Student sitting in a circle in Chapman University's Attallah Piazza
First Year Experience

» Ten Tips to Help Survive Your Academic Journey

1. If you haven't already registered ...

Try not to schedule back to back classes. You'll wear yourself out besides missing the best times to study--right before and right after class.

2. Begin the first day of class

Know what's expected of you. Take notes from the first day even if it's routine stuff you think you already know.

3. Establish a routine time to study for each class

For every hour you spend in class, you will probably need to study two hours outside class. Studying for each subject should be at the same time, same place, if possible. Study includes more than just doing your homework. You will need to go over your notes from by class, labeling, editing, and making sure you understand them. Study your syllabus daily to see where you are going and where you have been. Be sure to do reading assignments. (Don't put them off just because there's not a written assignment.) Read ahead whenever possible. Prepare for each class as if there will be a pop quiz.

4. Establish a place to study

Your place should have a desk, comfortable chair, good lighting, all the supplies you need, etc., and of course, should be as free of distractions as possible. It should not be a place where you routinely do other things. It should your study place.

5. Do as much of your studying in the daytime as you can

What takes you an hour to do during the day may take you an hour and a half at night.

6. Schedule breaks

Take a ten minute break after every hour of study. If possible, avoid long blocks of time for studying. Spread out several short study sessions during the day.

7. Make use of study resources on campus

Find out about and use labs, tutors, videos, computer programs, and alternate texts. Sign up for an orientation session in the campus library and computer facilities. Get to know your professors and advisors.

Ask questions. "I didn't know," or "I didn't understand" is never an excuse.

8. Find at least one or two students in each class to study with

Studies show that students who study with someone routinely make better grades. You will probably find yourself more motivated if you know someone else cares about what you are doing in the class. Teaching a concept or new idea to someone else is a sure way for you to understand it. Studying in a group or with a partner can sometimes become too social. It is important to stay focused.

9. Study the hardest subject first

Work on your hardest subjects at a time when you are fresh. Putting them off until you're tired compounds the problem.

10. Be good to yourself

Studying on four hours of sleep and an empty stomach or junk-food diet is a waste of time. Avoid food and drink containing caffeine just before or just after studying.

Practicing College Learning Strategies , 3rd edition by Carolyn Hopper published by Houghton Mifflin, 2003

For more study skills and learning strategies you might want to consider visiting an Academic Mentor in the Tutoring, Testing, and Learning Center