Book By: Sally Lipsky
Review By: Troy Lindseys
Academic Advisor
Shorter College
North Atlanta Campus



Sally Lipsky, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has provided academic advisors and freshman orientation instructors with a valuable resource for teaching study skills to their students. The book is concisely written and well organized. Each chapter is laid out so that the student can learn not only to understand the skill presented, but also how to implement it. As implied by the title, the basic study skills offered include: time management, managing study environments, listening, note taking, reading textbooks, memory enhancement, and test taking.  


Lipsky has placed focus questions and chapter terms at the start of each chapter. Well presented material in the body of each chapter, personal action statements, and chapter conclusions combine to make a text that is learning objective driven and educationally effective. This format also means that students can choose individual chapters to address areas of weakness. This 176 page book is a highly adaptable resource for use in study skill classes. It can be used effectively in a one-class study skills seminar. It could also be used in a quarter or semester length class with supplemental materials or advisors could place the book on a recommended readings list so students can learn the skills for themselves.


There are many study skills books on the market. One of the other premier study skills books in wide usage is Dave Ellis’s Becoming a Master Student. Both College Essentials and Becoming a Master Student are excellent texts for classes. They both have a self-test to determine leaning styles and provide in-depth coverage of reading, note taking, memory, and test taking skills. The Ellis book includes chapters on diversity, health, and resources. The strength of the Ellis book is that it provides extensive coverage of more topics. The strength of the Lipsky book is that it offers a very concentrated coverage of fewer topics. Both books achieve what they set out to accomplish.



I have read both texts and taught from the Ellis book; I prefer the Lipsky book because freshmen might find it less intimidating. The shorter the time the instructor has to work with students, the stronger the case for using College Study. For one-on-one advising the concentrated nature of Lipsky’s book also makes it extremely manageable. An already overwhelmed freshman might get more out of a well written and effective short book than a well written longer book. I will include both books in my advisor toolkit, but will likely recommend the Lipsky book more often to my students.






Ellis, Dave. (2003). Becoming A Master Student: Tools, techniques, hints, ideas, illustrations, examples, methods, procedures, skills, resources, and suggestions for success 10th Edition.  Houghton Mifflin.


College Study: The Essential Ingredients. (2004). Book by Sally Lipsky. Review by Troy Lindseys. Prentice Hall, Pearson Education. 176 pp., $23.33, (paperback), ISBN 0-13-048836-4.


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