Study Tips

Click to expand the different topics and learn about Learning Services’ Study Tips for Academic Success!

Academic Anxiety & Test Anxiety

Overview: Many students experience academic and test-related anxiety, which can be very overwhelming at times. In this section, we will cover some tips and strategies to manage test anxiety.

Academic Anxiety Tips:

  • Tips for Academic Anxiety will be uploaded soon!

Test Anxiety Tips:

  • Create and take a practice test/practice your speech
  • Visualize yourself taking the test/giving the speech
  • Resist negative self-talk
  • Use relaxation techniques – exercise, breathing, muscle relaxation
  • 10 minutes before the test – write down everything you are worried about. This will clear your working memory so you can focus on the questions
  • 2 minutes before – Eat a peppermint candy. Research shows that the smell of peppermint reduces anxiety, and will help settle your stomach.
  • 1 minute before – Take deep breaths, this will help lower your heart rate
  • At the beginning, do a “memory dump” of formulas, definitions, and information you don’t want to forget
  • During the test read all directions carefully
  • If you blank, take a break and breathe deeply
  • After the test, review to see what mistakes you made
  • Meet with your professor to find out the best ways to prepare for the exams

Being Mindful with the 5 Senses
Tips on Managing Test Anxiety
Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Test Anxiety Strategies: 4-Square Breathing Method
Test Anxiety Strategies 2: Instant Vacation
Test Anxiety Strategies 3: Flower Power

Math & Science Strategies

Overview: Many students struggle with studying for math and science-related classes. In this section, we will cover different tips and strategies for both math and science that students may implement when studying for these courses.

General Tips:

  • Take complete class notes
  • Stay current on your reading and your homework
  • Study every day
  • Do practice problems and quiz yourself
  • Set up a schedule with regular study times
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes on homework, and be sure to review the concepts so you understand them for the test
  • “Teach” the method to someone else

Math Study Strategies
Science Strategies

Videos will be linked here.

The Math Tutoring Center
College of Engineering and Computing Peer Mentor Center

Project Management

Overview: One of the most useful skills to have in college is project management. Many college assignments and projects are long-term and it’s easy to let the deadlines slip away. In this section, we will introduce some tips for managing your projects.


  • When dealing with groups, be sure to assign roles, tasks, and get contact information
  • Create a checklist of tasks with due dates that need to be completed
  • Estimate the time each task will require
  • Determine if tasks can be completed at the same time (parallel) or individually (sequential)
  • Consider the consequences of not meeting your deadlines (allow for wiggle room)
  • Have checkpoints (someone to hold you accountable)

Project Management

GradReCon Project Planning


Overview: A large part of college requires knowing how to read chapters, books, papers, journals, etc. Not just literally, but understanding and digesting the information as you read. In this section, we will introduce methods and strategies to read more effectively. The SQ4R Reading strategy works best with traditional textbooks that have headings. The EVOKER Reading Method will help with readings like literature, prose, or philosophy. Finally, The How to Read Journal Articles focuses on journal articles.


  • Find a quiet environment to read
  • Determine the purpose of the reading
    • Reading to get an overview, reading to get a deeper understanding, or reading to find a source for a paper?
  • Vary reading pace depending on your purpose and familiarity with the material
  • “Hear” your voice saying the words in your mind
  • Use your imagination to create pictures
  • Don’t try to remember every word; focus on understanding the main ideas
  • If you encounter an unfamiliar word, mark it and continue reading
    • Stopping will interrupt your flow of reading. After you finish reading look up the unfamiliar words and write their definitions next to the passage

SQ4R Textbook Reading Method
EVOKER Reading Method
How to Read Journal Articles

College Reading in 5
Study Hack: Reading Textbooks
Graduate School Reading Strategies
Read Effectively with Evoker

Staying Focused

Overview: Staying focused, particularly while studying or completing homework, can often be quite tricky for some students. This inability to focus may potentially lead to stress, late assignments, or bad test grades. In this section, we will highlight tips for improving concentration and how to overcome digital distractions.


  • Turn off or silence your phone while studying
  • Leave behind unnecessary devices behind when working (/studying)
  • Unplug from the internet, turn on “airplane mode”
  • Use certain applications or browser extensions to track online activity and block certain websites for certain periods of time
  • Keep track of your attention span – focus on how often your mind wanders
  • Pay attention to your physical state, take care of physical needs (ie. hunger, exercise, or sleep) before studying or take a break
  • Record your starting time and end time
  • Use a timer
  • Study at the time of day when you are at your best
  • Alternate subjects; You will remain more focused if you switch activities about every hour
  • Establish a study area
  • Control the level of noise around you
  • Set goals for yourself, make sure your goals are short-term and attainable, and reward yourself when you reach them
  • Take notes on what topics you find take a lot of mental energy to remember
  • Take ten-minute breaks every hour

Overcoming Electronic Distraction
Improving Concentration

How to Get Your Brain to Focus
Pomodoro Method

Staying Motivated

Overview: Staying motivated as a student can be challenging, especially as the semester continues and assignments pile up. Lack of motivation can negatively impact a student’s drive or incentive to complete coursework. In this section, we will discuss tips on getting motivated and methods of overcoming procrastination in order to stay motivated.


  • Change “I can’t” to “I can”
  • Focus on past successes, how you achieved them, and think ‘Would this help now?’
  • If you are unmotivated to start a task, just start it! Tell yourself you can stop after 5 minutes, and you will probably keep going
  • Be organised and realistic, leave yourself adequate time to complete a task
  • Set SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Write them down and when you will achieve them
  • Learn how to relax and make time to enjoy yourself; if you are anxious or overwhelmed you will most likely not get things done
  • Hold yourself accountable for meeting your goals, tell someone about them, and reward yourself when you meet them
  • Think about the big picture; what do you need to do right now to move you closer toward what you want for your life in the future?
  • Get started on a task right away to avoid unexpected things that may pop up later
  • Remember to prioritize your goals
  • Working better under pressure is a myth

Getting Motivated
Overcoming Procrastination

More Motivation
The Science of Procrastination – And How To Manage It
Why We Procrastinate by Vik Nithy
Overcoming Procrastination
Avoiding Procrastination for Online Courses
How to Eat a Frog

Studying for Exams

Overview: Studying for Exams can often be overwhelming, leaving students unsure where to start, which can lead to procrastination and moments of high stress. In this section, we will highlight a variety of study techniques such as: memory strategies, test prep, tips for taking specific types of exams, and study break tips.


  • Plan your study time
  • Refrain from studying one subject for hours at a time
  • For every 25 minutes of study, reward yourself with a 5-minute break
  • Eat nutritious food because your brain needs fuel
  • Avoid all-nighters, and try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. When you sleep, your brain consolidates memories, if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain won’t remember the information.
  • Study what is important: Use the syllabus, lecture notes, and previous tests/quizzes as guides
  • Ask yourself questions about the material while you study
  • Study the most recent material first then go through the course
  • Relax 30 min before the exam, don’t cram

Memory Strategies
PLAE Testing Method
Tips on Taking Objective Tests
Tips on Taking Essay Exams
Taking Online Exams
Studying for Exams

How to Take an Essay Test – Part 1
How to Take an Essay Test – Part 2
How to Get the Most Out of Studying: Part 1 of 5, “Beliefs That Make You Fail… Or Succeed”
How to Get the Most Out of Studying: Part 2 of 5, “What Students Should Know About How People Learn”
How to Get the Most Out of Studying: Part 3 of 5, “Cognitive Principles for Optimizing Learning”
How to Get the Most Out of Studying: Part 4 of 5, “Putting Principles for Learning into Practice”
How to Get the Most Out of Studying: Part 5 of 5, “I Blew the Exam, Now What?”

Taking Notes

Overview: Taking notes is one of the key parts of a successful college education experience and many students struggle with effective note-taking. In this section, we will cover some tips for taking notes.


  • Designate a place for your notes for each class
  • Complete the reading (prior to class)
  • At the beginning of class write the topic for the day and the date
  • Write down the main ideas
  • Write in keywords and phrases
  • Use a modified print style
  • Use abbreviations and symbols
  • Avoid using a strict outline format
  • Be sure to note if the speaker repeats info, changes intonation, or writes on the board

Tips on Taking Notes

Study Skills – Taking Notes in Class
How to Take the Best Notes | Bullet Journals Style
Note-Taking for Online Classes
How to Create Condensed Notes
The Stop Light Study Technique

Thinking & Mindset

Overview: Oftentimes the mindset of a student and the way in which they think about specific tasks can lead to procrastination and lack of motivation. In this section, we will introduce a critical thinking method and ways to shift mindset in order to achieve goals.


  • Tips for Thinking & Mindset will be uploaded soon!

IDEALS Critical Thinking Strategies

Critical Thinking
The Power of belief – mindset and success
‘Teaching a growth mindset’ – Professor Carol Dweck

Time Management

Overview: Time Management is the ability to use one’s time both effectively and productively. In this section, we will discuss methods and tips one can apply to academic studies (and in life!) to improve and develop Time Management skills.


  • Create a Semester Schedule of major deadlines including exams, papers, and projects
  • Create a weekly schedule with classes, work, meetings, and other important events
  • Each week set 2-3 goals and determine 2-3 tasks to complete each day for the next 7 days (refer to the Daily Prep Schedule)
  • Think of college as a job; if you are a full-time student expect to spend about 15 hours in class and 30 hours studying
  • Study during the day, if a task takes an hour during the day, the same task takes an hour and a half at night
  • Don’t multitask as it slows you down
  • Avoid time wasters like social media, streaming services, and video games. Save these to use as rewards upon completion of tasks.

Daily Preparation Schedule
Pomodoro Method
Tips on Time (coming soon!)
Weekly Time Budget Sheet

Time Management
Time Management Hack: Semester Calendar
Time Management Hack: Weekly Time Budget Sheet
Study Hack: The Timer Method
Time Management: Daily Calendar
Time Management Video Weekly Calendar
Time Management: Semester Planning with Google Calendar