1st Edition

Teach Yourself How to Learn Strategies You Can Use to Ace Any Course at Any Level

By Saundra Yancy McGuire Copyright 2018
    160 Pages
    by Routledge

    160 Pages
    by Routledge

    Following up on her acclaimed Teach Students How to Learn that describes teaching strategies to facilitate dramatic improvements in student learning and success, Saundra McGuire here presents these "secrets" direct to students.

    Her message is that "Any student can use simple, straightforward strategies to start making A’s in their courses and enjoy a lifetime of deep, effective learning."

    Beginning with explaining how expectations about learning, and the study efforts required, differ between college and secondary school, the author introduces her readers, through the concept of metacognition, to the importance and powerful consequences of understanding themselves as learners. This framework and the recommended strategies that support it are useful for anyone moving on to a more advanced stage of education, so this book also has an intended audience of students preparing to go to high school, graduate school, or professional school.

    In a conversational tone, and liberally illustrated by anecdotes of past students, the author combines introducing readers to concepts like Bloom’s Taxonomy (to illuminate the difference between studying and learning), fixed and growth mindsets, as well as to what brain science has to tell us about rest, nutrition and exercise, together with such highly specific learning strategies as how to read a textbook, manage their time and take tests.

    With engaging exercises and thought-provoking reflections, this book is an ideal motivational and practical text for study skills and first year experience courses.


    Mark McDaniel



    1. My Journey: I Was Once in Your Shoes

    2. Why Don’t All Students Already Know How to Learn?

    3. Metacognition: What It Is and How It Can Turbocharge Your Learning

    4. The Power of Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Study Cycle

    5. Metacognitive Learning Strategies at Work

    6. Why Your Mindset About Intelligence Matters

    7. How Your Emotions Affect Your Motivation and Learning

    8. What You Do to Boost Your Motivation, Positive Emotions, and Learning

    9. Time Management, Test Taking, and Stress Reduction

    10. Try the Strategies and Have Fun!

    Appendix A: Compilation of Strategies for Students

    Appendix B: Books and Links Recommended for Students

    Appendix C: Learning Strategies Inventory

    Appendix D: Dramatic Individual Student Improvement

    Appendix E: Selected Student Feedback

    Appendix F: Study Tools



    Saundra Yancy McGuire has been teaching chemistry and working in the area of learning and teaching support for over forty-five years. In 2007, she was recognized for excellence in mentoring with a Presidential Award presented in a White House Oval Office Ceremony. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, and the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations. In 2013 she retired as assistant vice chancellor and professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, and in 2017 she was inducted into the LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction. She is now Director Emerita of the LSU Center for Academic Success, which was named the National College Learning Center Association outstanding learning center in 2004. Saundra has presented her widely acclaimed faculty development workshops at over 300 institutions in eight countries. Saundra received her B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, her Master’s degree from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she received the Chancellor’s Citation for Exceptional Professional Promise.

    Stephanie McGuire holds a BS in biology from MIT, an MS and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Oxford, and an MM in opera performance from the Longy Conservatory. Formerly a sougt-after private academic tutor in the New York City area, she is now pursuing an operatic career in Germany.

    "Much can be gained from this book by both students and instructors in all fields. My biggest take-away is the author’s insistence, ‘Now hear this: All students are capable of excelling’. This book shows how."

    Reflective Teaching

    "This book is awesome!!! I really wish that I had this book when I was younger. We spend such a huge portion of our lives learning but no one ever taught us how.

    When I read the section on the study cycle, I was surprised to find that I actually use that technique for pera/rehearsal. I always preview my score before and then afterward I fill in the blanks and write down the staging etc. Why did I simply not think to do that in college for, you know, everything! This is so fantastic and I’m going to tell everyone I know, especially folks with kids."

    Michelle Trainor, Soprano, Boston Lyric Opera

    "Maybe this is a reflection on just how big of a nerd I am, but this is the book that I wish I had when I was in college, or even in high school, to understand that I could have a little bit more control over my brain, and harness [its] power in a good direction. It would be really good for a first-year student seminar, a class that focused on study skills, or a tutoring center."

    Kathryn (Katie) Linder, Research Director for Ecampus, Oregon State University

    "Dr. Saundra McGuire has extended her expertise directly to students in this companion to Teach Students How to Learn. After impacting faculty and academic support professionals’ approach to helping students learn best, she now introduces and guides students to deeper understanding of concepts at different levels. By reframing their approach to studying in college using her methods, they can become better motivated, manage their study time effectively, earn higher grades, and develop successful college careers."

    Johanna Dvorak, PhD, Director Emerita, Educational Support Services - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Educational Research Consulting, LLC

    "This book is going to help so many students!!! Dr. McGuire is a master story teller armed with the science of learning. From each chapter to the next, strategies are strategically laid out in a way to help any learner in any course. Read one chapter or the entire book, and if you follow the suggestions provided you will see a difference in not only what you learn, but more importantly, how you think about learning."

    Todd Zakrajsek, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    "Time and time again, I brought Dr. Saundra to several Historically Black Colleges and Universities, such as Johnson C. Smith University, Dillard University, Cheyney University and Bennett College, to expose students and/or faculty about proven strategies, as described in this book, that students can use to teach themselves 'how to learn.' I also shared these strategies with my daughter and her friends while they were in Medical School at East Carolina University. Simply put, these strategies work!"

    Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, President, Bennett College

    "Archimedes said, ‘Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I will move the world.’ Students’ willingness to work hard – and students will work hard if the work is worth it – is the lever. Dr. McGuire’s practical strategies are the fulcrum. Hard work plus bad strategies gets you almost nowhere. But hard work plus EFFECTIVE strategies? You can go out and change the world with what you learn!"

    Victoria Bhavsar, Director, Faculty Center for Professional Development and the eLearning Team, Cal Poly Pomona

    "McGuire hits it out of the park with this book written for students. She easily connects to them through her conversational style, empathy, case studies and a strong belief in their power to succeed. She shares strategies for learning through graphics and activities that ensure their active engagement. She fully understands the importance of readability as she fills the text with questions. This book explodes with energy and passion and should be on every student’s bookshelf."

    Martha E. Casazza, Educational Consultant - TRPPAssociates, CLADEA Founding Fellow

    "Teach Yourself How to Learn can be a life changer. This book provides students with a toolkit for learning. Reliable and evidence-based techniques are described that every student can use. Students will learn about diagnosing the shortcomings in their own study techniques. To shore up those shortcomings, students will learn about effective ways to learn and build understanding. Students will find out how to increase comprehension of reading assignments by taking steps to engage in active reading, to increase understanding by posing and answering deep level questions, and to increase learning by studying as if you were going to teach the assigned material to the class. With this book, students will gain the insights and concrete techniques that are the foundations of effective learning and studying.

    No less important, the book is written so that students will want to read it. The information is conveyed without jargon and in a style that relates to students’ experiences. I believe that students who read this book will be able to optimize their educational experiences and become enthusiastic and effective life-long learners."

    Mark McDaniel, Co-author of Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education, Washington University in St. Louis

    "I was having a conversation yesterday with my new colleague here at Brown, and she told me a story about a student she worked with. [She] runs our academic tutoring programs at the Sheridan Center and over a year ago a student came to her after failing her chemistry midterm. [She] helped her with a number of resources, including Teach Yourself, and this student ended the semester with a B in the course and an A in the next semester Chemistry course. The student's instructor was stunned by her turnaround and asked what she had done. The student pointed to Teach Yourself and now the instructor has added it the syllabus as a recommended resource for succeeding in the course."

    Eric Kaldor, Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Brown University

    "It is incredibly important to make sure your home schooler has access to quality curricula—regardless of whether you are doing traditional home schooling, unit home schooling, unschooling, or some combination of the above.

    However, one area of study that is frequently neglected in home schooling programs is the systematic development of study skills to support independent learning. While many students—and especially those following less traditional home schooling paths—such as unschooling—develop these skills organically as an adjunct to their content explorations, understanding that they have them and why they work is an essential component when it comes to transitioning students to college-level learning.

    Teach Students How to Learn and Teach Yourself How to Learn are companion volumes: the second covers the same material as the first, but for a readership of students rather than instructors. Both volumes are extremely effective at providing practical and concrete techniques for improving study habits and learning mindsets. McGuire’s insights are based on both rigorous educational research and years of experience as a learning support specialist.

    At first glance, Saundra McGuire’s books might not seem like an obvious choice for homeschooling parents and students. The books are designed with college undergraduate students and their faculty in mind, and are designed to help students understand the skills that will result in better college performance. However, McGuire’s books are invaluable to home schoolers because they provides the whys and hows for the most important homeschooling skill out there: independent learning and thinking."

    Jennifer Harrison, Read, Write, PERFECT