Set goals

Begin by setting both short and long-term goals for the semester. Make sure your goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Realistic

Use the Goal Setting form to plan out your goals.

Organize your schedule

  • Use a planner or calendar to organize your time
  • As opposed to working from four different syllabi, combine information of what is due onto one calendar
  • Create two schedules: a  Weekly Schedule of where you need to be and when, and a Semester Calendar with specific dates when an assignment or exam is due
  • Place the schedule/calendar on your wall or other location where it becomes a visible reminder of what you need to do next
  • The schedule/calendar also helps to remind you when you have a good deal of work to do and when you will have some lax time. Use it appropriately.

Make the most of the classroom experience

  • Attend every session
  • Minimize distractions by sitting in the front of the class
  • Do your reading ahead of time and be prepared to participate (Making a list of questions or thoughts that you pose to yourself while reading is a great way to come prepared and engage yourself in classroom discussions.)
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions, or ask for clarity if you don’t understand something
  • Communicate directly with your professors as needed
  • Take good notes and review them when possible


  • Taking information in is only half the process of studying. Planning how you will take information out is the other half.
  • Two to three hours of study time for every one hour in class is the recommended minimum study time for college students. For some students, the recommended minimum may not be sufficient to meet the rigors required for personal success.
  • Utilize various methods for studying: reading, research, reviewing lecture notes, watching film, creating summary sheets, using flash cards, developing   concept maps, outlines, or visual aids, participating in study groups or engaging in discussion of the material.
  • Attend one of several study skills workshops held on campus, or meet individually with a learning specialist offered through Academic Advising in order to learn specific skills and strategies for studying.

Prepare for tests

  • Make written notes of what the professor indicates will be on the test
  • When possible, use previous tests as a diagnostic tool to understand where your strengths and weaknesses are and also to gauge how effectively you may be studying and mastering the course materials
  • Consider the various areas from which the test questions might come, including: class lectures and/or discussions, textbooks and other readings, a list of terms, graphs/charts
  • Create a study plan
  • Don’t wait and then cram the day/night before an exam (within 24 hours of reading, you will lose 85% of the information you covered)
  • Frontload your studies by spreading them out over a long period of time (preferably 5 to 7 days in advance) as opposed to the day before
  • Review course material repeatedly so as to move information from short-term to long-term memory (repetition, repetition, repetition)
  • When you prepare in advance, you have time to mull information over, make sense of your new-found knowledge, and connect the information to your life – all of this helps with retention and recall

Plan how you will organize and take information out for the test. Suggested methods:

  • Mnemonics
  • Summary sheets
  • Outlines
  • Concept maps
  • Visual designs
  • Develop essay questions
  • Practice multiple choice questions
  • Flashcards
  • Study groups

Self-advocate for your needs

  • Remember - college is a transition period from high school to the career world
  • Communicate with your professors
  • Learn what services are available on campus, where they are located, and make sure you access them when you need them
  • Seek services and resources on campus when needed