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Selected Study Skills Books in the AU Library: An Annotated Bibliography

by Arlene Young


Table of Contents


Preface

Many students consult me for advice on how to overcome specific difficulties with their studies. I expect there are many more who wish they had written materials to consult but do not know what to look for or where to find it. I wrote this annotated bibliography with those students� needs in mind. The materials I have reviewed are available from the AU Library. Students can access the AU Library Catalogue online from the Learning Centres or on the World Wide Web.

The materials are organized into five sections. "English Grammar" contains books focusing on language usage and spelling. "Exams and Exam Anxiety Reduction" discusses books about exam preparation, taking specific types of exams, and dealing with exam anxiety. "Math and Math Anxiety Reduction" has books that teach and refresh math skills or deal with exam anxiety; the Tobias book does both. "Study Skills" books cover a wide range of study skills and are often a good place for students to begin their reading. "Writing Essays, Research Papers and Reports" focuses on writing major documents.

Any opinions I express about the books are my own and not those of Athabasca University. Any questions about the bibliography should be directed to me at 1-800-788-9041, extension 6250, for those in Canada, the United States, or Mexico.

Other related information on the World Wide Web:

The University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, has a great study guides page in their Instructional Support Services section.


Arlene Young, PhD, CPsyc (AB)
Tutor, WMST 499
Instructor, MDDE 651
Athabasca University


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English Grammar

Frew, Robert, Richard Guches, and Robert Mehaffy. Writer's Workshop. Palo Alto, California: Peek Publications, 1984.
Writer's Workshop provides information and exercises on every aspect of writing from sentences to formal essays. The book is effective for acquiring new skills or as a reference book for writers. It contains a thorough table of contents and index.

Lewis, Norman. Instant Spelling Power. New York: Amsco College Publications, 1976.
Instant Spelling Power may not be quite as fast as the title promises but does provide tactics for remembering how to spell tricky words. There are chapters on words with "ly" endings, "ie" or "ei" in the middle, and many others. If you know that particular types of words sabotage your best efforts, you can choose a specific chapter to help.

Norton, Sarah, and Brian Green. The Bare Essentials, Form B. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1988.
The Bare Essentials, Form A or Form B, is an excellent source of information on spelling, grammar, and essay writing. The spelling section uses standard Canadian spelling. The Bare Essentials uses a conventional, top down approach to essay writing�defining a thesis, writing an outline and draft, and polishing the final draft. The book is in standard textbook format, but the content is presented in workbook form. The language is informal and encouraging.

---. Essay Essentials. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1991.
Essay Essentials is a thorough guide to planning, researching, writing, and revising essays. There are chapters on grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The authors describe the book as combining the "bottom up" and "top down" approaches to essay writing. The bottom up approach uses free writing and brainstorming whereas the top down approach proceeds from defining a topic to writing, revision, and a final draft. Students may be inclined towards one method or another depending on their experience and the topic. The book is organized with headings, sub-headings, tables, anecdotes, exercises, and self-tests.

Strunk, William, and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1972.
If you have time to read only one book on writing, make it this 92-page classic, The Elements of Style. There are chapters on grammar, composition, and an especially useful one on word usage that could save students from embarrassing errors.

Sullivan, Tony. Grammar. Cambridge: The National Extension College, 1979.
Grammar is an introduction to the subject for those who have never studied it formally, or don't remember what they studied.



Exam Preparation and Exam Anxiety Reduction

Divine, James H., and David W. Kylen. How to Beat Test Anxiety and Score Higher on Your Exams. Woodbury, New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1979.
How to Beat Test Anxiety and Score Higher on Your Exams begins by helping students to understand how they experience test anxiety before helping them take steps to reduce it. Suggestions on how to reduce test anxiety include replacing negative self-statements with self-affirming statements, and learning how to relax. The second half of the book focuses on developing test-taking skills, especially those required for multiple choice questions.

Fleet, Joan, Fiona Goodchild, and Richard Zajchowski. Successful Learning. London, Ontario: University of Western Ontario, 1987.
Successful Learning is an introduction to study skills, an earlier version of Learning for Success. There is an inventory at the beginning to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses followed by chapters on time management, essay writing, science problem solving, exam preparation, and others. The authors encourage students to be strategic, to study "smarter not harder."

Hanau, Laia. The Study Game. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1979.
The Study Game is well titled because the author approaches studying as if it were a game which students can learn how to win. It covers reading for information, conveying that information, consolidating information for exams, and writing exams. The language is informal, frequently using point form rather than complete sentences, and the text accompanied by sketches, arrows, and circled major points. Students who like mind-mapping and take non-linear notes, will find this book helpful.

Jones, Bill, and Roy Johnson. Making the Grade. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1990.
In two volumes, Making the Grade shows how to improve study skills. Volume I examines input, learning new information, and Volume II examines output, presenting ideas in papers and exams. The books are organized in brief segments with prescribed rest and reflection. There are anecdotes to illustrate points and to help students deepen their understanding of their own experience.

MacFarlane, Polly, and Sandra Hodson. Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1983.
Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System provides a brief introduction (46 pages) to study skills. Topics include concentration, time scheduling, listening and lecture note taking, reading and learning from textbooks, writing papers, and preparing for exams. The book contains a brief, clear explanation of the mechanisms of learning and memory.

Pauk, Walter. How to Study in College. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984.
How to Study in College is a book that covers a wide range of study skills, from improving memory to answering specific types of exam questions. It is particularly strong in dealing with reading and note taking skills, not surprising considering that the author is a researcher in reading. The book is well organized with a thorough table of contents and index. Each chapter has a self-test to promote learning and remembering.

Richardson, Frank C. Coping With Exam Anxiety. Editor. Arlene Young. Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University, 1990.
This book uses an informational learning approach to help students understand and reduce their exam anxiety. The book will help students understand the extent to which their difficulty with exams is due to preparation or anxiety. For many students, reading the book and doing the exercises will be sufficient to reduce their anxiety. Others may also wish to seek the help of a counsellor. Athabasca University Students can obtain the book, free of charge, from the Athabasca University Students Association (AUSA).

Sullivan, Kathleen E. Paragraph Practice. New York//London: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.//Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1984.
If professors or tutors criticize students' paragraphs, Paragraph Practice can help. It explains what a paragraph is and how it differs from other writing. The author breaks the paragraph down into its parts, and shows how several of them can be united to form a brief composition�the kind of composition written for exams and tutor marked assignments.


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Math and Math Anxiety Reduction

American Preparatory Institute. Math Skills by Objectives. New York: Cambridge Book Company, 1985.
Math Skills by Objectives is a series of three workbooks with accompanying answer booklets and a test booklet. The workbooks provide explanations and drills in a number of math skills. Book One explains whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percents. Book Two explains graphs and tables, consumer math skills, measurement, and basic geometry. Book Three reviews basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and test-taking skills. These books would be a good choice for anyone who thinks they need to brush up specific math skills.

Ashley, Ruth. Background Math for a Computer World. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1980.
Background Math for a Computer World introduces those with a limited background to the math needed to work in the machine language of computer programming. The book introduces the binary number system, computer logic, and linear equations.

Chernow, Fred B. Business Mathematics Simplified and Self-Taught. New York: Arco Publishing, Inc., 1984.
Business Mathematics Simplified and Self-Taught provides detailed explanations of a number of basic arithmetic functions, such as rounding off, dividing by 10, 100, 1000, etc., before discussing fractions, decimals, percentages, interest and other business math applications.

Deese, James, and Ellin K. Deese. How to Study . New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969.
How to Study is an introduction to study skills for on-campus students. The book covers time management, reading, and essay writing. It also provides tips for studying foreign languages, math and science.

Goldish, Dorothy M. Basic Mathematics for Beginning Chemistry. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1983.
Basic Mathematics for Beginning Chemistry is intended to refresh students' mathematical memory for university chemistry. The book introduces mathematical concepts, illustrated with examples, and provides exercises and answer keys.

Hackworth, Robert D., and Joseph W. Howland. Programmed Arithmetic. Clearwater, Florida: H & H Publishing Company, Inc., 1983.
Programmed Arithmetic teaches arithmetic. Each idea is explained then followed with examples and exercises. There are tests for each chapter with answers at the back of the book. Students who have never mastered multiplying and dividing fractions, or do not understand the meaning of ten to the seventh power, will find this book helpful. The book's table of contents is thorough enough to locate the most relevant topics.

Hartkopf, Roy. Math Without Tears. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1985.
Math Without Tears will expand students' knowledge of mathematical languages and show the relationships between them (e.g., the relationship of trigonometry to calculus). The book explores and refutes the common idea that mathematics yields one correct answer. The author shows that, depending upon the mathematical system one uses, one plus one could equal two, three, or more.

Parson, Ted. Demystifying Math. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria, 1985.
Demystifying Math is a workbook to refresh math skills. The book begins with arithmetic and proceeds to algebra, sets and Cartesian products, graphs of linear equations and inequalities, systems of linear equations, exponents, and quadratic equations. There are exercises and self-tests throughout. Students who find these words familiar but cannot remember what they mean may find this book useful.

Selby, Peter H. Quick Algebra Review. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1983.
Quick Algebra Review is intended as a refresher for those who studied algebra in high school. There are brief explanations, examples, and many exercises with answer keys. The table of contents and index will help readers identify specific topics for review.

Thompson, J. E. Trigonometry for the Practical Worker. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company Inc., 1982.
Trigonometry for the Practical Worker contains just about everything students would want to know about plane trigonometry from the basic ideas to their application to measurement. The book has exercises with answer keys to help students test and deepen their understanding.

Tobias, Sheila. Overcoming Math Anxiety. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980.
Overcoming Math Anxiety examines the cause of the difficulty, paying special attention to the biases that make women feel incapable of learning and using math. The author explores the problems in words and illustrates the ideas with examples and drawings. The book also has explanations and exercises to help readers overcome common mathematical stumbling blocks.


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Study Skills

Apps, Jerold W. Study Skills for Adults Returning to School. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1982.
Study Skills for Adults Returning to School is an introduction to study skills that opens with a chapter on learning to learn. There are also chapters on how to improve thinking, vocabulary, reading and note taking. The book is also the only one surveyed that contains advice for students beginning their graduate studies.

Baker, Sheridan. The Practical Stylist. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985.
The Practical Stylist examines essay writing, from determining a thesis statement to writing grammatical sentences. The chapter on writing a thesis is particularly effective. There is a good section on revision and examples of essays for different disciplines.

Buckley, Joanne. Fit to Print. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991.
Fit to Print is a brief guide to essay writing that covers the essentials without belabouring the point. It's a book to use as an aid to writing essays because it begins with selecting a topic and proceeds to revising and proof reading.

Carney, Tom, and Barbara Carney. Liberation Learning: Self-Directed Learning for Students. Windsor, Ontario: Para-Publishing Enterprises, 1988.
Liberation Learning: Self-Directed Learning for Students presents information and approaches to virtually every issue that university students encounter during their studies. The first chapter examines writing and suggests strategies for overcoming blocks. Another chapter examines learning and teaching styles and the relationship between them. Chapters on time management assume that the students are just out of high school so may not be appropriate for mature adult students.

Deese, James, and Ellin K. Deese. How to Study . New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969.
How to Study is an introduction to study skills for on-campus students. The book covers time management, reading, and essay writing, and it also provides tips for studying foreign languages, math, and science.

Ellis, David B. Becoming a Master Student. Rapid City, South Dakota: College Survival, Inc., 1993.
Becoming a Master Student is one of the best study skills books available. The book is updated yearly, but the essential ideas remain constant. Ellis believes that studying is a skill that can be learned and improved. There are chapters on just about any issue that can perplex students, from time management to memory, reading, note taking, relationships, health and money. The ideas, exercises, and self-tests, encourage students to interact with others and become active learners. The writing style and layout are informal. The pages have bold, colourful headings and illustrations, charts to emphasize main points, and lots of white space for notes.

Fleet, Joan, Fiona Goodchild, and Richard Zajchowski. Successful Learning. London, Ontario: University of Western Ontario, 1987.
Successful Learning is an introduction to study skills, an earlier version of Learning for Success. There is an inventory at the beginning to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses followed by chapters on time management, essay writing, science problem solving, exam preparation, and others. The authors encourage students to be strategic, to study "smarter not harder."

---. Learning for Success. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.
Learning For Success covers the usual study skills topics, such as writing and note taking, as well as non-typical topics such as memory and seminar presentation . Much of the information is presented in points, exercises, and inventories. At just under 150 pages, the book is one of the briefest introductions to study skills.

Hanau, Laia. The Study Game. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1979.
The Study Game is well titled because the author approaches studying as if it were a game which students can learn how to win. It covers reading for information, conveying that information, consolidating information for exams, and writing exams. The language is informal, frequently using point form rather than complete sentences, and the text is accompanied by sketches, arrows, and circled major points. Students who like mind-mapping and take non-linear notes, will like this book.

Jones, Bill, and Roy Johnson. Making the Grade . Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1990.
In two volumes, Making the Grade shows how to improve study skills. Volume I examines input, learning new information, and Volume II examines output, presenting ideas in papers and exams. The books are organized in brief segments with prescribed rest and reflection. There are anecdotes to illustrate points and to help students deepen their understanding of their own experience.

MacFarlane, Polly, and Sandra Hodson. Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1983.
Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System provides a brief introduction, 46 pages, to study skills. Topics include concentration, time scheduling, listening and lecture note taking, reading and learning from textbooks, writing papers, and preparing for exams. The book contains a brief, clear explanation of the mechanisms of learning and memory.

Nilsson, Virginia. Improve Your Study Skills. Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University, 1989.
Improve Your Study Skills is a handbook in seven modules covering everything from reading to note taking, essay writing, and maintaining motivation. The modules present study skills that research has shown to be effective with adult students. Athabasca University students can obtain the modules, free of charge, from the AUSA.

Pauk, Walter. How to Study in College. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984.
How to Study in College is a book that covers a wide range of study skills, from improving memory to answering specific types of exam questions. It is particularly strong in dealing with reading and note taking skills, not surprising considering that the author researches reading techniques. The book is well organized with a thorough table of contents and index. Each chapter has a self-test to promote learning and remembering.

Robertson, Heather. Bridge to College Success. Boston, Massachusetts: Heinle & Heinle Publishers, 1991.
Bridge to College Success presents college survival skills for ESL and foreign students entering American colleges and universities. The information is comprehensive, the book is well organized, and the layout is appealing.

University of Victoria. Strategies for Studying. Victoria, British Columbia: Orca Publishers, 1996.
This handbook was written especially for part-time adult students. There are three broad topics covered in depth: goal setting and time management; reading and memory; and consolidating learning to prepare for examinations. Each topic invites readers to reflect on their experience before adding new information and skills to their repertoire.

Walter, Tim, and Al Siebert. Student Success. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1987.
Student Success, subtitled, "How to Succeed in College and Still Have Time for Your Friends," is written for those students whose studies constitute part of their lives. The authors' humour is expressed in cartoons, anecdotes, and in topics such as, "Myths About Instructors" and "How to Gain Strength from Difficult and Stressful Situations." The book is aimed at high school entrants to university, but the exercises and information are relevant to students of any age.

Witherspoon, Del, and Eugenie Nickell. Back to School at My Age? Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1991.
Back to School at My Age? is written primarily for mothers returning to school. The authors are women who discuss how to negotiate entrance requirements, organize study time and family time, and reduce guilt. The discussions are introduced with first person narratives with which most women will identify.


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Writing Essays, Research Papers and Reports

Baker, Sheridan. The Practical Stylist. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985.
The Practical Stylist examines essay writing, from determining a thesis statement to writing grammatical sentences. The chapter on writing a thesis is particularly effective. There is a good section on revision and examples of essays for different disciplines.

Buckley, Joanne. Fit to Print. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991.
Fit to Print is a brief guide to essay writing that covers the essentials without belabouring the point. It's a book to use as an aid to writing essays because it follows the natural course from selecting a topic to revising and proof reading.

Carney, Tom, and Barbara Carney. Liberation Learning: Self-Directed Learning for Students. Windsor, Ontario: Para-Publishing Enterprises, 1988.
Liberation Learning: Self-Directed Learning for Students presents information and approaches to virtually every issue that university students encounter during their studies. The first chapter examines writing and suggests strategies for overcoming blocks. Another chapter examines learning and teaching styles and the relationship between them. Chapters on time management assume that the students are just out of high school so not be appropriate for mature adult students.

Deese, James, and Ellin K. Deese. How to Study. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969.
How to Study is an introduction to study skills for on-campus students. The book covers time management, reading, and essay writing, and also provides tips for studying foreign languages, math, and science.

Ellis, David B. Becoming a Master Student. Rapid City, South Dakota: College Survival, Inc., 1993.
Becoming a Master Student is one of the best study skills books available. The book is updated yearly but the essential ideas remain constant. Ellis believes that studying is a skill that can be learned and improved. There are chapters on just about any issue that can perplex students, from time management to memory, reading, note taking, relationships, health and money. The ideas, exercises, and self-tests, encourage students to interact with others and become active learners. The writing style and layout are informal. The pages have bold, colourful headings and illustrations, charts to emphasize main points, and lots of white space for notes.

Fleet, Joan, Fiona Goodchild, and Richard Zajchowski. Successful Learning. London, Ontario: University of Western Ontario, 1987.
Successful Learning is an introduction to study skills, an earlier version of Learning for Success. There is an inventory at the beginning to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses followed by chapters on time management, essay writing, science problem solving, exam preparation, and others. The authors encourage students to be strategic, to study "smarter not harder."

---. Learning for Success. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.
Learning For Success covers the usual study skills� topics, such as writing and note taking, as well as non-typical topics such as memory and seminar presentation. Much of the information is presented in points, exercises, and inventories. At just under 150 pages, the book is one of the briefest introductions to study skills.

Frew, Robert, Richard Guches, and Robert Mehaffy. Writer's Workshop. Palo Alto, California: Peek Publications, 1984.
Writer's Workshop provides information and exercises on every aspect of writing, from sentences to formal essays. The book is effective for acquiring new skills or as a reference book for writers. It contains a thorough table of contents and index.

Kennedy, Mary Lynch, and Hadley M. Smith. Academic Writing. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1986.
Academic Writing examines, analyzes, and gives exercises for understanding university readings and for writing many types of assignments. The book also discusses how to approach various kinds of essay topics (e.g. compare and contrast).

Lewis, Roger, and John Inglis. Report Writing. Cambridge: National Extension College, 1982.
Report Writing is a clear and concise book that demonstrates an approach to writing effective reports for school or business. The book contains numerous examples and exercises to help the reader interact with the information.

MacFarlane, Polly, and Sandra Hodson. Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1983.
Studying Effectively and Efficiently: An Integrated System provides a brief introduction (46 pages) to study skills. Topics include concentration, time scheduling, listening and lecture note taking, reading and learning from textbooks, writing papers, and preparing for exams. The book contains a brief, clear explanation of the mechanisms of learning and memory.

Nilsson, Virginia. Improve Your Study Skills. Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University, 1989.
Improve Your Study Skills is a handbook in seven modules covering everything from reading to note taking, essay writing, and maintaining motivation. The modules present study skills that research has shown to be effective with adult students. Athabasca University students can obtain the modules, free of charge, from the Athabasca University Students Association (AUSA).

Norton, Sarah, and Brian Green. The Bare Essentials, Form B. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1988.
The Bare Essentials, Form A or Form B, is an excellent source of information on spelling, grammar, and essay writing. The spelling section uses standard Canadian spelling. The Bare Essentials uses a conventional, top down approach to essay writing: finding a thesis, writing an outline and draft, and polishing the final draft. The book is in standard textbook format, but the content is presented in workbook form. The language is informal and encouraging.

---. Essay Essentials. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Limited, 1991.
Essay Essentials is a thorough guide to planning, researching, writing, and revising essays. There are chapters on grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The authors describe the book as combining the "bottom up" and "top down" approaches to essay writing. The bottom up approach uses free writing and brainstorming whereas the top down approach proceeds from defining a topic, to writing, revision, and a final draft. Students may be inclined towards one method or another depending on their experience and the topic. The book is organized with headings, sub-headings, tables, anecdotes, exercises, and self-tests.

Roth, Audrey J. The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publising Company, 1986.
The Research Paper: Process, Form, and Content is a book that takes you through the process of writing a research paper. The book begins with a planning guide and proceeds to examine each topic in detail. Although the information on library searches is dated�libraries have changed dramatically in the past few years�the information is sound and helpful.

Smith, H. Wendell. Readable Writing. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1985.
Final drafts of students� essays can sometimes fail to live up to the students� or their professors� expectations. Readable Writing is a book that can help. The author uses a step-by-step approach to manuscript preparation, examining everything from writing the first draft, to revising for substance, order, and clarity. There is a detailed table of contents and index, and check lists for revising drafts.

Strunk, William, and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1972.
If you have time to read only one book on writing, make it this 92-page classic, The Elements of Style. There are chapters on grammar, composition, and an especially useful one on word usage that could save students from embarrassing errors.

Sullivan, Kathleen E. Paragraph Practice. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1984.
If professors or tutors criticize students' paragraphs, Paragraph Practice can help. It explains what a paragraph is and how it differs from other writing. The author breaks the paragraph down into its parts, and shows how several of them can be united to form a brief composition�the kind of composition written for exams and tutor marked assignments.

Contact AU Counsellors by telephone

To contact an AU Counsellor by telephone:

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from Edmonton and area:
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dial (403) 263-6465

from elsewhere in Canada & the United States:
dial 1-800-788-9041 (toll-free)

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dial 1-780-675-6723

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