The Psychology of Effective Studying: How to Succeed in Your Degree by Dr. Paul Penn is a book I wish I’d had before college…and high school. Dr. Penn does a wonderful job of constructing a book that is both loaded with information that relates to studying and learning and relates to the reader. He has created a text that offers, on almost every page, personal anecdotes relating to the topic, evidence to support the strategy, and cultural references that bring the reader in. That, in itself, is quite the feat. As I read through the book, I really felt like I was just reading someone’s conversation. The writing flowed nicely and I quickly lost track of time as I read…that’s a good thing. 🙂
Some of the major topics relating to studying and learning are: metacognition, procrastination, memory, note taking, study strategies, et cetera. And these aren’t just topics that Dr. Penn glosses over. He goes into detail, with stories and evidence, about each and does a really good job of keeping the main point the main point.
That would be enough for a quality book, but that’s just half of this text.
Dr. Penn then offers advice and supporting evidence to the reader on academic integrity, citing work, academic writing, collaboration, and creating/delivering presentations. I read quite a bit about learning, memory, studying, et cetera, and I’ve never seen these extremely practical topics included. This really differentiates this book from others in this genre. Again, Dr. Penn does a wonderful job of providing relevant advice to the reader in conversation-like prose. It really is a joy to read.
This book is just perfect for the student (and teacher) who wants to improve upon their learning and school experience. It is a text that will be used, over and over again, as the reader advances through their degree of study. I can certainly imagine providing this as a present for recent high school graduates or those going back to school…or for the teacher who wants to improve their instruction and provide quality advice for their students.
Add this one to your list of books to be read. You won’t be sorry.
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