prov. 4:1-27 -
Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother,
he taught me and said, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor."
Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.
I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.
Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.
For they cannot sleep till they do evil; they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall.
They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Prov. 5:11-14 -
At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.
You will say, "How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!
I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors.
I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly."
Prov. 8:4-11 -
"To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding.
Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge.
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Prov. 10:4 -
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
Prov. 12:1 -
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
Prov. 12:11 -
He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.
Prov. 12:14 -
From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
Prov. 12:24 -
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.
Prov. 13:4 -
The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Prov. 13:14 -
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
Prov. 14:23 -
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Prov. 15:19 -
The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.
Prov. 16:20 -
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
Prov. 18:9 -
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Prov. 19:5 -
He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.
Prov. 19:20 -
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
Prov. 21:5 -
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
Prov. 21:25 -
The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.
Prov. 22:29 -
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
Prov. 23:12 -
Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
Prov. 23:23 -
Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.
Prov. 24:13 -
Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Prov. 24:33-4 -
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--
and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
I Cor. 9:24-27 -
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Eph 5:15-16 -
Be very careful, then, how you live-- not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
I Tim. 4:8 -
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
I Tim. 4:12-16 -
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
2 Tim. 2:3-7 -
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-- he wants to please his commanding officer.
Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.
The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
2 Tim. 2:15 -
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Heb 6:11-12 -
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
There is a time for everything

Everyone has 24 hours each day-

A wise person will make the most of the time given to them.

Categories of Activities

There are a few categories of activities that you must do with your time.

Make sure you plan time for all of these things.

Here are a few categories of things to keep in mind.

Subsistence- eating, sleeping, laundry, devotions [note: devotions are subsistence], church, family time

Education- class time, study time, research and writing, reading time, chapel, small group

Work- student ministry, volunteer work, employment hours

Leisure and rest- SABBATH- friends, TV, going out, etc.


You can't do everything.

Don't expect that you can work 40 hours a week, take 20 credits, have family time, do student ministry and have an active social life.

Something has to be cut back.

Keep in mind that you are investing a few years of your life at College.

You may have to make sacrifices in one area to succeed in another.

Please be honest with yourself and seriously pray through your priorities.

It is better to get through more slowly and sanely, than to kill yourself in the process and not get the most out of your College experience.

Remember to take a Sabbath

Everyone needs rest.

God commands rest.

If you take time away from school and work, time to rest and honor God, your time spent working will be more productive!

Make study a priority

A good approach is to treat school as a job

Plan to spend 30-40 hours per week in school related activities

Don't fit school where it is convenient, but as a given priority block

The standard expectation is approx. 2 hours out of class work for every class hour

Plan ahead

Making a schedule and sticking to it is an invaluable aid to discipline and success

The old saying states- "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Plot a general weekly schedule at the beginning of each term.

Plot out a schedule each week in advance-adjusting for items specific for each week

Include due dates in your schedule

At the beginning of each term, enter due dates for all assignments in the class syllabus into your schedule

Put reminders in your schedule to be preparing for major term assignments ahead of the due date

Involve prayer in the planning process

Let God plan your week

Make sure your planning priorities actually match God's priorities

Plan by Priority

As you begin your schedule, insert the given sustinance activities, such as eating, sleeping, family, devotions, church, employment, etc.

Then plan School related activities

Actual class periods

Time for study and review of in-class material

Textbook reading and review

Preparation of weekly assignments

Preparation of long-term assignments

Include time to plan-

Sunday afternoon or everning is often a good time to plan the week ahead

Include social time, free time, and SABBATH!!!

Include long range projects

In your planning- schedule regular work on term projects

Steady work on projects is much more effective than 'cramming' overnight

Fill unused time with term projects

All time in your weekly schedule not used for regular class activities should be used to work ahead into the next week or on term projects.

Getting ahead is much better than getting behind

Make your plan as regular as possible

Regularity is an aid to being faithful to your schedule

If you get in the habit of studying every afternoon, it is easier to get motivated to study on a particular afternoon

A regular schedule also helps to not miss/forget a scheduled activity

Plan buffer time

Plan empty time in which you can put necessary activities

Fill that time with work you did not complete in the time you allotted

Fill that time working ahead in the classes

Fill that time by making up where your study time was interrupted

Be reasonable

Set a 2 hr. limit

Set a 2 hour limit on studying any one subject at a time

Any more and your effectiveness will be limited

break into small chunks

It is best to study in 10-15 minute sessions with 2-3 minute breaks in between

Plan breaks into your schedule

Plan small breaks because it is easier to return focus after a short break, than after a long break

Study the hardest subject first

This helps your motivation- to keep you from procrastinating that which is most difficult

This also helps your effectiveness by putting the difficult work at the time when you are most able to succeed

After you are somewhat fatigued, you can still be effective in easier subjects

Be realistic

You cannot schedule 22 hour days over a period of 10 weeks, you will die.

If necessary, lighten the load

take fewer classes

fewer work hours

fewer ministry commitments

fewer social commitments

you can't do everything

Be honest

Know yourself

Be honest about how long it takes for you to do the necessary activities

The average reading time is about 10 pages per hour

It is better to give yourself more time and have spare than to not have enough time.

Be honest about your ability to keep focus and follow your schedule

Be honest about your priorities and your discipline in following those priorities

Schedule honestly according to what you know about yourself, and your tasks

Keep a journal of the actual time taken to do assignments etc. This will help you to better plan for the next assignment

Guard your time

Planning is relatively easy, the difficulty comes in actually living out the plan

Guard against the 'Tyranny of the Urgent' which lets lower priority (but pressing) activities steal time from higher priority (but less urgent) activities

Guard against distractions

Be accountable to someone to follow through with your plan

Be flexible

In the real world, unforseen things happen- don't let it freak you out

borrow time, don't steal it

If you lose a study block due to an unforseen emergency, make up that time in your scheduled buffer time or adjust your schedule to make time

Always make up for time you have missed

Exercise the discipline to not let your time be stolen

Adjust your schedule on a weekly basis

Make your schedule reflect what you actually do with your time

A schedule that is only fantasy/wish is not helpful

Don't be discouraged if you don't match your schedule exacty- it is your servant, you are not your schedule's servant

A daily/weekly 'to do' list can be a helpful tool to complete needed activiies even when time is necessarily flexible.

Be faithful

This is the real issue

Determine in advance that you are going to follow your plan

Exercise discipline to follow the plan

Submit to accountability to help you follow through with your intentions

When you fail, don't give up, but work to catch up

Be prepared for class

Read the textbook material before the class-

you will be able to grasp the lecture much easier if you already have some familiarity with the material.

Be current with all assignments-

they are not busywork, but are meant to be learning activities

If you are behind on homework, you will not be as able to understand new material which builds on previous material

Have pencil, paper, etc. to enable you to take notes attentively

Listen Well

Keep physically and mentally alert and focussed

Use appropriate physical posture and the room location which enables you to learn best

Studies show that students who sit near the front of the room typically learn better

Ask clarifying questions when necessary

Take particular note of any study aids given by the instructor

The Cornell Method
image of Cornell Method
Note Taking Area:

Record lecture as fully and as meaningfully as possible.

Make note of instructor's organization of material (outlines etc.).

Make note of anything given special emphasis by insturcor.

Use special symbol to mark what the instructor emphasized.

Use shortand and abbreviations as much as possible.

Adapt your notetaking style to the teaching style of the instructor.

Cue Column:

As your're taking notes, keep cue column empty.

Soon after the lecture, reduce your notes to concise jottings as clues for Reciting, Reviewing, and Reflecting

Summaries Area:

Sum up each page of your notes in a sentence or two.

The 5 R's

During the lecture, record in the main column as many meaningful facts and ideas as you can.

Write legibly.


As soon after as possible, summarize these facts and ideas concisely in the cue column.

Summarizing clarifies meanings and relationship, reinforces continuity, and strengthens memory.


Cover the Note Taking Area, uning only your jottings in the Cue Colun, say over the facts and ideas of the lectures as fully as you can, not mechanically, but in your own words.

Then, verify what you have said.


Draw out opinions from your notes and use them as a starting point for your own reflections on the course and how it relates to your other courses.

Reflections will help prevent ideas from being inert and soon fogotten.


Spend 10 minutes every week in quick review of your notes, and you will retain most of what you have learned

Study Immediately after class

research shows that reviewing as soon as possible helps to cement the information in your brain.

Study in small chunks

distribute learning over time.

This is much more effective than 'cramming'

set a time limit, but be consistent

take small breaks to refresh yourself

Study in a consistent time and place

Don't underestimate the power of routine and habit.

Put them to work for you and not against.

Set aside a time and place that is dedicated to study.

This helps remove distractions.

Study in a good environment with good lighting

Find a place away from distractions

Have everything you need right there

Make sure your study place is comfortable, but not too comfortable!

Study according to your learning style

Know yourself and what works for you.

Use memory cues-
  • Different cues are appropriate for different subjects and are more or less helpful for different people
  • Mnemonic devices such as acronyms (words where each letter stands for a word e.g. NASA)
  • Pictures that symbolize aspects of the material to be learned (Walk Through the Bible has excellent examples of this)
  • Sound alike words or concepts e.g. the Greek word for 'heart' is kardia from which we get the word 'cardiologist' which is a heart doctor.
  • Old fashioned flash cards are helpful to learn and review many types of concepts
  • Reciting the material out loud 'vocalizing' is helpful for many people.
  • Recording yourself saying it and listening to the recording may be helpful to you.
  • Likewise, writing out the material and then reading it is the most helpful way to learn.

Practice restating or writing out to help rote memory.

More helpful for learning concepts is to restate it in your own words.

Ensure meaningfulness

Truly grasping and understanding something will help you to memorize it much easier than trying to just memorize it by rote.

Fit the material into your present frame of reference.

In other words, connect it to something you already know.

If it is a Bible story, is it before or after another story you already know?

How does it fit in the overall story of the Bible? etc.

Organize the material in a way that makes sense to you.

If you were teaching the class, how would you explain the material?

That is the organization you can use to help learn the material.

Review with a study buddy

Explaining the material to someone, and vice-versa is a great way to solidify learning.

It is also helpful to fill in the gaps and check the accuracy of your learning (not to mention motivation and mutual encouragement).

Review by recitation and explanation

Put it in words your little brother could understand.

if you cannot explain it, you haven't learned it well enough.

Think Application

"How can I use this material in my life?"

It is easy to think "I will never use this stuff." That is a guarantee that you will not learn it very well.

But if you force yourself to think about how the material is valuable (ask why the college is giving you this material) it helps you to understand and learn the material.

e.g. learning about CPR is not exciting unless you think about how you may be able to use it to save someones life. Then as you visualize an emergency situation and what you would do, you are strengthening your learning of CPR techniques.

Read with Purpose

Determine why you are reading the material and what you need to do with the information.

Do you need to master the material for an exam?

Do you need to get an overview of the book for a book report?

Are you researching for a paper and only need certain details?

Read at the speed and depth appropriate to fulfill your purpose in reading.

Don't read everything at the same speed.

Some material should be read carefully and in detail.

Other material needs to be just skimmed until you get to the part that is requires more detailed reading.

When doing research, learn to use the table of contents and index, so that you only read the parts that are necessary for your topic.


Start by surveying what you are about to read.

Look at major headings, charts and pictures.

Read the summary and study questions.

Read the first and last paragraph in the section or chapter.

Read the first sentence in each paragraph or section

Think about what you already know about the subject.

Comparing the reading with what you already know helps to cement it in long-term memory.


Read actively and ask questions of the material.

'What does the author mean by this?' (look up any words you don't know)

'What is the significance of this?'

'Why did the author include this material?'

'Is this statement true and accurate?'

'How does it compare to what I already know about this subject?',

'How does this material apply to my life and ministy?'


You learn the most when you 'argue' with an author-

mentally having a conversation about the material and clarifying it in your own mind.


Read with a pencil (or highlighter etc.) in hand.

Do not primarily mark just those things you find interesting or the things you agree with.

Instead, at the end of every paragraph, determine what was the main point of the paragraph and mark that information.

Mark any key facts (names, dates, etc.) with a different mark.

Mark any material on which you have questions to which you will later return.

Highlight any major structural markers ('In conclusion', 'First...,Second..., finally...', 'Therefore', etc.)

NOTE- Please do this only in books you own, not in borrowed books!! If a book is borrowed, you can do the same type of notation on your own paper.


At the end of each section, paragraph or chapter (depending on the material and on your own style/preference), summarize the section in your own words in the margin of the text.

Try to think like a teacher writing an exam and ask what you should know from the section.

Write any key words or facts you will want to later study.

Write yourself study questions from the material.

For large chapters or sections, writing an outline can sometimes be helpful.

If you can't recite the main point(s) after reading, read it again.


At the end of your study session, briefly go back over all of your summaries, notations and study questions.

This will help cement the material in your memory.

Regulary review the material, but don't reread the material, only read your notations and summaries.

Quiz yourself on the material from the study questions you have prepared and any study questions/guides given in the text or class.


When reading for a research paper or project, start with the Table of Contents and Indexes.

Don't read all of the material, just skim quickly, looking for material relevant to your topic.

When you find relevant material, read carefully, taking notes as you read.

Make sure you notate any bibliographic information for future use

General Tips

Your success on the test depends mostly on your sucess of studying throughout the term

Be well rested and not in a caffeine stupor

Relax, don't panic- God wil still love you at the end of the exam, no matter what the outcome

Read the directions CAREFULLY

Quickly look through the test and be familiar with the types of questions and about how much time you expect to answer each section

Plan your time

Answer the easiset questions first

Read the questions carefully and understand the questions

Don't rush

Check your work, make sure you answered everything

Unless there are points deducted for an incorrect answer, DON'T LEAVE ANY QUESTIONS BLANK. Any answer is better than no answer.

Tips for Essay Tests

Read the question carefully

Plan your time

Make a brief outline and brainstorm of pertinent information

Understand the question- i.e. "list..." requires a different type of answer than, "define..." or "explain...", etc.

Get to the point-

Include the fact(s) the instructor is looking for.

You usually don't need to restate the question or give a flowery introduction.

If you are trying to bluff or BS, the instructor will almost certainly know, and it will likely count against you

Be neat

Leave room to expand your answers

Read through and check your answer

Tips for Objective Tests

Answer every question

Watch the wording of the question

Watch for qualifyers on T/F tests- i.e. 'always', 'never', 'primarily', etc.

Watch for modifyers on T/F tests- i.e. 'most', 'only', 'first', etc.

Watch for multiple concepts on T/F tests- all parts must be true

On Multiple choice- eliminate answers you know are not correct

On matching- start with the items you are most sure of and then work to the more difficult items.

Gather Resources

Use the best resources, not just the most convenient;

learn to discern what is best quality and most helpful


search and find as many relevant resources as possible -

first is to find resources,

Later you will cut it down to the best resources to use

Use library searches, internet searches, and bibliographies from other resources and courses

books -

still the best resource

long term research and relevance

vetted (assessed and someone has decided it is worth investing in) and edited

periodicals -

most up to date, current,

invested in and edited,

but not yet proven

A/V -

long term,

varied quality,

vetted and invested in

Online/electronic -

be careful

varied quality

free often means low quality - you get what you pay for

often not edited, vetted or quality controlled

beware of spoof news sites like "the onion"

It is a sign of our times that the line between truth and falsehood is so blurred

but the average quality of on line resources is getting better all the time

there is a need to learn to differentiate the quality resource from the wacko and all in between


When reading for a research paper or project, start with the Table of Contents and Indexes.

get a taste for the resource and what it contains

Weed out

Quickly choose those resources that will be the most helpful

and weed out the rest.

don't waste your time with inferior resources,

choose the best don't just use the first resources you find, or the most convenient,

choose the best


Don't read all of the material at this time, just skim quickly,

looking for material relevant to your topic.

Weed out Again

Then weed again

which resources will be your main materials

and which will be only supplemental or not used at all

Read and Make Notes

Read at different speeds

Don't read all of the material slowly

just skim quickly, looking for material relevant to your topic.

When you find relevant material, read carefully, taking notes as you read.

Index card notes are helpful because of the ability to rearrange them later

or use a computer system that lets you rearrange notes easily, e.g. onenote or evernote

put one fact one place

don't put multiple facts in one place v

because that does not give you the ability to rearrange the facts later

Make sure you notate any bibliographic information for future use

with each fact note its source

and note full bibliographic information for each source

avoid plagiarism like a festering bucket of dog-snot

Organize and Write

brainstorm -

list the facts you have put into your brain, without looking at your notes at first

what you have learned in research

then review your notes if necessary to complete the brainstorm

outline from research-

Organize the list of what you have learned

put information into logical organization and categories

shuffle cards-

label your fact notes based on your outline categories

put your notes in order of outline-

Write topic sentences -

starting with thesis sentence of the entire paper

the thesis statement should match the outline

write topic sentences for each major section and then subsections

Fill in randomly -

write in whichever order you choose, filling in your outline

write from fact to fact,

using your organized notes

make sure to write appropriate transitions

typically write the intro and conclusion last

edit and rewrite -

this is an extremely important step

proofread your paper and make changes and corrections

don't shortcut this step

leave time for this step

have a friend help if you need it

Keep track of your time spent

A journal of how you spent your time over a week can be a valuable tool to help schedule next week.

Compare your actual time spent with your schedule

Were you faithful to your schedule or did you slack?

Did that reading take you as long as you expected?

What type of interruptions took place?

Be honest, realistic and reschedule according to priorities

Which classes need more study time? Less?

Is there anything that is being neglected?

if reading takes longer than expected, how can you find more time to read?

If it takes less, what will you do with the time?


Look at feedback on assignments and exams

The grade should tell you a lot.

Is that the grade you were shooting for?

Also look for any comments or instructions from the instructor that will help you do better the next time and cement the material from the assignment.

Clarify with instructor the expectation for the assignment

If you are unsure what to do, how to do it, or what standard you are supposed to meet, feel free to ask the instuctor.

However, before going to the instuctor, you should read (reread) the syllabus and assignment instructions carefully, because the answer is probably contained there.

Ask the instructor for tips to study the material

The instuctor has probably already learned the material and they may have valuable insight into how it can be mastered.

Again, pay close attention to study guides given by the instructor.

Adjust your schedule and study methods

According to material, instructor expectations, learning expectations, priorities, and learning style.

In essence, you are learning how to learn.

If something did not work to your expectations, tweak it until you are an expert student, able to learn anything.

Don't lose God in education

Take advantage of the College Chapels, ministry and discipleship opportunities, and mentoring/accountability structures.

Take time to interact with Jesus about every part of your life.

Specifically, invite the Lord to teach and lead you in the course material.

The Bible was written out of lives of prayer, worship, devotion and wisdom's wrestling with life and the Mighty Acts of God. It would be a tragedy and violation of the Bible if you treated Bible College as only an intellectual exercise.

I also hope that you learn to rely on Him for the strength to learn and grow and fulfill all of the expectations placed on you at College.

"Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God." Phillips Brooks.

It's about education and growth, not just grades

Remind yourself why you are here.

You are here to be grown toward the person God has called you to be.

Remind yourself how much you have accomplished in your time here- the challenges you have overcome, and the growth in grace.

It's about learning how to learn and becoming life long learners

It's about growing in grace and discipline

The degree at the end is just the beginning

Don't think that when you graduate, you can stop studying.

God has called you to be a life long learner.

At graduation is the time to start exploring the bibliogrphies to go further in what you've learned.

Graduation is the time to start exploring the subjects closest to your heart and passions, but with the same intensity and discipline as in school.

Don't sell your books or throw away your notes

They are an excellent resource for further study and review

You will be reminded of something from a class you want to refresh.

You should be able to go back to that material.

Don't ever give up - keep your eye on the prize

I know it is very difficult at times.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Remember that if God called you here, He has prepared you for everything that He wants you to do.

In those times where you feel like giving in, take a short break and pray.

Ask God for strength to make it.

Trust Him to provide, and you will be pleasantly surprised what God will accomplish through you.

God never fails.

He can turn every challenge, every hardship, every failure into something that forwards His Kingdom in your life and those around you.

You will never be at a place where God cannot rescue you.

You will never be at a place where God does not love you.

In the end, as you are faithful and obedient to God's calling, It will be so worth it.

Rom. 8:18 - "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

Don't just think of study skills as a nice idea, but act on them

Stop now and pray for help to be a better student

Before you go on to other activities- plan now how you are going to implement these suggestions

Act now while it is fresh in your memory- don't put it off