By Dr. Wendy Duprey, Writing Studio Consultant
Along with the Writing Studio, Study Skills Tutoring is another great resource on campus to help writers cope with the stressful demands of writing. Located on the second floor of the library in the Academic Success Center, writers can schedule one-on-one appointments with a study skills tutor in order to understand and change their counterproductive behaviors while studying or writing, such as procrastination, lack of motivation, and poor time management.
Stephanie Sanchez, a Graduate Assistant and Study Skills Tutor in the Academic Success Center, highly recommends three evidence-based strategies that can help writers effectively plan their time, visually organize their ideas, and actively read for their assignments.
Planning: Schedule Intense Study (Writing) Sessions
When planning your time during the writing process, Sanchez recommends scheduling intense study (writing) sessions based on one hour blocks of time. For each hour, break up the writing assignment into smaller goals. By chunking the writing process in this way, Sanchez claims the assignment becomes less overwhelming and more manageable to accomplish.
Here is how she describes an intense study session:
- Set a specific and attainable goal (2-5 minutes). For example, if you have to read an article that is 20 pages long, set a realistic goal of reading 3-5 pages over the next 30 minutes.
- Work on accomplishing your goal (30-40 minutes). In the case of reading, actively engage in the process by taking notes, highlighting the text, or creating a concept map.
- Take a break (10 minutes). After working on the task, purposefully take a break to clear your mind.
- Review your progress (10 minutes). Finally, reflect on how well you understand the material; or, in the case of writing, review what you’ve written and assess your work from a reader’s perspective.
Organizing: Create a Concept Map
Concept mapping is a tool that can help writers organize their ideas visually, quickly, and holistically. As Sanchez notes, concept maps can be useful during any stage of the writing process for:
- Representing how ideas are connected
- Showing the whole picture
- Getting the creative process flowing
- Tapping into a deeper level of attention
- Saving time while brainstorming
- Improving memory and concentration
Reading: Engage in the Parrot Process
As shown in the image, the Parrot Process encourages active reading through the following method:
Sanchez points out that most people tend to focus on the reading part of the Parrot Process, hoping that they will retain the information. However, she emphasizes that an active reading process requires previewing and questioning your prior knowledge about the material before reading, along with being able to explain and organize what you read in a tangible way (flash cards, concept maps, outlines, notes).
Along with these three learning strategies recommended by Stephanie Sanchez, studying skills tutoring can help if you are having difficulties managing your time, keeping up with assignments, or passing exams. For more information, visit the Academic Success Center on the Second Floor of the Library or call 813-974-2713 to schedule an appointment with a study skills tutor.