Top 10 Academic Strategies

  1. Attend all classes—don’t miss. This is the best way to ensure you stay on top of things and get the content.
  2. Use a planner. Get organized and include all your classes, assignments, and exams in your planner for the semester. Set aside blocks of time every day for studying—that will help hold you accountable and make sure you put in the time. Don’t forget to include exercise time and leave some free time for fun and relaxation.
  3. Take notes in class. There are many different methods—find one that works for you and use it every class period. Write them and don’t type them for the best results. Take time afterward to review them, clean them up, and organize them—this will help you learn the information.
  4. Get enough sleep. Insomnia is common in college because we don’t go to bed and get up at the same time every day like we did in high school. Make that a habit again and get better sleep.
  5. Turn in all homework and assignments—don’t get 0’s. If you get behind or aren’t satisfied with your work, it is still far better to submit something. Your class average if you made 100 on one assignment and a 0 on another is an F (50%). If you turn in something on the second assignment and only get 60 points, your class average is still a B (80%).
  6. Start studying for exams at least 5 days ahead of time. This allows time for the information to sink in and become memorized, as well as gives you time to get extra help if you get stuck. Use the 5-Day Test Prep Method (a classic).
  7. Identify your peak performance time of day and capitalize on this. Are you more alert and focused in the morning, evening, afternoon? Put in your study time during this time of day.
  8. Take a 10-15 minute break for each 45 minutes of study time. Do something active during this time (take a quick walk, stretch, jog)—don’t get on your phone or computer and get distracted. Your brain needs time to reset after studying hard, so give it this time and then get back to it.
  9. Foster a working relationship with your professors. They are the best source for information and learning. Go to their office hours and ask questions about the course and how to perform better.
  10. Develop a positive attitude about academics. No matter how you’ve performed in the past, you can do better if you put your mind and effort to it. Replace negative self-talk with positive selftalk (“I’ll never pass this class” with “I’ve worked hard and will do well in this class”). Attitude largely impacts performance.