Academic Skills- Key for CBE

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Continuing in our twelve-part blog series designed to help students know if enrolling in a Competency Based Education (CBE) program is a good decision for them, today we visit “Academic Skills”.

The twelve factors that will be explored are experience, motivation, availability of time, support, CBE program knowledge, educational background, technology skills, financial assistance, reflective attributes, action attributes, academic skills, and resource management.

Academic Skills – Part 11 of A Dozen Things To Think About Before Starting A CBE Program

If someone asked you, “Did you study hard for the exam?”  What would be the best answer?  Surprisingly the best answer is “No.”  Instead of studying “hard” for your exams, study “smart.”

Because students in CBE program are often studying independently without the direct support from the faculty member or other students, it is really important they they are efficient and effective with their study techniques.

So what are some tips or techniques that a CBE student can use to make the best use of their study time?

  1. Manage your time – We all have the same 24 hours in a day but how do some persons seem to be so much more effective? Pick one of these time management tips and try it this week.
    1. Keep an updated calendar and to-do list.
    2. At the end of each day look at what is coming up tomorrow.
    3. Start with hard tasks first then do easier tasks
    4. Break large projects down into smaller chunks
    5. Get up early – Yes, it is hard, but you can be super productive with no distractions.
    6. Stay focused on your long term goals.
  2. Don’t make excuses – Do you ever hear yourself thinking “I don’t know where to begin.” “I’ve got so much to study and so little time.” “I read it. I understand it.  But I just cant remember it.”  “There is too much to remember.” “I’m gonna stay up all night until I get this.” College Atlas provides great responses to these and several other study traps.
  3. Boost your memory – Try out these strategies to help you remember what you have studied.
    1. Loci method – study different topics in different rooms of your house. Then when you are trying to recall them, think about that room.
    2. Rephrase – put course content into your own words.
    3. Teach it – try teaching the content to someone, even your pet.
    4. Get emotional – become passionate about what you are studying and it will be more meaningful
  4. Learn how to read – OK, so you know how to read, but try these tips to get better at it.
    1. Read the item more than once.
    2. Highlight and take notes
    3. Don’t wait until the last minute and try to read fast
    4. Review after reading
    5. Don’t read in bed or right before going to sleep
    6. Walk around ever thirty minutes to stay alert.
  5. Learn how to write for college – Writing for college, especially in a CBE program, can be different than writing in other areas such as social media posts. In fact writing is a very important part of a CBE program as you may be expected to demonstrate your mastery of a competency by putting into writing what you know and can do.  So try these writing tips:
    1. Brainstorm ideas before you actually start writing
    2. Make an outline of your ideas
    3. Write a messy draft first, then worry about cleaning it up later
    4. Take your time
    5. Proof read every time
    6. Quality is better than quantity
    7. Ask for help

CBE students are not spoon fed information.  They need to be independent, self-regulated learners who are efficient with the time they have for school work.  If you have struggled with your study skills in the past, ask the school you are considering attending what support resources they offer to students.  Many schools offer tutoring, writing centers, study groups and much more.

This blog series is provided by Dr. Mac Adkins who is the CEO and Founder of SmarterServices which is the provider of the CBE Readiness Indicator which is powered by the SmarterMeasure Assessment Engine.    Mac holds a PhD in Educational Leadership and for the past three decades has served in leadership positions at multiple universities and for the past fourteen years has served as the CEO and Founder of SmarterServices.  During this period of time SmarterServices has measured levels of student readiness of over 3.8 million students from over 500 colleges and universities. 

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