Lesson 22: Study Skills for Blind or Visually Impaired Students
The grades you earn in college will be dependent on your ability to study. How much and how often you study in college or career school is up to you. Your professors will periodically remind you to study, but no one will personally monitor when, how, where, and who you study with. The workload and your professors’ expectations of you to review and master the course content increases significantly in college. As a student who is blind or visually impaired, you will need to arrive at college with efficient study skills and be ready to apply your skills on a daily basis. Students who attend college or career school without a solid foundation in study skills or bad study habits, such as cramming the night before a test, put their academic success at risk.
What are efficient study skills? Good study skills start with being able to take organized and meaningful notes that are inclusive of relevant information such as important dates, terms, and ideas. A student who is blind or visually impaired who has good study skills will be able to read and comprehend large amounts of information at a college level; gather information from listening to lectures, audio materials, or a live reader; and organize work electronically in a manner that can be quickly accessed.
Evaluate your study skills and habits to determine which skills you may need to learn or practice prior to attending college.
- A good indicator of whether or not you currently have and are applying your study skills is your test grades. List your last five test grades. Do you need to improve your test grades by sharpening your study skills?
- Describe the overall system you use to study.
- Is it organized and planned?
- Do you study daily when needed?
- How do you prioritize what materials to study first?
- Do you review difficult subject matter first or save the things you find intimidating for last?
- Do you procrastinate?
- Describe how you study each of the following.
- Class notes from a lecture
- Required readings from other sources such as an online article
- Library resources
- List the study techniques (flashcards, memorization, etc.) you use. Research five additional study techniques to add to your list.
Study with a Live Reader
Prior to an upcoming test date, study inaccessible materials with a live reader. Apply memorization techniques and practice listening to information and taking notes. Evaluate what worked well and what skills you need to improve upon so studying with a live reader is an effective and efficient alternative to not studying inaccessible materials.
Develop an accessible, electronic, or online study schedule that includes adequate review time to prepare for (1) weekly test dates, midterms, and final exams, and (2) a weekly study chart that includes an estimate of the time needed to study each subject.
Class Note Exchange
Invite three to five class peers to share class notes with you using a cloud-based file sharing system. Ask each participant to type their notes (rather than scan them). After you upload your notes, review the notes of your peers to determine any note-taking strategies you may want to incorporate into your notes. Ask each participant to review your notes and provide feedback regarding the content, organization, and details.
Read and take notes from pages 156 through 174 of Chapter 6 in College Bound, A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments, 2nd Edition, by Ellen Trief.
How long did it take you to read the assigned pages while taking notes?
Do you need to practice your note-taking skills?
Ask your teacher of students with visual impairments to review and critique your notes.