Study Skills

One of the most important components of a successful college experience is your approach to studying. You'll find some helpful information on this page to strengthen your study skill strategies.

Note Taking

How to Listen And Take Notes from a Lecture

Anticipate what the lecturer will discuss

  1. Review notes from the previous lecture
  2. Complete related readings before coming to class
  3. Refer to handouts before and during lecture

Use the two-column format and take organized notes

  1. Divide paper lengthwise into 2 sections with the left side 1/3 and right side 2/3 of the paper
  2. In the left 1/3 write the main ideas. These points will answer the question, "What is the point of this?"
  3. In the right 2/3, add details. These points will answer the question, "Is this information relevant and support the main idea?"
  4. Use abbreviations and simple phrases
  5. Use lines and other visual markers to separate, emphasize and organize

Look for cues from the speaker

  1. Notice body language
  2. Listen for signal and transition words such as "the next...", "first second"
  3. Be sure to note remarks that are repeated and emphasize

Be an active listener

  1. Sit close to the speaker to see and hear better
  2. Leave room in your notes to clarify information that was missed or add additional information

Sedita, J. (2001). Study Skills. Pride Crossing, MA: Landmark School, Inc.

Perfecting Presentations

Giving a Presentation? Here are some basics to think about

Approach the Speaking Area
Walk confidently. Do not speak until you take your spot.
Greeting to Audience
This signals your speech is about to begin. If someone introduced you, thank that person first. Try to maintain eye contact, relax and smile.
Strong Introduction
You can only expect polite attention for a scant 15 – 20 seconds. You must entice your audience to listen right away.
It is essential to provide a clear explanation of what you're sharing with your audience as well as why they should care, how it impacts them, etc.
Here's where you present your support. Put your main ideas on note cards — do not script out. Rehearse but do not memorize. Time yourself — your presentation has time limits.
Visual Aids
  • Sized large enough for back-row visibility.
  • Clear, Dark, Simple, Eye Appeal.
  • Plan for where they'll go and what you'll need.
  • Use when appropriate - at the optimal time.
  • Maintain eye contact with audience, not visual aid.
  • Never pass something around - it distracts.
Hand Outs
Use only when needed: audience will focus on and read handouts as soon as they have them in hand.
Have a strong wrap-up. This signals to the audience you're through.
Allow for Questions
Return to your seat gracefully. Resist the urge to breathe a sigh of relief or showboat — your behavior can easilty detract from your credibility.

Shared with permission from: ©Professor Linda A. Desjardins© Northern Essex Community College


What is Plagiarism?

At Great Bay Community College, students are expected to produce original work and use proper methods of citation when completing assignments in all academic areas. Work that is not properly cited or presented as own when it is not, is considered plagiarism. A more complete definition of plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional failure to immediately, accurately, and completely cite and document the source of any language, ideas, summaries, hypotheses, conclusions, interpretations, speculations, graphs, charts, pictures etc. or other material not entirely your own. This includes failure to cite work of your own that you have used previously. Cheating is defined as using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise or activity without proper reference citations. Plagiarism is considered cheating and has academic consequences including receiving a 0 for the assignment, removal from a class or program. Violations may be referred to the Academic Affairs Office for Judicial Review.

Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Using the exact word(s) of another without using quotes and a complete parenthetical citation.
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing the words or ideas of another without providing a complete citation.
  • Using in any way the ideas, arguments or conclusions of another without a complete citation.
  • Incomplete summary or paraphrase that leaves some original language unquoted.
  • Submitting an essay written by someone else.
  • Submitting parts of an essay written by someone else.
  • Submitting an essay, or parts of an essay you have previously used for another assignment.
  • Failing in any way to make it abundantly clear what is your own original work and what is the work of someone else.

Adapted from English Department Policy on Plagiarism at Great Bay Community College

Project Management

Writing a research paper or completing a large project can be overwhelming. Know that you are not alone! There are a lot of resources available to take you step by step to completion. Breaking your project down into manageable parts and using your planner to keep track of due dates will help things go smoothly. Here are some points:

Understand your assignment

Talk to your instructor
Discuss it with other students
If doing a group project, spend a little time to make sure everyone understands the goal

Select a topic

Choose something that meets the criteria of the assignment but also interests you
As you begin your research you may need to broaden or narrow your topic to get the best information without overloading yourself - be sure to get approval from your instructor
In a group, try to find a topic everyone can commit to

Determine your research strategy

What tools will be required for the project itself and for its presentation?
Have you attended a library training to help with research strategies? If not, schedule one
Remember to use electronic resources as well as books and journals; evaluate and cite your sources carefully
In a group, decide who will do what and how you will bring it all together
Establish a timeline and check on this regularly

Write your paper

Develop an Outline to build from - try the Inspiration software in CAPS if you need help
All papers should begin with a strong Thesis Statement in your introduction
Use research to support your ideas in the paper's body, but use your own words or quotations
Summarize with a great Conclusion, both in your paper and in your presentation
Write the first draft and get feedback before submitting the final paper
In a group, consider assigning research to some members and writing to others