Academic Counseling and Study Guidance The Open University of Israel

Academic Counseling and Study Guidance Center

Getting organized for learning
Raising the students' awareness of their personal learning style, what time of day is best for studying; the best conditions for learning; how much time they need; and how to organize and apportion the materials according to the timetable of the course.

Effective reading of academic material
Learning is a gradual process. Effective reading has several stages: initial scanning of the material to get a general picture; pre-reading of a unit, focusing on the table of contents, the rationale, introduction and summary, and identifying the main topics covered; and close reading, which is the most important stage of the process. This stage involves careful reading of the material, while identifying and highlighting the important information and clarifying points through notes in the margins.

Summarizing and processing information verbally, or with the help of diagrams and tables
Information is processed by referring back to the main topics highlighted and marginal notes made while reading. Information is summarized in a way that suits the learning needs, by preparing a verbal summary, or a graphic summary by presenting the relationships between the ideas in diagrams using key words from the materials. The information can be organized in a table when a topic needs to be examined from various vantage points.

Analyzing questions and formulating answers
A good answer depends on good preparation. In the first stage, the components of the question must be analyzed; the required action (the "directive" word) identified; the focus of the question and the knowledge area required to answer it clarified. The next stage involves planning the form of the answer by preparing an outline.

Preparing for an exam
This has two aspects: planning and organizing the material before the exam, and taking the exam itself. Preparation includes building a "skeleton" which links the various topics of the course material. This involves combining all information sources and addressing concepts, theories and integrative topics. The time needed to prepare for an exam also has to be considered.

In order to function suitably during an exam, it is important to learn how to analyze questions and outline answers, to allocate the time, and how to reduce exam anxiety.

Writing seminar papers
This has several major components: deciding on a topic and formulating a research question, collecting, classifying and synthesizing information, and writing the paper. Familiarity with the library search tool "Aleph" and knowing how to conduct database searches are also important.