Prioritize what has to be accomplished – and when. This includes reading assignments, note-review, lab work, test preparation, and leisure time.

Construct on a calendar or notebook what you need to do each day in order to complete these tasks: determine the number of pages to read, or how much of a lab to complete, or how much serious time will be allotted to note-review. You may even wish to set definite time periods for each, but the key is getting them done.

Avoid clustering the same subjects together – mete things out evenly.

Determine your study-space: everyone has place that is most conducive to effective study. Become accustomed to regularly studying there. It should be comfortable, quiet, and permits the least distraction. For the longer stretches, allow yourself a few breaks, where you can relax your mind for 10 minutes or so. It is best not to allow social distractions here, though.

With this strategy in place, the best possible outcome is certain!


Taking Exams

The Notes

In general, it is helpful early on to concentrate your class notes in the following way:

  • Read through your notes once, and don’t worry about everything making sense: you’ve just started, after all.
  • Then read through your notes a second time, highlighting those items which are important, and those which present you with difficulties.
  • Now transcribe onto a separate few sheets of paper an outline of those highlighted points, elaborating only those points where you feel you’re weak. You’re notes are shrinking.
  • Clarify the stubborn problem areas with your classmate(s) – or your Professor.
  • And, lastly, study your revised and concentrated notes with confidence – the rest, you will find, have been mastered and require only a glance or two.
Following this method puts you in complete control: as far as studying your class notes is concerned, you have covered all bases and followed a wise course: the rest is fate, which should be interesting to you, but certainly not fearsome.

The Test

If the type of exam is an Objective or Essay exam, you will want to, first, concentrate your notes as above, stressing general concepts, definitions, and item-lists. Organize the ideas and concepts into distinct categories and place them, if possible, into appropriate groups and sub-groups (hierarchies): prepare examples around each. Oftentimes, mnemonics are useful – e.g., Roy G. Biv, which is the spectrum of visible light from red to violet. At all times, be able to trace your concepts or exemplifications back to your simplified outline or idea/concept hierarchy.

If the type of exam is a Quantitative Exam, everything hinges on mastering the relevant formulas and the persistent practicing of assigned problems.

Other Academic Resources

The Writing Center - provides free tutoring by graduate students in the English Dept. Library North 1209. Telephone: 777-6725
Center for Academic Excellence - offers free peer tutoring in a wide range of subjects. College-in-the-Woods. Telephone: 777-9235