Study Skills

Try making a study plan.  A planned approach to studying helps organize your time and prioritize your assignments.  Steps include:

  • At the beginning of each semester, create a list of exams, assignments and due dates.  Your professor should give you a syllabus at the beginning of class that includes those dates.
  • At the beginning of each week, create a study plan using either a paper or digital planner/schedule. 
    • First, write down all your commitments for the week (class, work, activities, meetings, eating, sleeping). 
    • Next, find blocks of unscheduled time that you can use for studying. 
    • Be specific and include what you’ll be studying and where. 
    • Prioritize exams and due dates for assignments.
  • Each morning, review your plan.
  • Other things to consider:
    • Schedule more intense studying during periods of time that you usually have more energy and ability to focus.  Many people are most productive in the early afternoon, but this can vary. 
    • It might work best if you go somewhere to study instead of studying at home.  Doing this will cut down on distractions. 
    • At your scheduled time, gather your materials and go to you study place.  You are more likely to study once you are there.
    • Focus on doing one thing at a time.

More ideas about making a study plan can be found at: (4-minute video about making a study plan using SMART goals)

If you have a big task such as writing a paper or creating a presentation, creating a list of smaller steps can be useful.  You can then add the steps to your study schedule and space them out during the semester: (2 minutes)

Consider using the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique helps you break your study time into doable chunks. Usually, two-hour blocks work best for most.  Set a time for 25 minutes of studying.  When the timer goes off take a 5-minute break.  After two hours take a longer break (15-20 minutes).  During your breaks, move around a bit, stretch or take a short walk.  Don’t be afraid to experiment a little.  Your brain may work better with longer study or break periods.  The idea is to focus for a set period of time and then to give yourself a set time for a break before beginning again.

The following works well to help you pace your studying and remember what you’ve studied.  If you follow this system, you will probably need less time to study for exams because you’ve already learned much of the material.

  • Prepare for class
    • Read all assigned readings and do any math problems.
      • If you don’t have time to do all the reading, preview the readings.  Previewing provides scaffolding for the lecture.  However, if you use the preview method, you will need to go back after the lecture to read the parts you didn’t understand. 
      • Math is a doing activity.   You must do the problems to learn math. 
    • For reading textbooks try the Updated SQ3R (Survey, Question, Rephrase, Recall, Repetition). Using this method his gives your brain an outline or idea of what you are going to read, you read it and then review it – therefore you are storing the material in different ways.   
    • Here are some tips for using digital materials
  • Go to class, listen to lectures, and take notes
    • Use the Cornell Note taking technique, which allows you to take notes on your notes
  • Within 24 hours review the notes: material should still be in short term memory and you can fill in and summarize using the Cornell system.  It also helps you recognize what you don’t understand so you can ask questions next time you’re in class or when during your professor’s office hours.

If you need more help:

PLEASE go to your professor’s office hours or ask the prof or TA for extra help.  There are several advantages to doing this.  The following discusses why going to office hours is important and how to ask for help: (3.5 minutes)

 Try UA tutoring:

Writing and Math Tutoring:

Subject Tutoring: