The Vital Study Skills System
A Systematic, Evidence-Based Approach to Learning Strategies
Our holistic approach to learning addresses the 3 fundamental strategies that allow you to not only repeat the material for a test but to actually know it for life.
How you spend your waking hours
Getting proper sleep, nutrition and exercise
Learning focus, concentration, and self-talk
What People Are Saying...
Intensive Training for Better Course Comprehension
In a Vital Skills Workshop, students learn to:
- manage their time
- get the most out of lectures
- organize study notes
- improve long-term memory
- increase concentration
- reduce test anxiety
- prepare for exams
- These workshops are sponsored by universities, for their own students.
- If your school doesn't offer VSS workshops yet, order a book. Better yet, work through it together with a friend.
Skills and Strategies for Mastering the Material
We’ve taken our years of research and workshop experience and distilled it into workbooks for self-study.
We present self-diagnostic tools and strategies that can be applied by students of any discipline. These skills are a must for any student embarking on a rigorous course of study.
For students who do not have access to one of our workshops, our workbooks can be used in a small group setting. Our books are also an excellent resource for counselors and teachers.Learn More
A popular speaker for both faculty and students groups, Kathleen Straker knows her audience and subject matter well. She presents her work on learning strategies in a way that is interesting and memorable.
Kathleen regularly speaks at international conferences and is the go-to person for local student organizations.
Some of the organizations that have invited Ms. Straker to present include:
- Generalists in Medical Education (GME)
- Student National Medical Association (SNMA), UT Chapter
- Undergraduate Medical Academy (UMA) Pre-Health Science Summit
- National League for Nursing (NLN)
- Professional Nurse Educators Group (PNEG)
- Camp Cardiac
- Education Policy Institute (EPI)
Our Team of Experts
Kathleen Straker, MEd
Kathleen Straker is President of The Straker Group, LLC. She is a master’s-prepared educator and reading specialist with more than two decades of experience in teaching study strategies. The workshops she teaches have helped thousands of students graduate to careers in nursing, allopathic and veterinary medicine, and research.
Richard Straker, MS
Rick Straker has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of consulting, training, and management roles in the public and private sectors. He has substantial expertise in learning and behavior change and is co-founder of The Straker Group.
Eugenia Kelman, PhD
Eugenia Kelman is a cognitive-behavioral psychologist. She has served on the faculty and in the administration at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO; University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX and at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Her favorite question is, “What can I learn from this?”