Two of the Adams Center Student Fellows, Natalie Silva and Karala Hough, facilitated a conversation about the importance of helping students learn how to prioritize information and how using study guides can assist with this. The following is a summary of their session that they wrote.

All of the Adams Center Student Fellows agreed that prioritizing information for students was very important. We had different ideas about how faculty members can go about doing so. Some of us have mentioned how difficult it can be to figure out what exactly to study for in regards to exams, or even how much time is expected for a student to spend on specific information for a singular class. 

In this session, we brought to light how many hours of studying is recommended for students, and how that could easily be attributed to test anxiety and overall poor performance academically. For context, we also discussed the four common ‘cognitive level’ types that are seen in learning being: analysis, application, knowledge, and understanding. We then discussed potentially utilizing a ‘study guide’ or something similar to provide students a type of scaffolding/structure for the information that needs to be prioritized for the next exam. 

The Student Fellows also noted that the instructors might want students to know all the information that is discussed in lecture. Implementation of a ‘study guide’ does not minimize the other content being taught, nor is it a tool that shows all the questions on the exam. It is simply a way to let the students know what content will need to be recalled later. At that point, if the study guide is used by the students, it is their responsibility to fill out the guide with whatever information, how much or how little, they need.