The Key to Academic Excellence: YOU!

Dr. Saundra Yancy McGuire, author of Teach Students How to Learn, describes metacognition as the process of thinking about your own thinking and being consciously aware of yourself as a problem solver. We all struggle with procrastination, and she suggests that to overcome our challenges with procrastination, we need to monitor, plan, and control our mental processing. She encourages students to ask themselves, “Am I understanding this material, or just memorizing it?”; then accurately judge your level of learning; and pay attention to knowing what you know and what you don’t know.

As students we often approach problems by wanting to memorize formulas and/or information as we prepare for exams.  However, to excel in our subjects it is important to solve problems without external aids and instead focus on understanding the concepts.

Strategies for academic excellence:

  • Your new homework strategy
    • Study information before looking at the problems/questions
    • Work example problems (without looking at the solutions) until you get the answer.
    • Check to see if answer is correct
    • If answer is not correct, figure out where mistake was made, without consulting solution
    • Work homework problems/answer questions as if taking a test.
  • A reading strategy that works: The SQ5R Method

Studying vs. Learning

You want to stay in a learning mode when you are taking in new information. Studying is about memorizing for a test, learning is application, (studying is short term, learning is long-term).

Framework for Understanding How We Learn

Effective Metacognitive Strategies

  • Always solve problems without looking at an example or solution
  • Memorize everything you’re told to memorize
  • Always ask why, how, and what if questions
  • Test understanding by giving Mini-lectures” on concepts
  • Spend time on every subject every day
  • Use the study cycle with focused study sessions
  • Attend tutoring sessions on a regular basis
  • Aim for 100% mastery, not 90%
By Koni Denham
Koni Denham Director of Student Success - SBS