Academic Ability & Skills
Many students have a difficult time adjusting to the lack of imposed structure at college. If you’re in that boat, visit our page on time management skills for some very practical advice.
How much should I study? A lot of students study for an hour per class per week and think that should be enough to pass the class. Unfortunately, college studies take a lot more work.
RULE OF THUMB: You should expect to put in about two hours per week outside of class for every hour you spend in class. So, if you’re enrolled in 15 hours of coursework, you should expect to spend about 30 hours per week studying outside of class.
How do I quit wasting my time? Don’t worry, that’s a common question. Visit our time management worksheet and fill in the following information:
- Class times
- Meal times
- Practice times (athletic, theatre, music, etc.)
- Scheduled study times—you get to choose the times. Just make sure you put in at least one, preferably two, hours per class meeting.
- Make sure to schedule in some play time, too!
- Have your mentor review your scheduler to make sure it seems reasonable.
How do I manage all my assignments? There are a few methods for managing assignments—you’ll want to find the one that works best for you
- Assignment worksheet. Use one worksheet per week and list all reading assignments, homework assignments, scheduled quizzes, projects, etc. If you have a big project or paper looming ahead, assign yourself small portions of the project each week in order to be prepared on the due date.
- Organizer. You can purchase a calendar/organizer from the MC bookstore, office supplies stores, or general retail stores. Again, list all due dates.
- Revise due dates. As professors make changes to assignments, list those changes on your organizer.
- Success. The best part—scratch through assignments as you finish them! You’ll have a visible indicator that you’ve accomplished something and it will give you motivation to continue with the next project.
- Assistance. Talk to your advisor or mentor to make sure your system seems workable. He or she may have additional suggestions for you.
Time Management Resources
Do you lack testing or study skills? Try a few of these options:
How do you learn? Different students have different learning styles.
- Consider the times when you’ve earned good grades or studied in helpful ways. Replicate those study situations.
- Consider the space where you study. Is there too much distraction? Try a carrel in the library or the Fireside Lounge (McMahon Student Center). Is it too quiet? Try a group table in the library, SUB7, or the Grill.
- Treat yourself! Give yourself a goal to accomplish ("I’ll read for 30 minutes"), then give yourself a small treat—perhaps a walk around campus, a (SHORT) visit to a friend’s room, or a snack. Then start the process again!
- Make an appointment with Heather Jackson to discuss the best learning strategies for you.
Have Difficulty Taking Tests? Do you know the material leading up to the exam, then blank when you sit down to take it? There are a number of websites with helpful information:
How to deal with test anxiety:
University at Buffalo: Test Anxiety