Organization

Whether you were a stellar high school student or just barely skated through, when you begin your studies at the University of Portland, you start from ground zero. With organization, careful planning, diligence, and determination, anyone can be successful in college. Need a few ideas to get you started on the road to success? Follow these tips:

Get organized for each class.

Know what the reading assignments are, what kinds of tests the instructor will give, when they will occur, and what type of term project is required. Use a weekly planner, and pick up a semester planner from the Shepard Academic Resource Center.

Plan the major events that are coming in the semester.

You might want to get a calendar and list the major events so that you will be sure to plan your work around them. You will want to list things such as concerts, your birthday, exams, paper due dates, club weekends, and other events you want to attend. Don’t forget to change your calendar when dates change.

Notice what kinds of things distract you.

For some people, it is classical music; for others, soap operas; for others, rock music; and for most, a knock at the door. Try to eliminate distractions in your study environment. If you usually cannot study while watching a TV movie, don’t try. Be honest with yourself and do one or the other. Choices are necessary and there should be time for both if you are setting your goals effectively.

Mix the subjects you study in any one-study period.

Study psychology for a while and then move on to literature and then to philosophy. If you study any one thing too long, you will probably find it boring. Try to study topics that require memorizing and recall before you take a nap or go to bed at night. You will learn the material better.

Be prepared! 

Preparation is important to reducing anxiety. Your level of anxiety is reduced the more prepared you are and it also increases your self-confidence. Learn your material completely. Don’t start studying the night before. You will retain more information if you study in small increments each day. Short and regular study sessions are more productive than one long single session. Start at least two weeks prior to the exam.

Create a quiet and neat study area.  

Where you study can influence your concentration. Studying in the same location will help you associate that location with concentration. Make sure that you are comfortable and have good lighting. Sitting at a desk is better than lying in bed.

Review all the information.  

Study the information from your notes, textbooks and any other materials handed out in class. Review information that you previously learned. 

Use unexpected free time to study. 

Carry index cards with information that you can study when you have moments of downtime.

Make a study schedule.

A time management system will enable you to see clearly how your time is being spent and will enable you to block out time for studying as well as for other activities.

Take advantage of peak energy levels. 

Use the time of day when you have the most energy to do your studying.

Work with a study group. 

Classmates can work together in a study group. It can be easier to study information that is more detailed. It is important that the study group focus on studying and not diverge into a social time. It is also a good opportunity to learn the content by explaining it to others. This allows for questioning and more in-depth thought about the subject matter.

Study often and in smaller increments. 

Your memory of information lasts longer when it is spread over a period of time. Avoid cramming the information before a test.

Reward yourself. 

After completing the studying you have scheduled, reward yourself with a break.

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