Your first year at Great Lakes is filled with exciting transitions. You may negotiate some of them quite easily, and you may encounter other that require determination and resilience. As you consider the many possibilities available here, we encourage you to make careful selections and to engage deeply with your studies.

Your Great Lakes education offers choices from your very first semester. What are your keenest interests? How do they align with our programs? Which courses will build a foundation for exploring your interests? Which courses would allow you to explore areas of potential interest? If you work closely with your academic advisor, these questions need not be daunting! In fact, many students find the process of designing an academic program thought provoking and fun.

 

First-Year Academic Program

At Great Lakes College, community is very important to us.

Each incoming student at Great Lakes is paired with a professor-advisor who is there to offer support and guidance throughout the course of your first year. You’ll be introduced to our academic environment through participation in a First-Year Seminar, and a focus on developing skills like critical thinking and analysis, writing and library research. You also have the option of living in a Residential Learning Community with fellow students who share your interests.

 

Strategies, Organization, & Planning Resources (SOPR)

View each section below to find a wealth of planning tools, apps, and strategic guidance, created by SOPR's Dean and Director and others, to support your academic success. You can also email sopr@greatlakes.edu to request a time management strategy session.

 

Time Management and Organization

Time Management Workshops will be offered four times a semester. But don't wait, go to the next available session! Each hands-on, customized-for-you workshop will take place on in the Advising Lounge from 12:15-1:00 on the following

Thursdays:

  • January 24,
  • February 7,
  • March 28 and
  • April 11. 

 

To supplement these workshops, students can go to the Academic Advising desk in to request one-on-one time management, organizational, and/or study strategy tutorial sessions with trained Peer Advisors, weekdays from noon to 4 p.m.

 

Study Skills and Strategies

Workshops on developing effective study strategies will be offered four times a semester. But don't wait, go to the next session! Each hands-on, customized-for-you workshop will take place on in the Advising Lounge from 12:15-1:00 on the following

Thursdays:

  • January 31,
  • February 14,
  • April 4 and
  • April 18. 

 

 

To supplement these workshops, students can see a Peer Advisor at the Academic Advising desk to request one-on-one time management, organizational, and/or study strategyl sessions with trained Peer Advisors, any weekday noon to 4pm.

 

Where and When You Study

Your surroundings have a big effect on your efficiency. Recent studies have found that it’s a good idea to plan 3+ study sessions a week (per class) in 2-3 different places. To make the most of where you study, ask yourself…

1.  Is my study place available to me whenever I need it?
2.  Is my study place free from interruptions and distractions?

  • It is important to have uninterrupted study time. Even one hour of study without distraction is more effective than four hours of study with interruptions.
  • Turn off your cell phone or set it to silent. No ring tones + no vibrations = no distractions.
  • Turn off the email alert and IM features on your computer (or just mute all sounds)
  • Don't check your email while studying. Set aside time to read it once you have finished.
  • A great way to take care of distractions is to create several user profiles on your computer. Set one, perhaps called Study, to block access to the internet altogether. Set another to Research, allowing internet access but blocking games and perhaps email. The third, with full access, can be My Time or something similar.

3.  Does my study place have all the materials I need?

  • Be certain that your study place includes reference sources and all of the supplies you generally need (e.g., graph paper, pens/pencils, rulers, calculator, a computer with internet access).
  • If you study best outside your room, check your backpack or bag before heading for the library or Athena cluster to make sure you have everything you'll need.

4.  Does my study place have a large enough desk/table?

  • Use a desk or table large enough to spread out everything you need, so that you don't waste time moving things around.
  • Allow enough room for writing.
  • Try to avoid clutter. 

5.  Does my study place have a comfortable chair?

  • A chair that makes you stiff or fidget will interfere with your studying.
  • A chair that is too comfortable might make you sleepy.
  • Find a chair in which you can sit for at least an hour and still maintain your attention. Then take a stretch break.

6.  Does my study place have enough light?
7.  Does my study place have a comfortable temperature?

  • If it's too warm, you might become sleepy.
  • If it's too cold, you may become distracted.
  • Wear layers so that you can be working at a temperature at which your mind and body function best. 

 

When to Study

Schedule what subject you’ll study when and stick with it! 

Let it become routine like brushing your teeth or tying your shoes. Write down all your class/meeting times and then schedule your study times. Do not ever schedule something else at those times: make them sacred! Choose study times and days when you're likely to feel energetic and have enough time to complete assignments before class. 

  1. Use daylight hours (as much as possible). Research shows that 60 minutes of study during the day is the equivalent of 90 minutes of study at night
    (Walter Pauk, How to Study in College, 6th ed. [Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1989], p. 27).
  2. Plan to study for blocks of time. Generally, studying in one-hour blocks is most effective    (50 minutes of study with a ten-minute break). Shorter periods à reading, studying notes committing things to memory; longer periodsà problem-solving tasks, research, writing papers.
  3. Determine how long you need to study to fully engage with the material you are learning. You should plan for at least 2 hours of studying for every hour a week you’re in class.
  4. Schedule time to review notes before class, and increase the likelihood of absorbing what you’re taught. You’ll be more primed to soak up information if you first “dampen your sponge” (prep your brain with a review of your last notes) before each class.
  5. Summarize new class notes soon after class. THIS IS KEY TEST PREP! You'll remember and understand more if you review your lecture notes immediately after class and write a summary of them. Recognize this “summary of notes” time is information retention and exam preparation. You wouldn’t expect to get buff by going to the gym 5 days before day you want to be in great shape, right? Approach planning for tests in the same way! If questions arise as you review your notes soon after class, you'll have plenty of time to check with a classmate or the instructor to clarify what you missed; it may be something important that you need (and will be tested on) and now’s the time to be sure you have it.
  6. List and do tasks according to priorities. Remember Parkinson's Law: "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” If you allot two hours to read ten pages, it will probably take you the full two hours to complete what might be a 30-minute task.  Make a dent in large projects first and then treat yourself with easier, more enjoyable assignments.
  7. Start long or involved assignments as soon as they’re assigned.  Seriously. You’ll be so glad that you did. Just get them started, and then whittle away at them. There’s no doubt you know that cramming and rushing = poor quality work. Give yourself internal deadlines. If they’re hard to stick to, arrange with someone else (like a tutor, a friend, or your prof) that you’ll bring specified work to them on a specific date—and then do!
  8. Set an agenda and goal for each study period. Be specific, and plan ahead so that you know exactly what task you will accomplish during each study period.
  9. Set a time each week to review your plan for the upcoming week.
    Once you find a schedule that works for you, stick to it. Some days you may not feel like studying at the appointed time, but unless you deem it essential, it won’t become the habit you need it to be.
  10. Reward yourself with something fun when you’re done!

 

Note-Taking

Workshops featuring how to take and use your notes to create effective study strategies will be offered four times this semester. But don't wait, go to the next available session! Each hands-on, customized-for-you workshop will take place on in the Advising Lounge from 12:15-1:00 on the following

Thursdays:

  • January 31,
  • February 14,
  • April 4 and
  • April 18.

 

Strategic Note-taking Guidance

  1. CONSIDER CLASS OVER ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE REVIEWED YOUR NOTES. This may not be only the most important note taking still you learn, but also the most important study skill you learn! If you can adopt this skill, you are on your way to success. However, there’s a huge mental hurdle to jump. You may have been conditioned to think that class is over when the bell rings or the professor has dismissed the class. Instead, remember that class is over when you have reviewed your notes. You may not be able to review your notes immediately after class has been dismissed but make sure you review your notes before the next class.
  2. WRITE ONLY ON ONE SIDE OF THE PAPER! Your notes will be easier to read and the extra page (the back side) provides a place to add notes from your book or examples when you review and study your notes later.
  3. SKIP LINES! Your notebook is not the place to single handedly try to save the rain forest. Space your notes out! Don’t try to cram an hour lecture on to one single piece of paper. Skipping lines allows room to add information later, clearly differentiates new thoughts, and keeps your notes more readable and organized.
  4. LISTEN! It sounds obvious, but it isn’t. To be a good note taker, you can’t simply go to class; you must listen actively. Before class begins, challenge yourself to stay on task and listen. If you mind wanders, make a check at the top of your notes and refocus. Make a check each time you catch yourself wandering. At first you might have a lot of checks. For each class, make it a goal to have one less check. You’ll get better!
  5. TAKE YOUR OWN NOTES. In other words, GO TO CLASS! It is difficult to understand another person’s notes as well as your own. Of course, if you do miss a class, getting another person’s notes is better than no notes at all, but do not make a habit of it.
  6. DISCUSS YOUR NOTES WITH OTHERS. While it is important to take your own notes, it is valuable to talk about your notes with others. If you have a question, you can clarify them with a classmate, a tutor, or your professor. Comparing notes will force you to articulate in your own words what you have noted down.
  7. USE ABBREVIATIONS WISELY! Abbreviations are helpful because they allow you to write more in less time. However, keep your abbreviations simple and consistent. Consider writing abbreviation meanings in the margin to avoid being confused later on by potentially vague or unclear abbreviations.
  8. WHEN IN DOUBT, WRITE IT DOWN. If information or an example seems easy or obvious, don’t fool yourself and neglect to write it down. We forget 80% of what we hear after 30 minutes unless we write it down or rehearse it. If information is important, not it no matter how confident you are that you’ll remember it. Research shows that you won’t.
  9. DON’T LET YOUR OPINIONS INTERFERE WITH YOUR NOTE TAKING. Focus on the content of the information and not the way it is being delivered. Be sure to note the content being presented, even if you disagree with it. If you recorded other classmates’ or your opinions, be sure that they are clearly identified as such.
  10. PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE FIRST AND LAST 5 MINUTES OF CLASS. The first 5 minutes are important because the professor can give you a good idea of what will be discussed in that class. Use this information as a road map that can help you follow along and listen better. The last 5 minutes are critical because the professor may summarize the most important material covered or if he has run out of time, quickly try to present the main points that he hasn’t yet presented. If you are looking at your watch counting the seconds or packing up your things, you might miss critical information.

 

Consolidating Information  

  • Evernote: Downloading Evernote enables you to save every website, document, picture, etc. to your Evernote collection and organize them with tags. Works with practically every computer, phone, and mobile device there it. Use Evernote to save your course syllabus, articles, notes, and power points so that you can access all that you may need for a given course in one location.

 

Mind-Mapping

  • Bubbl: The lite version is free to use for creating your own mind maps almost effortlessly. Create an account and store all that you make.
  • MindMeister is an easy and efficient way to map your ideas and wherever they stem. The account setup itself is easy and a trial is free.

 

Memory Strategies

Workshops featuring how to manage your time (an important aspect of augmenting memory) and how to strategically study so you'll retain what you read and were taught will be offered every Thursday for the first eight weeks of the semester and then for three more weeks following Fall Pause. But don't wait, go to the next available session! Each hands-on, customized-for-you workshop will take place on in the Advising Lounge from 12:15-1:00.

 

Effective Memory Strategies

  1. Monitor Your Comprehension: You can only remember and fully use ideas that you understand. Find ways to monitor your comprehension. Get in the habit of saying to yourself, "Do I understand this?" Always check the logic behind the ideas (i.e., do things happen in a way that you would predict?). If you can see the logic in something, you are much more likely to be able to reconstruct that idea even if you cannot immediately recall it. Also, look out for anything that seems counter-intuitive to you; you are less likely to remember something that does not seem logical or is something that you would not agree with. Evaluate your own comprehension by bouncing your thoughts about a concept or lesson against those of other students. Tutor another student who is having difficulty; if you teach someone else, you reinforce your own knowledge.
  2. Generate Your Own Examples: Go beyond examples provided in class and in the textbook, and bring your general knowledge and experiences into play by relating them to academic ideas. In a relating to a lesson in Biology, relate photosynthesis to that poor potted plant that struggled in your basement; in Sociology, relate symbolic interaction to values that you learned from your parents; in Geography, relate an unfamiliar isthmus to that ocean/bay formation where you went to the beach; in Chemistry, relate reactions of compounds to what happens when cooking ingredients are combined; in Physics, relate acceleration to riding your bike. When you can generate your own examples, you demonstrate your understanding, and your memory is enhanced.
  3. Think in Pictures, Colors, and Shapes: Concrete images are more memorable than abstract ideas, and that is why pictures are such important instructional aids for your instructors and text authors. Practice colorful thinking! Associate your own mental pictures to the academic content. In your class and text notes use color to highlight headings and other key ideas. Use shapes to help you organize ideas; triangles, boxes, flow charts, circles.
  4. Repetition: The more times you go over something, the better your memory will be of that information. However, each time you go through something, try to use a different method so that you are not just repeating exactly the same activity. By varying your approach you will create more connections in long-term memory.
  5. Use Mnemonics: Mnemonics are memory training devices or ways of making associations to aid in remembering. They can be extremely powerful; at the same time, if you overuse mnemonics, you can spend too much time on generating and learning the mnemonics and too little time on real understanding of the material. The economical use of mnemonics to study for a test can be very effective. There are many types of mnemonics and, no doubt, you will have used some of them.
    • Rhymes can be powerful; psychology students will recognize Freud's personality theory in the little rhyme, "Id is the kid!"
    • Acronyms collapse the beginning letters of a set of information into one or a few words; in trigonometry, you can use SOHCAHTOA for right-angled triangles; in French you can use DR and MRS VANDERTRAMPP for verbs that conjugate with être. Most will recognize ROYGBIV as representing the order of the colors in the rainbow, and PEMDOS, for the order of operations in Math.
    • The beginning letters of a set of information can be built into a sentence (called an Acrostic), such that PEMDOS becomes “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” This is particularly useful for a list of items that you need to recall in a specific order.
    • Words in Foreign Languages can be more easily recalled by creating an image of the translation of that word. For example, the word for “rice” in Spanish is “arroz.” That sounds like “arrows,” so you could remember that word by drawing this –> Have fun making flashcards with associative drawings on one side and the vocabulary on the other.

 

12 Great Memory Strategies for Better Grades

“I’m bad at tests.”           

"I knew it yesterday!"        

"I sit down to take a test and my mind goes blank."

These are all things students say when they forget assignments or don't do well on tests. All of us, students and non-students alike, forget important things. This happens when we don't transfer information into long-term memory. It is important to know how to do this in order to do well in school and beyond.

Have you ever noticed that some things are easy for you to remember while others are difficult? For example, you may be able to remember how to put an engine together, or why it rains, but you may have trouble remembering definitions of vocabulary or historic facts. You'll be relieved to know that there's nothing wrong with you; this happens to everyone.

The good news is that there are strategies that can help you remember what you need to remember. The twelve strategies (some of which are called mnemonic devices) introduced below will help you learn how to memorize important information. We know they are effective because they have been helping students at our learning centers for years, not only on homework and tests, but continuing to be valuable in their daily lives.

 

STRATEGY 1. CHUNKING

It is easier to memorize information when you break it up into small chunks. You may not realize it, but you use chunking often, like when you memorize your friend's telephone number, a locker combination, or your social security number. It's easier to remember long numbers when you "chunk" them into groups of threes, fours and fives. That's because most people can only comfortably remember about three, four or five bits of information at a time, with a comfortable max of about seven items.

Here are suggestions on how you can use "chunking" to remember information:

  • Chunk vocabulary words by grouping them by parts of speech or other attributes.
  • Chunk time periods or events by what connects them
  • Chunk foreign language by grouping words into categories like household items or occupations.
  • If there is no pattern to the information you need to study, just group the items into three, four or five at a time, and that will help a lot.

 

STRATEGY 2. UNDERSTANDING

Before you begin trying to memorize something, try to understand it. A good way to do this is by making a connection between what you are learning and what you have experienced. The better you can relate the new information to what you already know, the easier it is to learn. For example, before attempting to memorize events of European history, find the places on a globe (or world map) and see where they are relative to one another and also relative to where you live.

 

STRATEGY 3. RHYMING

We all used rhyming in the ABC song to learn the alphabet. And the rhyme "I before E, except after C, or when it sounds like A as in neighbor or weigh." This is also a great strategy even when learning the times tables. For example, 7 and 7 went down the line to capture number 49; 8 and 4 made some stew and gave it to 32. (Rhymes don't have to make sense!)

 

STRATEGY 4. GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS

These tools help you see things you are trying to learn. They help organize information. There are many different types of graphic organizers. You can even design them yourself.

  • The Venn Diagram for comparing and contrasting
  • a Web for the main topic and details
  • The Cause and Effect Design with the event in the middle box, the causes listed in the left boxes and the effects listed in the right boxes. (The effects and the causes are connected to the event by lines.)
  • The Cycle Organizer consists of shapes drawn in a cyclic pattern with words in each shape to represent things or events that go in cycles. For example, the water cycle.

 

STRATEGY 5. VISUALIZATION

To visualize means to see an image in your head without actually looking at it. Visualization can help you learn almost anything. Here is an example. Let's say the topic is the water cycle. Create a mental image of a cloud. Picture it growing. Now see, and "feel" its heavy cold rain. See the rain hitting the ground, then flowing toward streams and rivers toward the ocean. Now "see" the hot sun hitting and evaporating the water and forming clouds. Get the picture? If you can visualize parts of the water cycle, the boring diagram becomes meaningful and remember-able. In general, if you have trouble visualizing material, try drawing maps, charts, graphs, or pictures.

 

STRATEGY 6. ASSOCIATION

Another learning strategy is to associate, or "connect," each word or event with a person, place, thing, feeling, or situation. For example, you may connect what you are trying to learn with someone you know, or with a movie character or scene. When you have to learn vocabulary words, just write the new words, write the definitions next to them, and then write a person, thing, event, movie, or any strong association to help you remember the meaning of each word. For example, "My altruistic Aunt Alice gives great gifts."

 

STRATEGY 7. TALKING

Here's a strategy that's easy and fun to use, especially if you like to talk! Just talk about the information you have to learn. Tell Grandpa, Mom, a friend, or your dog what you have to learn! Do you want to learn history? Then talk history — discuss, debate, argue. Think of a person who may have lived during a major historical event and pretend to be that person. Now talk about the important events: who was involved, when it happened, where it took place, what happened, and why? If you're learning a language, then speak it at the dinner table. It doesn't matter if others know what you are saying; you do, so you'll learn.

 

STRATEGY 8. WRITING SENTENCES

Do you remember learning the silly sentence "Every good boy does fine" from music class? We used this to remember the notes. You may also have used the sentence "My Very Excellent Mom Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" to remember the planets. (Oops, change the sentence because Pluto is no longer considered a planet). This strategy can even help us learn those extra troublesome spelling words. Just make up a sentence using words that begin with the letters. So, to learn "aardvark," you may make up a nonsense sentence like: Aardvarks Always Run Down Very Angry Rowdy Kids.

 

STRATEGY 9. ACRONYMS

An acronym is a word made up from the first letters of a list of words. Here's how it works. You take the list of words or facts that you want to remember and put them in an order so that the first letters of each word, or the first syllables, spell a real word or a made-up word.

How do you memorize the names of the five Great Lakes? Easy, just remember "HOMES." H=Huron, O=Ontario, M=Michigan, E=Erie, and S=Superior. While this strategy won't help you understand the information, it at least helps you to memorize it. It's easy and fun, and you'll probably remember the information forever. You may be interested in knowing that our company name is an acronym. STRONG stands for: Self-esteem, Trust, Responsibility, Options, Needs, Goals.

 

STRATEGY 10. REHEARSING

When you want to remember information, you have to practice it, or else it fades. So, just as actors need to rehearse in order to remember their lines, students need to rehearse to remember what they are learning. Here are some helpful hints on "rehearsing" whatever information you need to learn for homework or tests:

  • Rehearse for short practice periods (perhaps 30 to 60 minutes) and then take a short ten-minute break to call a friend, have a snack, or shoot some hoops.
  • Use a multisensory approach every time you rehearse: say it, write it, read it, draw it, sing it – do whatever it takes.
  • Just before going to sleep, review everything you will need to know for the next day or for the upcoming test. It's amazing how much more you'll remember if you rehearse the night before.
  • Review in the morning while brushing your teeth, eating breakfast or sitting on the bus.

 

STRATEGY 11. STORYTELLING

Storytelling is a great way to help you remember information in any subject. Write a story by focusing on the key points of what you're learning and arranging them in a logical sequence. It can even be a song or rhyme that tells the story. And there's a bonus: each event in the story triggers your memory of the next event, so you'll remember even more.

 

STRATEGY 12. PLAYING GAMES

Playing games is a great way to memorize information. You see, as you play the game you are learning the material and practicing it over and over again. Games can help you remember facts, formulas, definitions, events or any other information you're trying to learn. Here is an example.

Play Memory, alone or with others, using decks of cards you make from ordinary index cards you cut in half. Create pairs by writing the same number on each of two cards, 1 and 1, 2 and 2, etc. Write the numbers tiny so they will not interfere with play. On each pair, write a question on one card and the answer on the other card. For example, "2x7=" is on one card and "14" is on its pair, or "Where did the Pilgrims land?" is on one card and "Plymouth, Massachusetts" is on its pair. Then shuffle all the cards and play Memory with yourself or with a friend. If you're alone, see how fast you can match up all the pairs. You'll be able to check yourself by making sure the small numbers are the same. Have Fun!

For the Tough Ones: for the pairs that are really hard to remember, make a string "clothes line" between two places on a wall. Hang the pairs next to each other with spring type clothes pins. So, for example, if circle formulas get you down, every time you walk into your room you'll see "C=" and "2*pi*r" and "A=" and "pi*r squared" next to each other. Pretty soon you'll remember the info.

Another example is the many commercially available games to make learning to read easier and fun. A good example is, by using any of the twenty STRONG Learning Phonics Games, children in grades 1-6 can learn important phonics rules while playing popular card games: Go Fish, War, Memory, or Old Maid.

We hope you find that some of these techniques and strategies make it easier for you and your children to remember important things. We also hope that these strategies will help make school days and home nights a whole lot better.

 

Test-Taking Skills

Come to a hands-on, customized-for-you "Test Your Best" workshop in the Advising Lounge from 12:15-1:00 on Thursday, February 21 and April 25.

  • Skim through the whole chapter first to prep your brain for what you’re about to learn. If there’s a summary at the end, read that.
  • Stop and ask a question about each heading. Determine if you can answer such questions as “What is ____” or “What is the impact of _____ on ______?”  When you ask questions about what you’re about to read, you get your brain interested in finding the answer,  such that you’ll not only pay more attention to it, you’ll be more likely to remember it.
  • Use think-aloud strategies whenever possible. (“Ok, so this relates to that, which is a necessary component of…”)
  • Connect what you’re learning about to experiences you’ve had and/or examples in movies, TV, cartoons…something that would be memorable and applicable. The more “out there” the better. Then write it down!
  • Take notes as you go—in the margins, on another piece of paper, on your computer…whatever works for you.
  • Start a “Vocab List” and add new words to it, along with their definitions and any memory aids that will help (mnemonics, like “ROY G BIV” or “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” stick figure drawings, or connections to a class discussion).

 

Maximizing Efficiency and Recall During Test Taking

  • Jot down any information that’s consuming space in your brain that you’ll need for the test
  • Skim the whole test and develop a plan for where to start
  • Read and pay careful attention to all directions and instructions.
  • Decide exactly what the question is asking.
  • Read and respond to items one at a time rather than thinking about the whole test.
  • When you identify wrong answers to eliminate, cross them out.
  • Don't spend too much time on any one question.
  • Skip difficult questions until all other questions have been answered. On a piece of scrap paper, keep a record of all the unanswered items to return to, if time permits.
  • Only change an answer if you discover new information that makes you feel sure the first one you picked was wrong.

 

Before the Test
  • Know the test: Check with the teacher to make sure you know what material will be covered, and that you have all the notes and other materials you will need to adequately prepare.
  • Implement an effective study plan: Space study sessions out over the course of a week, rather than cramming days (or the night!) before. Use a variety of study strategies, and enlist the help friends to quiz you on trouble spots.
  • Use practice tests: Construct practice tests covering the test material. Use the same format your teacher will be using for the real test. Use test taking strategies and simulate testing conditions as much as possible to get yourself used to them. The more experience you have, the less anxious you are apt to be during the real test.
  • Use good coping skills: Find ways to de-stress that take your mind off your studies, at least temporarily. Take breaks from studying, have a snack, or get some physical exercise.
  • Prepare physically: Get a good night’s rest the night before a test, and be sure to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Being sleep or nutrient-deprived will have a direct impact on your ability to access your frontal lobe. You won’t perform at your best if you are tired or hungry.
  • Put things in perspective: Avoid a perfectionist attitude about academic performance. Impossible expectations can increase stress levels and have a negative impact on Planning.
  • Write down all your test-related worries: Studies looking at MRIs of the brain have shown that purging your brain of all your worries just before a test helps to free of cognitive space to dedicate to information retrieval.

 

During the Test
  • Cover parts of the test with a piece of paper if necessary to keep you from getting distracted or overwhelmed. Leave harder questions to come back to later, and make sure you read directions, questions, and possible answers carefully.
  • Try positive self talk. Negative thoughts and beliefs can become self fulfilling prophecies. Try replacing these with more positive affirmations that support and encourage your efforts.
  • When you feel your stress level increasing, stop and consciously relax. Use stress reduction techniques like deep breathing (inhale to the count of 5 and exhale to the count of 5), muscle relaxation (tensing up all of your muscles and then releasing them), stretching or visualizing yourself leaving the testing room afterwards feeling confident and in control.

 

Writing Support

Students can receive support with any type of writing assignment by scheduling appointments with Writing Center tutors. On the Writing Center website, you can also access a wealth of Resources for Writers from professor's guidance, to citation help, to PowerPoint presentations and entertaining podcasts that offer support for all aspects of writing. Although there is no "one right way" to write, and the writing process is not always linear, another helpful online tool to assist writers is an Assignment Calculator which breaks down a writing assignment into manageable steps with due dates for each. There are many available online.

 

 

Quantitative Reasoning Center

The Quantitative Reasoning Center supports students in any course with mathematical content – whether it be in the mathematics, science, social science, or humanities. The QR tutors have been recommended by faculty and trained in techniques based in the science of learning. As such, they help students learn how to learn.

 

The QR tutors have dual purposes:
to assist students in general quantitative areas and

  • To assist students with discipline-specific gateway courses based on the tutor’s area of expertise

The general quantitative areas that any and all of the QR tutors can assist students with are:

  • Organizing an Excel spreadsheet;
  • Making graphs in Excel;
  • Using a scientific calculator;
  • Computing statistics with or without a graphing calculator;
  • Analyzing data sets;
  • Calculating unit conversions;
  • Understanding the order of operations; and
  • Reviewing for the quantitative portion of the GRE.