We’ve organized the Learning Corner website to allow you to browse and navigate different topic areas based on topics you’re interested in exploring or that will help you improve your learning. If you’re looking for general success strategies or if you’re unsure of where to begin, we recommend these starting points:

  • Check out the handout “Zero to Success in 77 Days” which provides a week by week list of how to navigate the entire term.
  • Take the “Study Habits Inventory” (by Slate & Jones, and listed in Hazard & Nadeau, 2009) and score your answers. Do you see any themes? Are there areas of your academic success that need more development? Use the results to decide what work on next!
  • Set up a meeting with an academic coach at the Academic Success Center to talk about what’s working and what needs improvement when it comes to your academic success.
  • Check out some of our favorite books that give students information on being successful in college:
    • Cuseo, J. B., Fecas, V.S., Thompson, A. (2007). Thriving in College & Beyond: Research-based strategies for academic success & personal development. Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.
    • Pauk, W. (1984) How to Study in College, 3rd Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    • Van Blerkom, D.L. (2010). Orientation to College Learning, 6th ed. Boston: Wadsworth.

Our recommendations for students who say:

 “I can't concentrate"

I hate reading"

I can’t remember what I study

I’m a procrastinator

My test grades are low because I get test anxiety

“I can't concentrate"

Not being able to concentrate makes it difficult to focus when reading, taking notes, or studying. This can negatively impact your ability to store information in your long term memory for later use on tests or papers.  When students say they can’t concentrate, there are many things that might be going on. Here are a few pages that can help you learn more about this issue:

  • Concentration & Distractions - Learn tips for creating a good study environment and for identifying and monitoring your distractions. 
  • Reading Strategies - Try out these strategies for becoming an effective reader.  When reading, you can focus more intently if you have a purpose and plan prior to reading.  Using reading strategies can help you pay attention as you read, take effective notes while reading, and retain information that you've read.
  • Test Preparation & Studying - Discover study activities that keep you engaged during your study sessions.  Learn strategies for success with different exam types (multiple choice, essay, short answer, etc.).

 “I hate reading"

Reading textbooks in college might not have the same appeal as reading a novel, magazine, comic, Twitter, or Facebook. While you may not always enjoy your course textbooks, reading has an important function in college, and learning to read effectively can be beneficial for your study process.  Here are a few pages that can help you learn more about issue:

  • Reading Strategies - Read actively to find main ideas, to discover answers to questions, and to create notes and study guides for later review.
  • Goal Setting - Divide your reading into manageable chunks, set aside time to get that reading done, and reward yourself when you accomplish your goal.
  • The Memory Process - Focus on understanding the information you’re reading, monitoring your comprehension, and engaging personally with the reading. Try to connect the reading to what you already know or to a topic that is personally relevant to you.
  • Concentration & Distractions - Create an environment for reading that maximizes your ability to concentrate. Discover the best environment for you and the situations that either distract you or promote concentration. 
  • Positive Mindset - A positive attitude will help you concentrate on the material and retain it more effectively.  Dwelling on the fact that you dislike reading can use valuable time and distract you from the reading.

“I can’t remember what I study”

There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the end of a study session and realizing you can’t remember what you were working on. Here are a few pages that can help you learn more about this issue:

  • The Memory Process - Learn about the process by which information gets transferred into your long-term memory. Once you are familiar with the process, you can apply memory strategies to your reading, note-taking, and studying.
  • Time Management - Use time management techniques and test preparation planning to make sure you have enough time for studying effectively throughout the term. 
  • Test Preparation & Studying -  Find examples, connections, anecdotes and other interesting pieces of information to make the material relevant and exciting.  Find ways to engage with material that go beyond passive re-reading of your notes or textbook.  Use active learning strategies to fully engage with the material and commit it to memory.

“I’m a procrastinator”

Everyone procrastinates a little bit. By identifying yourself as a procrastinator, you limit your ability to see yourself as someone who can plan ahead and manage time well. In reality, there are many techniques and strategies that can help you limit your procrastination tendencies and be more productive with your time. Here are a few pages that can help you learn more about this issue:

  • Time Management - Time management techniques are a good start to counteracting procrastination.  If you plan how to spend your time, you are more likely to commit to an effective process for getting your work done.
  • Goal Setting - Setting realistic goals can generate energy around getting work started and completed.  If you an identify a support system for your goals (friends, family, study groups), you are more likely to remain accountable and accomplish those goals.
  • Managing Procrastination - Understand how procrastination occurs and review worksheets, time budgets, and other websites that can help you identify strategies that will help you stay focused on getting your work done. 

“My test grades are low because I get test anxiety”

There are many factors involved in how well you perform on tests or whether you experience test anxiety. You may feel like you "blanked" and couldn't recall information, like you didn’t earn the grade you expected on the exam, or like you got to the exam and didn’t have a chance to show what you knew. Here are a few pages that can help you learn more about this issue:

  • Test Preparation & Studying - Feelings of test anxiety may actually be the feelings of stress when you realize you didn’t prepare adequately for the exam.  Learn strategies for effective studying prior to exams and for planning for specific exam types (multiple choice, short essay, true/false, etc.).
  • Test Taking - Have a plan for the day, hours and minutes leading up to the exam. A strong plan and a set ritual can help you relax before the exam. Learn strategies to apply during exams if you feel stuck or like you can't recall information.
  • Test-Anxiety – Learn about some of the general causes of test anxiety and some of the techniques you can use to manage that anxiety before and during a test.
  • Using Resources - Seek out resources that help you master material and prepare for the test. Learn about techniques that can help you feel more confident in your preparation, like forming an effective study group or visiting office hours.
  • Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) - Work with a counselor on strategies for test anxiety, general anxiety, and stress. Students can meet with counselors for free, as the meetings are covered by student fees.

 

Elements adapted from Hirsch, G. (2001). Helping College Students Succeed: A Model for Effective Intervention. Ann Arbor, MI: Sheridan Books