Make the Most of Your Study Time with These Tips and Helpful Links

  • Two students studying together


    • Read before class
    • Briefly scan assigned reading, noting headings and main topic
    • Consider what you already know about topic, what questions you have
    • Don’t overuse your highlighter!
    • May need to read once through without making notes, then read again
    • Notes (in your own words)
      • Questions
      • Reactions
      • Summaries
    • Visualize while you read
    • Talk aloud about what you have read, answer discussion questions
    • Connect your reading to topics that are interesting and relevant to you
    • Remember to review


    • Organize your ideas/make an outline (key ideas, thesis)
    • Gather evidence to support your points
    • Set it up with a logical progression of ideas
    • Use quotes from primary sources
    • Write a strong summary
    • Use a “formula” for strong essays (thesis, outline, transitions, quotes from sources, evidence - all organized in order before you write)


    • Choose study environment carefully
      • Free of distractions (noise, phone, social media)
      • Well lit, comfortable furniture and temperature
    • Know what times of day you are most productive
    • Take breaks
    • Study cues or symbols should be where you can see them (e.g., course materials, uncluttered desk)
    • Keep blank paper nearby to jot down thoughts you want to return to later
    • Sleep and exercise can help you feel more alert
    • If you are worried about personal or academic problems, talk to a counselor, professor, advisor, or friend


    • Acronyms
    • Rhymes
    • Find familiar words within or similar to technical terms
    • Chaining (story using words or concepts you want to remember)
    • Loci (location based memory, e.g., pair the names of famous people with names of campus buildings)
    • Study different subjects in different places, think of where you studied if stuck on an exam
    • Visual cues, symbols, or diagrams (e.g., timelines, compare/contrast)
    • Avoid rote memorization; remind yourself…
      • how the material fits into the big picture
      • why it is important
      • how it relates to what you already know
    • Test yourself
      • start well in advance and review often
      • answer questions in a different order each time
      • flashcards (paper, computer, apps)
      • have friends quiz you or discuss topic with you
      • practice tests (testing recall more effective than testing recognition)
    • Avoid cramming
    • Get plenty of sleep


    • Use a new page each day
    • Use key words/concepts, not verbatim quotes
    • Pay attention to a professor’s “cues” about what is important
    • MAKE time after class to review notes, fill in, add things; don’t wait for exam to review notes

    Time Management

    • First priority: classes
    • Use syllabus to identify assignments, exams, papers
    • Plan a schedule of “balanced” activities (class, study, social, work, play)
    • Develop a study “routine,” with regular study times each day/week, a “study place“
    • Study soon after your lectures
    • Use odd hours or found time for studying, even if it is only 10–15 minutes
    • Limit your study time to manageable blocks (one to two hours at a time)
    • Take regular study breaks
    • “Trade” time when other things come up; if you lose study time one day, figure out how you can make it up the next day
    • Space out your studying for a given class over time; don’t cram your studying into one or two days

    Campus Resources

    Department of Developmental Studies

    Department of Disability Access and Advising

    Stapleton Library

    • Satellite branch of Writing Center (behind reference desk on first floor)
    • Over 100 books on study skills
    • Reference librarians to help with research assignments
    • Reference Desk regular hours (may be different in finals week)
      • Monday–Friday: 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
      • Saturday: 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
      • Sunday: 1:00–9:00 p.m.
      • 724-357-3006 or 1-866-836-8815
    • LibAnswers reference service: send a question and get an answer within 24 hours (

    Writing Center

    Counseling Center

    • Individual and group counseling
    • Workshops and Outreach
      • Walk-in hours December 2-13, 2019 (MTWRF: 1:00–3:00 p.m.)
      • Regular hours (Monday–Friday: 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.)
      • Suites on Maple East G31
      • 724-357-2621