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Audience: College entry students.

Whereas I will not ignore the fact that you already possess a wide variety of study skills, I am well informed that it is important to refresh these ideas and sharpen them as we prepare for our journey through college level education. In this presentation, I intend that we shall briefly concern ourselves with four major study skills which hopefully, will be of great assistance to you. The skills we will focus on are Note taking, Reading skills, Writing skills as well as speaking skills. To begin with, your attendance of lectures and reading of various books will require you to sharpen the skill of note taking.

This is not merely the act of putting down points on paper, but more importantly your ability to understand and isolate the key points quickly and efficiently, and jots them down in a form that will be easily accessible to you and whoever else will take hold of the notes. An important requirement in successful note taking is preparation. How do you prepare for note taking? If that is your question, the answer is that you just need to familiarize yourself with the topic, have your pens and notebook ready and if it is a lecture, take an appropriate sitting position.

The process of note taking requires you to be an active listener. You first have to understand the concept and then write about it. And that is not all, as a successful student, you will need to, sooner then latter, evaluate your notes as well as re-think the whole process. The emphasis here is that the sooner, the better. Our second skill is reading skills, the skill you will need to develop through much practice, to enable you to easily sail through the bulk of college work. In essence, your ability to scan, skim, read intensively and reflectively will be essential.

According to Robert Feldman, the skills under the acronym POWER are important. The letters in the acronym stand for Prepare, Organize, Work, Evaluate and Re-think. Proper understanding of these concepts will be helpful in your studies. You need to prepare before the study by for instance reading the foreword of a book, contents page etc; organize any required material such as sitting space, the books and your notebook; delve into the work of reading; evaluate your progress and finally, you will need to re-think about the effectiveness of your study habits.

Writing skills is the other area of our focus. You may from time to time have faced the anxiety of the writing process, you may feel frightened that the product may not be as good as you would like. However, all these fears aside, one can develop the skill of writing efficiently. In this case, the preparation process will include deciding on the topic. This may be quite easy if you are writing course work, because your tutor will have decided for you. Otherwise, you need to use tools such as free writing, brainstorming, among others to narrow down the topic.

Organizing will involve collecting any library resources you need as well as planning the layout of the paper. Working it out is the root of the matter. Here you sit down and make the first draft and revise. As you evaluate, it may require you to even revise the layout you’d planned. You will latter sit back in the re-thinking and see whether you achieved your objectives. Finally, and may be the most sensitive of the skills, we talk about presentation and speaking skills.

Here, it is clear that first time speakers in front of a crowd have to battle the stage fright. This is the fear that may grip you making your knees knock. Preparation for stage presentation of a speech is a process, in which you write your notes, make a mock presentation to your peers as well as groom yourself for the occasion. The actual work will involve the speaking, in which you need to capture the attention of the audience from the very first minute. Build your confidence and let the notes you made in the preparations help you achieve your objectives.

There after, there’s need for evaluation and re-thinking, in which you can accept and ask for corrections from your colleagues in the hope that you’ll improve the skills next time. In conclusion, we’ve made some strong points connected to the acronym POWER. Always remember to prepare, organize, work, evaluate and re-think. These are concepts you will find useful not just in academics, nut in your whole life in general. Reference Robert S. Feldman (2009) POWER Learning: Strategies for Success in College and Life …

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