“Dice, dollar bill, octopus.” These were three of 16 random words that lit up the projector screen in the Sanger Learning Center workshop space on Wednesday afternoon.
However, when the screen turned off a minute later, no one in the room could recall more than five — a result of SLC Outreach Assistant Angela Yu’s instructions for participants to count the vowels, not read the words.
“This happens a lot when we study,” finance junior Yu said. “We get really deep into the details, and we forget the overarching subject.”
Yu lead the Study Smarter, Not Harder workshop, which is one of five unique workshops the SLC is offering for free to students each semester.
The sessions are held on the third floor of Jester Center and are designed to help students rise to the challenge of understanding difficult college coursework, said SLC Learning Specialist Courtney Sviatko.
“A lot of students come to UT with study habits from high school that maybe need to be reassessed,” Sviatko said. “We are just trying to give them research-based best practices that we know will apply to any course they’re in.”
Yu explained the first step to understanding material is to preview what the class is going to be about.
The next step, Yu instructed, is going back over notes. She said after 24 hours, students lose 40 percent of knowledge from class, and after 48 hours, they lose 60 percent.
Finally, she recommends students memorize notes in a way that is relatable to them using output methods which require one to apply the information they have learned.
“Self-testing is a great method to quiz yourself, because there is another output method that you’re doing,” Yu said.
Rhetoric and writing freshman Gabrielle Ponds said she attended the workshop because she had recently studied for an economics test by looking over her notes and was not confident in her performance.
Ponds said she is going to try the self-testing method in the future and hopes others who are struggling with studying can find methods that work for them.
“Definitely seek out help,” Ponds said. “There’s so many resources, and whether you use them or not, your tuition is paying for them, so you might as well use them.”
Registration for future workshops is available on the SLC website.