This page was last updated:

  January 16, 2014

                  Images] PSY 101 Introductory Psychology

Instructor: Vincent W. Hevern, S.J., Ph.D.


READ "Improving Academic Performance" (pp. 23-25) in our textbook (Weiten, 2014, 9th edition; pp. 25-29 in 2011 8th edition)


In a 3-credit class, most faculty members including me expect you to study roughly two hours for every hour you spend in class. In preparing for an hour-long class examination, the standard for study is about five hours in order to get a good-to-excellent mark. Of course, individual students and their abilities vary. So, these guidelines are not absolute. However, if you are not regularly devoting approximately six hours of study per week to each of your classes, you may do more poorly than you otherwise would be able to achieve.

 Study Habits

SQ3R: What to do BEFORE you come to class if you have a reading assignment

  • Survey: Page through the assignment & look at headings. Read the summary at the end of the chapter.
  • Question: Convert the heading of each section into a question. Complete the next two R's before going to next section.
  • Read: Read the passage in a way that answers the question you posed.
  • Recite: Answer the question outloud in your own words. Then make notes on the section.
  • Review: When you have finished the reading assignment, go back over the assignment once more  
Lectures, Notes, and Class

NOTES. Students in this course tell me that they appreciate my posting my lecture notes online. However, I am concerned that what is happening in class is simply that students copy every single word projected on the screen without giving those ideas and concepts much thought or comprehension. Hence, I am going to change my approach in two ways:

First, I will no longer display a full set of notes on the screen during the class itself. Rather, I will show a simpler "Class Outline" of those notes highlighting SOME key ideas, words, and topics plus whatever diagrams I think might be helpful. Note that these outlines will NOT contain all the materials you need to learn. You MUST take notes as well.

Secondly, I will usually post the actual lecture notes I use online. But, it will be up to you to decide if you want to download a copy. These will appear in the same place they had been placed previously. Now, though, I will label them as "Lecture Notes" and what I display in class as "Class Outline". If you want to have a copy of those lecture notes before class, then download them, print them off, and bring them to class. You can follow me along without having to scribble every last word I say.

ACTIVE LISTENING. During class , it is important that you give your attention to the material we cover. Your listening should be active. You should try to figure out what are the most important things I am presenting. Ask yourself regularly if you understand what you are hearing. You might want to copy down in your notes examples or phrases which convey what concepts are about.

ACTIVE QUESTIONING. If you don't understand something, ask a question. If you think you understand some part of a concept, but not all of it, ask a question. Actively questioning helps YOU learn better.

ACTIVE RESPONDING. When I ask questions in class, I am NOT trying to show you up or trick you or otherwise make you feel uncomfortable. Usually what I am asking you to do is to link up your own experience in daily life with the material we are covering in class. I want you to use your imagination, experiences, or recollections as a way of making many of our concepts real. So, please attempt to respond to questions actively. Say what comes to mind. Trust your own instincts. And, if what you say turns out to be off the mark, so what? Your grade will certainly not be harmed for taking a chance!

   Test Preparation In order to assist your preparation for the next exam, I will post online a set of important concepts, terms, and persons which/whom I will expect you to know something. Along with your notes, I am hoping that you will find these helpful to guide what you should study for the test. Some members of the class asked me to do this. I'll do so for the next test to see if it is helpful to you.
Other Suggestions

I'd ask you to consider some other suggestions:

  • 3-Ring Binder. I know that many students use standard notebooks in which to take notes. Frankly, I never was able to use these when I was in college or graduate school. I found it much more helpful to use a 3-ring binder (especially the more expensive ones called "D" ring binders which hold more). Why? Because I could easily file notes, handouts, old quizzes, the syllabus and schedule, and any other materials from my class in one place. You just can't do that when you are using the old-fashioned notebook. I'd suggest you invest in both a binder and a hole punch.
  • Weekly Schedule. Research has shown that students who do poorly in college classes often significantly overestimate the real amount of time that they actually study. When they sit down and list the number of hours they studied during a week, they find that they need to increase their study time. (Note, too, that the very best students tend to underestimate how much time they actually study.) Both students who are doing well and those doing less well should consider putting together a weekly schedule. I have devised a blank weekly schedule form which you can link to in your browser and then print out. Note that this form is specifically designed for Le Moyne since it highlights the M-W-F and the Tu-Th classes with different size boxes & colors.


  This page was first posted 01/12/04