Study Skills & Tips

Learning study skills is the first step toward becoming a successful student.

Tips for How to Study

One of the most important questions one can ask himself or herself is what kind of learner am I. Knowing the answer will help you learn how to study more effectively and efficiently.

  • Break large assignments into smaller pieces to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  • Use recall association. These are tricks to help you remember things. Create a song, stories, pictures, word puzzles, and mnemonic phrases.
  • Make flashcards and use the Leitner System to study the flashcards.
  • Summarize your notes and draw connections between concepts.
  • Reorganize your notes and create lists of concepts and questions you don’t understand.
  • Do practice problems. Often times your textbooks have practice problems but if not, ask your teacher or a tutor to help you.
  • Create your own study guide.
  • Join or create a study group.
  • Be the teacher. Teaching the information to others is one of the best ways to figure out what you know and don’t know. You can teach it to your family, friends, classmates, or a tutor.
  1. Set a Goal (1 – 2 minutes) Decide what you want to accomplish in your study session.
  2. Study with Focus (30 – 50 minutes) Interact with the material. Use your chosen study strategy.
  3. Reward yourself (10 – 15 minutes) Take a break to do anything but work. Call someone, play a short game, get a snack, anything to help your brain relax and refocus.
  4. Review (5 minutes) Go over what you just studied.

What is brain fatigue? When your brain is exhausted and unable to function properly. It occurs after working for long periods of time without a break and can make you mentally and emotionally drained.

  • Keep an eye out for symptoms like being easily distracted, feeling overly tired or anxious, getting frustrated with yourself or others, and having a lack of interest or sense of achievement.
  • Take 5-10-minute breaks every hour to talk to others or scroll social media.
  • For study sessions, set achievable goals that aren’t overwhelming.
  • Get your blood flowing by taking a walk or doing some other exercises.
  • Drink water and have snacks to keep your body fueled.

Tips for Classroom Success

  • Get your textbooks before classes start so you aren’t waiting for them later.
  • Start getting your sleeping habits back to normal so you aren’t tired during class.
  • Take a walk around campus! Scout out your classroom and a place to study.
  • Introduce yourself to your instructors.
  • Locate important resources like the library, cafeteria, and Tiger Learning Center!
  • Collect your school supplies in one place. Get more if you need to.
  • Read your syllabi and put any important dates and assignments on your calendar.
  • The night before, charge your phone and set your alarm. Can’t miss the first day!
  • Come with a list of questions already prepared. These can be concepts you are confused about or specific homework questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If we say something that you don’t understand, let us know! We can rephrase concepts and explanations to help clarify understanding.
  • Come prepared! Make sure to bring your homework, notes, and textbook.
  • After getting help with a paper, make the corrections and have a different tutor take a second look. Every tutor has their own perspectives and will be able to point out different areas of improvement.
  • Remember tutors NEVER judge you. As long as you are doing your best, we will work with you until you “get it” and then we will celebrate your achievements with you.
  • After a tutor helps you, explain the concept back to them in your own words. This will help make sure you know the concept before you both move on.
  • Use the tutors as study buddies! We can quiz you on the material and help you prepare for exams.

Study Tips for Math

OK, so math makes a lot of people nervous. Is there any hope? You bet there is. Below are a few helpful tips. Maybe they can help take the myth-tery out of math.
  1. No one is alone! Relax. Many people dislike and are nervous about math. Even mathematicians are unsure of themselves and get that sinking, panicky feeling called "math anxiety" when they first confront a new problem.
  2. If there is math anxiety, admit it. If one pretends not to have it, he or she will not learn to overcome or manage it.
  3. Practice a little math each day. (Mozart did not learn how to play the piano just by watching.)
  4. Ask questions. Some people think asking questions is a sign of weakness. It's not. It's a sign of strength. In fact, other students will be glad. (They have questions too.)
  5. Do math in a way that's natural.  There's often more than one way to work a math problem. Maybe the teacher's way stumps a student at first. Don't give up. Work to understand it in a way that is comfortable. Then it will be easier to understand it the teacher's way. Remember, "Each mind has its own method."
  6. Notice the handwriting when doing math. The sloppier it gets the more confused or angry one becomes. When it gets really sloppy, STOP. Look away for a few seconds. Then erase the messy parts. Start again. Try to not let attitude interfere with learning math.
  7. Know the basics. Review math from earlier grades. Maybe a student missed something. Face it: math builds on itself. One has to go back and relearn it. (Don't think, "I couldn't learn it before, so I can't learn it now." Remember, it's never too late to learn.
  8. Don't go by memory alone. Try to understand math. Memorizing is a real trap. When one is nervous, memory is the first to go.
  9. Trouble with the text? Get another math book. Maybe a book in the library will explain things better.
  10. Get help. Everyone needs help now and then. Try to form a study group with friends. Two heads (or three) are better than one. Get a tutor, or take a review course.
  • Learn how to relax before tests are taken.
  • Use a good math note-taking system.
  • Spend as much time on math homework as needed.
  • Complete your most difficult homework assignments first. Usually, this means math homework.
  • Read ahead in the math textbook and prepare questions for the instructor.
  • For each chapter, prepare your own list of math vocabulary words.
  • Find a study buddy and set up group study times.
  • Develop practice tests and time yourself while taking them.
  • Read ahead in your textbook and make an informal outline.
  • For practice, do all the example problems in the text.
  • While doing homework, write down questions for the instructor/tutor.
  • Be aware of time allotted while taking a math test.
  • Make sure you attend every math class.
  • Schedule a study period after your math class.
  • For difficult topics, review the video tapes before going to class.
  • Verbalize (silently) problems the instructor writes on the board. Solve the problem or silently verbalize each solution step.
  • Meet instructors before actually signing up for the class. Compare your learning style to their instructional style.
  • Make note cards to remind yourself how to solve various types of math problems.
  • Get help early in the semester before you get too lost in course.
  • For understanding, recite back the materials you have read in the math textbook.
  • Take notes on how to solve difficult problems.
  • Copy all information that is written on the board.
  • Do math homework every day.
  • If you miss a class, ask your instructors for permission to attend the same course that is taught at a different time or day. Remember, you are held responsible for material covered in classes that you have missed.
  • Keep up, review notes after class.
  • Take good notes, put everything from the board on paper.
  • Read the text, if you don’t understand, get help.
  • Get a study friend.
  • Have a set time to get math homework. Treat it as a scheduled class.
  • Start at Day One, do homework.
  • Memorize formulas, use flashcards.
  • Rework problems that you missed on the homework.
  • Read the full question.
  • Analyze and Compute.
  • Given/Find/Need:
    • what's given?
    • what do I need to find?
    • what to I need to do?
  • Draw pictures, it can simplify problem.
  • Use a calculator, do calculations twice.
  • Check your results, do the problem again another way.