Study Tips for the New Semester!
Now that 2013 and a new semester are upon us, you may have resolved to be more organized or to get higher grades in your classes. We are here to help, with some handy tips on how to better prepare yourself for educational success this year!
Take Notes on ALL Readings
This may come as a surprise to some students, but you should be taking notes on your readings. Some people may not see the point of note taking, but it is necessary if you want to do well on your exams. If you haven’t started already, start as soon as possible. Course readings are usually on the exam. Taking notes on each reading will ensure you have a brief summary that will save you from having to read it again come exam time.
Start Organizing Study Groups
Starting a study group is a great way to get ready for exams. Try talking to fellow students and sending out e-mails to see who is interested in joining a study group. A study group allows you to share lecture notes, divide up the chapters and share these notes amongst yourselves, get new perspectives on the material (this can be especially beneficial if you are struggling with certain concepts), and test one another on course concepts. Meeting with the study group may also point out some important course concepts that you have neglected to include in your study notes. Consider asking your Teaching Assistant to meet with your study group and help to facilitate a course review.
Review and Revise Your Lecture Notes
Yes, it is early in the course, but it’s never too early to start reviewing your lecture notes. Reviewing your lecture notes ensures you have the opportunity to re-engage with course material before your exams start. You could review your notes after class, later in the week, or while you prepare for next week’s class. The more you engage with the material, the more you’ll absorb and understand. As you engage more with the material and develop a deeper understanding of course concepts, you should revise your notes and focus on concepts that are more difficult.
Start Researching Papers Early
As soon as your professor hands out the instructions for your first assignment, you need to start doing preliminary research on your topic. Starting early allows you to find key resources, including books, which may come in limited quantities from the library. It also allows you to approach your Teaching Assistant or Professor about your topic. Both your Teaching Assistant and Professor are there to provide guidance through the research process. They can provide you with vital information that can help you find appropriate resources, ensure you’re on the right track with your assignment, and look over early paper outlines to ensure you have a good grasp of your topic.
Use the Library
Many students attempt to do as much research as possible on the Internet. Although you can certainly find many quality sources online, particularly through online journal databases, this can limit the resources used for your assignment. Using the library allows you to not only access major scholarly books that are relevant to your field of study, but also allows you to discuss issues with the librarian, who can give advice on where to look for offline resources, and even suggest some materials you have yet to consider. Most university libraries also host workshops on how to research effectively and how to use the library to your advantage. Explore these workshops and use your library. It will definitely pay off when you get that final grade! Professors and Teaching Assistants like to see that you used a wide-range of resources.