Tag Archives: Study tips

#StudiousSeptember: Satisfying Study Sessions

19 Sep

Now that the semester is underway and the homework is rolling in, it’s time to study! While we usually meet this challenge without much enthusiasm, it is possible to make it an event to look forward to.

Spoil Thyself!

Have a well-deserved treat when you put your study time in! Small rewards like this will give you a little boost in your day.

Having a little caffeine can help your brain along. Try curling up in a café to do your assigned readings in caffeinated comfort. Even taking yourself out for a long lunch can make a thankless homework task into the highlight of your day.

Make Peace, Not Grief

Find a spot that evokes a sense of peace so you can study longer without struggling to sit still. The summer is almost over and the lawns are cool and green. There are tons of hidden benches and shady trees to give you a seat with sitting in, they’re the perfect places to have a meditative study session.

Having a regular study space set up at home can really help. Once you’ve established a spot that puts you in study mode, your brain will automatically know what you’re up to when you sit down. Since the hardest part is getting started, this will make things much easier in the long run.

If you find yourself getting distracted, try putting your headphones on and listening to some music. This is almost like putting the blinders on a horse so that he focuses on the road ahead.

That being said, limit your access to text messages, Netflix, and social media while you work. Maybe make a post letting your friends know that you’re getting ready to bear down for an hour or two. They’ll totally understand.

Organize to Limit Suffering

Have you ever looked at all of your papers, folders, books and handouts in a pile and felt like your head was going to explode? Getting overwhelmed is a good thing to avoid and a simple problem to solve.

If you know what’s on your syllabus, you can break things into steps and prioritize. Is it more important to study for a quiz that’s worth 15% or and exam that’s worth 40%? Making lists, writing your syllabus dates and deadlines on a calendar, or using the library’s assignment scheduler can help you. Not only will you know what to do with your study session, but you’ll be able to look ahead. Check out Think Tank’s “Semester on a Page” for a cool organizational tool.

Once you have your to-do list made, it’s time to knock it out. If you’re taking your studies out for a night on the town, be sure to pack your chargers, writing utensils, scratch paper and all of your materials for the classes you’re working on. The last thing you want to do is to get settled in only to find that you’ve brought the wrong book.

If you know you’ll be struggling with the material from a class as you study it, go where the help is! Getting stuck or stumped can be an important part of the learning process, but you want to connect to the resources around you before you get frustrated. Study near your professor’s office during their office hours, bring your work to Think Tank, or make a study group to give yourself a support network.

By spoiling yourself, seeking out your study oasis and breaking big tasks into small steps, you’ll set yourself up for success this semester.

Keep calm and study happily!



No More Cramming!

22 Nov

Cramming the night before exams is not only stressful, but also the least effective studying method. It is quite possibly the worst thing you could do to yourself during finals week. When you have three to four tests in one week, it’s important to spread out the studying accordingly, so you’re not attempting to memorize a semester’s worth of knowledge in one nightmarish all-nighter.


To aid you in this endeavor, I have created a simple 10-day guide on how to split up the studying for each class. I will use my classes from last year, my freshman year, as an example, but you can tailor the schedule to your classes accordingly.

CHEM 151 (chemistry)

MATH 129  (calculus)

COMM 101 (communication)

ENG 109  (English)


First, organize all of your notes, homework, and tests from each class into units (i.e. the chapters of each test). Be sure to make note of what is required for each class’ final, whether it be a cumulative test, final project, or paper.

Chemistry – 4 units, cumulative test

Calculus – 5 units, cumulative test

Communication – 1 non-cumulative test, study guide given

English – final paper




Second, once you have everything you need to study and complete, you can start spreading out the work and assigning a to-do list for each day. This is the key step. Create a study schedule and stick to it. (See the example study schedule below that I created for myself last year).



I use little sticky notes on the right side of my notes to mark important information, so I know what I should review on the night before the exam.


On the day of your exam, the most important thing to do is eat a good breakfast!  No one can concentrate and perform their best if they have a grumbling stomach. Be sure to fill up on fresh fruit and whole grains, stay away from sugary cereals and fried foods which will make you feel bloated. Relax and take a deep breath before walking into the classroom; then smile and know that you’re going to do great because you got a full night’s sleep and prepared well.

— Kaelyn Garner

CONNECT: Still have questions about study tips? Want to know how to find a tutor? Just holler. Tweet your questions and we’ll respond! @WildcatConnect #WildcatConnections

Travel the Road to College Success

30 Aug

The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. –Vince Lombardi

Coming back from summer is extremely hard. I mean, who doesn’t love being home, waking up at noon, and most importantly, not having to read three chapters for each class?


Obviously, life-changing trips where you were busy cliff-jumping or getting lost in an unknown city, make transitioning to alarm-clock wake-ups, and monotonous traffic jams even more difficult.

I hate to break the bad news, but summer is over, despite the fact that it’s still one hundred degrees in Tucson. It’s the perfect time, though, to find ways to maximize our energy in school and set ourselves up for success.

Recalling freshman year, I was anxious and excited to start. However, it was really hard to get back into the groove. (No, not like The Emperor’s New Groove). As a senior now, I have been able to try different strategies to maximize the time I can dedicate to school, clubs, and work, while still being successful in school.

One of the things that I am really good at is checking my email and course Web sites on Desire to Learn (D2L).

d2l screenshot

I would highly recommend that this is checked every day. Professors use the news section of D2L to make announcements like a cancelled class, an assignment’s date-change, and any altered homework. Then, when you walk into class, they expect you to know everything! (Unless, of course, your class is cancelled. If you don’t check D2L, you won’t know that no one will arrive to class except you).

Things can get crazy!


Time management is extremely important in determining success. My first semester, I didn’t really plan ahead for anything, and worked on a lot of assignments last minute (which is not at all what you should be doing). If you have a planner (if not, you can use Google calendar), be sure to add all major dates for papers and exams from each class. You can find this information on the course’s syllabus, or unit schedule. If you joined any clubs, you should also add important events. By doing this ahead of time, you will know when you will be the busiest, and you won’t feel overwhelmed. Better yet, assignments won’t catch you off guard.

I also think that it is extremely important to keep a balance of school and social life. Have fun!


Go to the movies with friends (make sure you show your CatCard to get the student discount), get Starbucks, or watch our Wildcats in various sports. Last year, UA’s own Brigetta Barrett (Track and Field) won the 2013 Pac-12 Woman of the Year! The options are endless, but like I’ve mentioned before, manage your time. Hanging out with friends is always an option, finishing and turning in that important homework assignment is not.

Maintaining a balance is also important for your mental health; I don’t want you to be unhealthy. If we don’t manage an equal balance between our social and academic life, we may start missing classes due to illness or stress.  No one wants that.

With all of this said, setting yourself up for success is a long, but attainable road. We won’t always get it right the first time, or even the second. The most important thing to remember is persistence. Keep your eyes on the prize. Many times, we might feel like the finish line is so far away, but it’s important to take a step back and see how much progress has been made.

Starting these habits your freshman year will help you navigate the road. This way, by your senior year, you will know all of the dips and turns, all of the detours and, of course the scenic vistas, on your journey to success at the University of Arizona.


–Veronica Atondo