New Year, New Semester, New Priorities

Posted on Jan 24 2013 - 3:07pm by Lacey Russell


Phillip Waller/The Daily MississippianAuthor and Professor Kenneth Sufka poses with the first edition of his book, The A Game.

Phillip Waller/The Daily Mississippian
Author and Professor Kenneth Sufka poses with the first edition of his book, The A Game.






Were your grades not your best last semester? Looking to change that? Professor of psychology Kenneth Sufka outlines studying and note-taking tips from his book, “The A Game,” to improve students’ academic habits and grades.


Twenty-one years of working with Ole Miss students have given pharmacology and psychology professor Kenneth Sufka a good deal of insight into students’ study habits. In his book, “The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades,” he puts this knowledge to use.

“What they tell me is that they’re really not doing anything different than what they did in high school,” Sufka said. “They’re not realizing the same kind of classroom performance, and oftentimes it’s two or three letter grades lower than high school.”

“The A Game” tells students that their approach to studying is flawed because college is aimed at testing knowledge at a higher level than high school.

“The level of expectations of material mastery tends to be lower at the high school level,” he said.

Sufka said that waiting until the last minute to study is the most prevalent bad habit, and that the “all-night study habit” never wins.

According to Sufka, in high school, tests are given more frequently than in college, allowing students to get away with studying for a test the night before, if even that. But because tests at the college level tend to cover more material from a longer span of time, it is simply impossible to master the material in a single night of studying.

“Don’t beat yourself up,” he said. “It just requires you to diagnose what is not working and identify separate strategies that are known to work and begin to adopt those.”

He said that students should look at the steps in the book wholistically, and if they learn and practice them all in sequence, they are almost guaranteed to have better grades and study habits.

According to Sufka, his approach to improving students’ study habits is effective because all the techniques are based on scientific literature.

“They are scientifically validated as showing beneficial effects.”

“The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades” can be purchased at Square Books, Barnes & Noble in the Union and online at Amazon, among other vendors.