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Study Tips for the New Semester

by Sarah Petersen
Academic Adviser, Psychological Sciences Student Community

So your new year has begun and with it will come a new semester. If you're like many students, your new year's resolution may be to "do better in school," but how can you actualize this vaguest of goals and end your spring semester with the GPA you want? By using concrete study strategies like these!! Read on for inspiration and ideas about improving your study skills . . . .

  • Study during your "odd hours"! The bus, the barbershop, the bar (!) bring SOMETHING along to study wherever you go. Getting stuck waiting somewhere can mean getting ahead in class, learning new vocabulary terms, memorizing a new chemical formula! This habit will not make you a geek -- it will only improve your confidence as a student.

  • Sleep. Really. Maybe you've been sleep deprived for so long you can't remember what it's like not to fall asleep accidentally every afternoon. If so, try giving yourself 7-8 hours of sleep sometime ON A SCHOOLNIGHT (weekends don't count for this experiment) and see what a difference it makes. Are you more focused during the day? More productive? Good! Now do it again . . . .

  • Find 3 places you like to study on campus! Personalizing your own internal "map" of campus in this way will make it a more study-friendly environment for you. And make sure at least one of the study spots does not require you to buy anything to have a seat! Being short on cash should not mean you can't get any work done today.

  • Limit your blocks of study time to no more than two hours on any one course at a time. Studying the same material for too long leads to boredom and fatigue. Taking a break and then switching to some other course will increase your efficiency.

  • EVEN YOU can learn to manage your time! Yes, you can! To find great time-management tips right here on campus, visit 109 Eddy Hall on the East Bank, home of University Counseling and Consulting Services (UCCS). They have handouts full of tips as well as one-on-one sessions with experts who are there to help you draw up your own personalized study plan. Sound good? Call 624-3323 to set up an appointment or just stop by.

  • Enlist the support of others when changing old habits. Research shows that those who do are more successful at turning bad habits into new-found skills. Find a person who will support your success and encourage you to keep improving despite setbacks. Finding another friend who also wants to improve time management gives you both creative opportunities for mutual problem solving, "contracting" with each other (promising someone else you'll study can be a real incentive), and support.

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