Academic Success Skills
Do you want to become more successful in your classes? Please take some time to read this advice from JMU's Academic Mentoring Program...
3 R’s for Academic Survival
R1 READ: Read each paragraph until you can answer the question: "What did the author say in this paragraph?"
R2 RECORD: Retain your learning by taking notes, underlining, and making flash cards
R3 RECITE: Cover up your notes and recite aloud. If you can't recite it after you study it, how will you remember it for your exam?
SQ3R Method for Thorough Study
Step 1: SURVEY: Look over material critically. Skim through the book and read topical and sub-headings and sentences. Read the summaries at the end of chapters and books. Try to anticipate what the author is going to say. WRITE these notes on paper, in sequence; then look over the jottings to get an overall idea or picture. This will enable you to see where you are going.
Step 2: QUESTIONS: Instead of reading paragraph headings such as “Basic Concepts of Reading,” change to read, “What are the Basic Concepts of Reading?” These questions will become “hooks” on which to hang the reading material. WRITE these questions out; look over the questions to see the emphasis and direction; then attempt to give plausible answers before further reading.
Step 3: READ: Read with smoothness and alertness to answer the questions. Use all the techniques and principles demonstrated in class. WRITE notes, in your own words, under each question. Minimize the amount of notes that you take while you read so that you just create an outline.
Step 4: RECALL: Without looking at your book or notes, mentally visualize and sketch, in your own words, the high points of the material immediately upon completing the reading.
a. This forces you to check understanding
b. This channels the material into a natural and usable form.
c. This shows you what you do not understand.
d. This forces you to think.
Step 5: REVIEW: Look at your questions, answers, notes and book to see how well you did recall. Observe carefully the points stated incorrectly or omitted. Fix those points carefully in your mind in logical sequence. Finish up with a mental picture of the WHOLE idea, concept, etc.
How to get the most from class…
Complete required reading before class using the SQ3R method
Attend every class!
Ø Participate constructively
Ø Sit near the front of the class
Listen well in class
Ø Maintain eye contact with the professor
Ø Focus on content, not delivery
Ø Avoid distractions
Ø Treat listening as a challenging mental task
Ø Ask mental questions
Ø Take good notes in class
Ask questions during class if something is not clear
Ø You can also ask your professor questions after class if you still need clarification
Taking Notes in Class
The Cornell system for taking notes is designed to save time while maximizing efficiency. There is no rewriting or retyping your notes with this system... You do it right the first time.
Use a large, loose-leaf notebook. Use only one side of the paper. Draw a vertical line 2 ½ inches from the left side of your paper. This is the recall column. Notes will be taken to the right of this margin. Later, key words or phrases can be written to the left in the recall column.
2. DURING THE LECTURE
Record notes in paragraph form. Capture general ideas. Skip lines to show the end of ideas or thoughts. Using abbreviations will save time. Write legibly.
3. AFTER THE LECTURE
Read through your notes and make it more legible if necessary. Now use the column. Jot down ideas or key words, which give you the idea of the lecture. Your goal is to summarize the lecture with just a few key words. You will have to reread the lecturer’s ideas and reflect in your own words. Cover up the right-hand portion of your notes and recite the general ideas and concepts of the lecture. Your recall column can be used as a quick review sheet.
Enhance Your Memory Skills
1. Eliminate distractions during study periods. This will improve your concentration.
2. One of the easiest ways to remember information is to study it over, and over, and over again.
3. An effective way to capitalize on existing memories, when learning new material, is to come up with a story to connect the new material to an old memory.
4. As you study information for a class, you might try to develop mnemonics to help you remember it more effectively. For example create a rhyme or use acronyms.
5. Organizing important concepts and information can have a positive effect on your memory capacity.
6. Share any memory-enhancing ideas you have found particularly useful with your friends and classmate, and ask them to share with you strategies that they have found useful.
7. One of the best ways to ensure that you will remember information presented during a lecture or in your textbook is to review your notes as soon as possible after taking them.
8. Each evening, if only for ten or fifteen minutes, review all of the notes you took that day. At the end of each week, review all of your notes from the week several times.
9. An effective strategy for improving memory of lecture and reading notes is to use note cards.
10. Placing your notes into a word-processing document after initially writing them provides you with at least three things simultaneously: relearning, increased organization, and greater legibility.
11. Comparing your notes with your classmates’ notes gives you the chance to see what others in the same class consider important and may help you remember the information more effectively.
Luzzo, D. A., & Spencer, M. K. (2002). Overcoming the Hurdles to Academic Success. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Index Cards Study System
Here is a method of studying that gives you an accurate perception of how well you know the material, and forces you to think about it, rather than just look over it.
Ø Review your notes and readings frequently, so the material is “fresh”.
Ø As you’re reading your text or reviewing your notes, generate and write down questions about the material. Imagine you’re teaching the course. What questions would you ask on the exam?
Ø Keep track of any terms you need to know.
Ø Write each question or term on the back of an index card.
Ø On the front of each index card, write an answer or an explanation for the question or term on the back. Use your notes and text for a reference, but put the answer or explanation in your own words whenever possible.
Ø Shuffle the index cards (so you can’t figure out any answers based on their location in the deck)
Ø Look at the card on the top of the deck:
Try to answer the question or explain the term. If you know it, great! Put it on the bottom of the deck. If you don’t know it, look at the answer, and put it a few cards down in the deck (so you’ll come back to it soon).
Ø Proceed through the deck of cards until you know all of the information.
Ø Carry your cards with you everywhere. Take advantage of little pockets of time. Test yourself while you’re waiting for class to begin, riding the bus, etc.
Ø If you think you know an answer, but can’t put it into words, you probably don’t know it well enough. Being able to explain the information is the only way to be sure that you know it. It’s also the best way to prevent test anxiety.
Ø Consider testing yourself someplace where nobody can see you (and think you’re crazy), and reciting the answer out loud. That’s the best way to be sure that you can explain them.
Ø Study with a friend from you class. You can share ideas and help each other out with concepts. Also, you can use each other to make sure that you’re explaining your answers adequately.
The Reading Environment
There are many things which can interfere with effective reading. Some of these involve common sense, and can be easily changed. Others are more subtle, and may require long patient effort if they are to be overcome. Obviously, we should make the simple changes first, since these will give the greatest improvement with the least efforts.
Something which most people can control rather easily is their reading environment. A poor physical setting can make reading far more difficult that it has to be, and yet a little planning can get around most of the harmful elements you may find. It is a question of motivation. We usually can do what we really want to do!
· Lighting. Often it is helpful to do your reading- the bulk of it, at least- in the same place. Check the lighting there. Is it adequate? You should be able to see the page without strain. Does the light create a glare, or are you in the habit of reading in the direct sunlight? Either extreme- too much light or too little- can cause strain and fatigue, and lower your reading efficiency.
· Ventilation. Stuffy rooms put you to sleep. You should have plenty of fresh air (but not a draft) and the temperature should be fairly cool. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself going to sleep over the most exciting books.
· Reading Position. Your position should be neither too comfortable nor too uncomfortable. The first condition puts you right back to sleep again. In fact, some people “read themselves to sleep” in bed every night- which is fine if sleep, rather than reading, is what you’re after. An uncomfortable position can create a strain, however subtle, which results in fatigue.
· Focal Distance. Hold your book at an angle and keep it about 18 inches from your eyes. Remember: Long arms are not a substitute for corrective lenses. If you need glasses, wear them while you read. Persistent fatigue while studying or reading might be Nature’s way of telling you that glasses are needed. Have an optometrist check your close-range vision.
· Distractions. Most important, what about distractions you can see and hear? No matter what you think, tests show that you can only pay attention to one thing at a time. If you sit near a door or window, every movement will claim your attention. If you have a radio or record player going, your concentration may continually wander from book to sound. And reading with the television going combines the worst of all possible distractions.
Give yourself every break. If you are going to read, prepare things so you can read unhindered. If there is something more important, put the book aside. There are times to read and there are times when reading must give way to other considerations.
Getting to Know Your Textbook
1. Examine the title page:
· Who are the authors?
· What is their standing in their fields? (Perhaps you can ask your professor.)
· Does their training and background qualify them to write a book of this type?
· When was the textbook published? What does that tell you about the book?
2. Examine the preface or introduction:
· What does it tell you about the book?
· Do the authors introduce any unusual features of your book in the preface and prepare you to be on the lookout for them?
3. Examine the table of contents:
· What does the table of contents tell you?
· How is the textbook organized? What are the main divisions?
· Compare the table of contents with that of another book in the same field. Do the two books cover the same topics? Are these the topics you expected to find covered in this text?
4. Examine index, glossary, other material at the back of the book:
· How does the index differ from the table of contents? How does it resemble the table of contents?
· What sort of topics should be looked up in the index instead of the table of contents?
· Is there a glossary in your textbook?
· Is there an appendix in your book? Why isn’t this information included in the body of the book? How would it have affected the organization?
5. Examine study questions, guides, and other helps:
· Does the book provide study aids to help understand the text?
· Are the study aids in the form of questions, exercises, or activities?
· If questions are used, do they simply require finding the answers or must you do some critical problem-type thinking to arrive at answers?
· Are there study aids both preceding and following a chapter? Which types of aids help you most?
· Does the text provide suggestions for other readings or materials designed to help you understand this chapter?
6. Examine chapter headings, sectional headings, and margin guides:
· Look at the chapter heading and then the section headings that follow. Write them down and see if this gives an overview of the chapter.
· How do headings help in skimming a chapter for specific information?
· Does the book use summaries? How do these help?
7. Examine maps, pictures, charts, diagrams, and tables:
· Which of these visual aids is used? Do you understand them?
©Academic Skills Center, Dartmouth College 2001
Vary Your Reading Rate
Good readers are flexible in their reading attack. Unlike the plodder, who reads consistently at 200 words per minute, or the superficial reader, who may read everything rapidly, well-trained readers have the capacity to adjust their speed to the material.
Rate adjustment may be overall adjustment to the article as a whole, or it may be internal adjustment within the article.
Overall adjustment is the basic rate at which the total article is read.
Internal adjustment is concerned with the necessary variations in rate that take place as each part of the material is read.
To illustrate this, suppose you plan to take a 100-mile trip. Since this is a relatively hard drive, with hills, curves, and a mountain pass, you decide to take three hours for the total trip, averaging about 35 miles per hour. This is your overall speed adjustment. However, in actual driving, you may slow down to no more than 15 miles per hour on some curves and hills, while on relatively straight and level sections you may drive up to 50 miles per hour. This is your internal speed adjustment. In short, there is no set rate which the good reader follows inflexibly in reading a particular selection, even though an over all rate is set for the total job.
Base your rate adjustment on:
1. Your purpose. What do you want to get from the material?
2. The nature and difficulty of the material.
3. The amount of previous experience you have had with this subject.
Your reading purpose: Circumstances will determine why you are reading and how much you have to get out of your reading. For example, a chapter may have been assigned in class, or you may be gathering material for a speech, or you may be trying to impress your friends by your knowledge of Shakespeare. You need to be eminently clear not only on such general purposes but also on specific purpose.
To get the gist, read very rapidly.
To understand general ideas, read fairly rapidly.
To get and retain detailed facts, read at a moderate rate.
To locate specific information, skim or scan at a rapid rate.
To determine value of material, skim at a very rapid rate.
To preread or postread, scan at a fairly rapid rate.
To read for enjoyment, read rapidly or slowly, depending on what you want.
To build general background, read rapidly.
Nature and difficulty of material: First of all, this involves an overall adjustment in rate to match your thinking ability. Obviously, overall level of difficulty depends on who’s doing the reading. While Einstein’s theories may be extremely difficult to most laypeople, they may be very simple and clear to a professor of physics. Hence, the laypeople and the physics professor must make different overall adjustments in rate of reading the same material. In general, a difficult passage for you will require a slower rate; simpler material will permit a faster rate.
A few broad suggestions may help you to select your rate(s) within the particular article:
Decrease speed when you find the following:
1. An unfamiliar word not made clear by the sentence. Try to understand it from the way it’s used; then read on and return to it later. You may wish to underline the word so you can find it again quickly.
2. Long and uninvolved sentence and paragraph structure. Slow down enough to enable you to untangle them and get an accurate idea of what the passage says.
3. Unfamiliar or abstract ideas. Look for applications or examples which will give them meaning. Demand that an idea “makes sense.” Never give up until you understand, because it will be that much easier the next time. Find someone to help you if necessary.
4. Detailed, technical material. This includes complicated directions, abstract principles, materials on which you have scant background.
5. Material on which you want detailed retention. The key to memory is organization and recitation. Speed should not be considered here.
Increase speed when you find the following:
1. Simple material with few ideas new to you. Move rapidly over the familiar; spend most of your time on the few unfamiliar ideas.
2. Unnecessary examples and illustrations. These are included to clarity ideas. If not needed, move over them rapidly.
3. Detailed explanation and elaboration which you do not need.
4. Broad, generalized ideas. These can be rapidly grasped, even with the scan technique.
Skip that material which is not suitable for your purpose. While the author may have thought particular information was relevant, his/her reason for writing was not necessarily the same as your reason for reading.
Remember to keep your reading attack flexible. Shift gears from selection to selection. Use low gear when the going is steep; shift into high when you get to the smooth parts. Remember to adjust your rate within a given article according to the type of road you are traveling and to your purposes in traveling it. Most important, remember: Reading this advice hasn’t done you any good yet. You must practice these techniques until a flexible reading rate becomes second nature to you.
©Academic Skills Center, Dartmouth College 2001
PREPARING FOR THE TEST
Know the format of the test you will be taking!
Three types of tests:
1. Objective Tests: True-False, Multiple-Choice, Matching
*Study facts, details, and specific information
2. Short-Answer Tests: Completions, Definitions
*Recite definitions of terms to the point of mastery
3. Essay Tests: Answers in paragraph form
*Learn main ideas and supporting details
Types of questions:
1. Literal/Factual – knowing the facts of the topic
2. Application – applying the information to a new situation
You can never study too much for a test!
· Studying must start on the first day of class - take good notes, read and mark your textbook, and make index cards with vocabulary or main ideas.
· Repetition of the information until the material is mastered will help you to store the information in your long term memory for easy retrieval.
· As tests near, you must have a plan of attack that begins a week or two in advance in order to avoid cramming. Preparing a weekly study schedule can be very beneficial.
TAKING THE TEST
· It’s ok to be nervous – it can be positive stress.
· Show up early for the exam, fully prepared with the supplies that you need.
· Read the directions – there could be surprises.
· When you get the test, if there is anything you are afraid you will forget, write it down in the margin to avoid forgetting.
· Keep an eye on time, but do not become obsessive.
· If you know that one section of the test is going to be easier, do it first.
· As you go through, it is good to skip questions you may struggle with, but do not forget to go back to them.
· It is important to accept that you may not know every answer, don’t panic!
· Try to use logic and educated guesswork to answer questions that you are unsure of.
· Go back over the test when you are finished, but do not change answers unless you have a valid reason.
50/50 odds of answering the question correctly!
*Be careful of…
1. All-or-Nothing words: all, always, none, never, nothing, every, exactly, invariably – These are strong words that allow no exceptions.
2. Negative words: cannot, does not, is not, will not, il-, ir-, im-, and in-. Also be careful of double negatives (do not never) that cancel each other out.
3. Partial Truths: if any part of the statement is incorrect, then the whole statement is false.
· Read the stem carefully looking for key words, all-or-nothing words, and negative words.
· Read all of the options completely
· Do not guess too soon.
· You are not looking for the right answer but the best answer.
· Be alert to grammatical giveaways; the correct answer may be the only one that matches grammatically.
· Eliminate the options that are clearly wrong.
· Use information from other questions to help with ones that you are not sure of.
· Scan the two columns to see if they have the same number of items or if there are extra choices in one.
· If there are extra choices, begin with the base column, and match them to the choice column.
· Match those that you are sure of first, crossing them off the list
· Be alert to wording or grammatical clues - are they looking for a person, date, definition, etc.
SHORT ANSWER TESTS
· The statement may give you possible clues as to what kind of answer is required: name, place, term, etc.
· The length of the blank and the number of spaces can be a hint.
· If you are unable to answer, look for clues from other parts of the test.
· Learn terms completely and review them often.
· Write in complete answers unless you are instructed to do otherwise.
· Do not use the term itself in the definition.
· Use the formula: term + verb + meaning without using term.
· Know if the professor wants one-paragraph or multi-paragraph answers and if they want factual or application answers.
· Plan your time so you can answer each question.
· Understand directional words:
Analyze: How are the topics alike?
Contrast: How are the topics different?
Criticize, Discuss, Evaluate: Explore positive and negative views of topic and draw your own conclusion.
Describe and Explain: Give major details and supporting facts of topic.
Illustrate: Give examples.
Interpret: Give clear meaning or paraphrase the information.
Justify: Explain purpose and reasons for statement.
Prove: Give evidence and facts that support the statement.
Relate: Show connections.
Summarize: Give main points.
Trace: Map development of topic.
· It is important to recognize how many parts there are to a question.
· Before writing, organize your information.
· Make sure you have a topic sentence (thesis) for your essay.
Hellyer, Regina, Carol Robinson, and Phyllis Sherwood. Study Skills for Learning Power. 2nd. Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
Test Taking Anxiety
What is Test Taking Anxiety?
Test anxiety is an uneasiness or apprehension experienced before, during, or after an examination because of concern, worry, or fear.
Who gets it?
Almost everyone experiences some anxiety. However, some students find that their anxiety interferes with their learning and test taking to such an extent that their grades are seriously affected.
Good Test Anxiety vs. Bad
If you freeze during tests and flub questions when you know the answers, you might be suffering from test anxiety. A little tension before a test is good. That tingly, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling you get from extra adrenaline can sharpen your awareness and kept you alert. You can enjoy the benefits of a little tension while you stay confident and relaxed.
Sometimes, however, tension is persistent and extreme. It causes loss of sleep and appetite; which are two key components to helping you to do well on a test. Tension is a symptom of test anxiety, and it can prevent you from doing your best on exams.
What can be done about it?
Fortunately, there is a great deal that you can do to keep the anxiety from interfering with your performance. First, it’s important to know that you don’t have to eliminate anxiety entirely. It helps to be alert for exams. You just want to reduce the anxiety to a manageable level.
5 WAYS TO CONFRONT YOUR THOUGHTS!
1. Mentally say “STOP” – When you notice that your thoughts are racing and your mind is cluttered with worries and fears, mentally say “Stop!” to calm down
2. Daydream – when you fill your mind with pleasant thoughts, there is no room left for anxiety.
3. Visualize Success – Most of us live up to our own expectations, good or bad. If you spend a lot of time mentally rehearsing how it will be to fail, you increase your chances for failure.
4. Tense up and then Relax – If you are aware of a particularly tense part of your body or if you discover tension- when you are scanning your body, you can release this with the tense-relax method. To do this, find a muscle that is tense and make it even more tense. If your shoulders are tense, pull them back, arch your back, and tense your shoulder muscles even more tightly; then relax.
5. Use Guided Imagery – Completely relax, close your eyes, relax your body, and imagine yourself in a beautiful, peaceful, natural setting. Create as much of the scene as you can.
What should you do before the test to prevent test taking anxiety?
· On the day of the test, allow yourself 30 min. before the test to relax and not look at the material. You should not be shuffling through material as your teacher is passing out the test.
· Review your summary sheets for an overall view of the material. Recite it in your own words.
· Get enough sleep. Avoid caffeine, which increases anxiety.
· Remember to encourage yourself and STOP critical statements (i.e. I am going to fail).
· Give yourself time to feel composed and be on time for the exam. Avoid anxious classmates who are talking about the exam by zoning them out.
What should you do during the test?
· Look over the entire test, READ THE DIRECTIONS, plan your approach, and schedule your time.
· Start with the easiest question first.
· Focus your attention on the test. Don’t waste time and energy worrying, thinking about the consequences of not doing well, or wondering what others are doing.
· If you don’t know an answer, mark the question.
· Suggest to yourself that you probably studied it and the answer will come to you when you get back to it.
· If you start to feel anxious, practice your relaxation techniques. Use anxiety as a cue to relax. Close your eyes; take three deep breaths and then back to the task.
What should you do after the test?
Reward yourself for having tried. Don’t go over the test questions with others. No matter how the test went, you can learn from the returned exam.
Source: Ellis, D (2000). Becoming a Master Student. Houghton-Mifflin
University of Florida Counseling Center 301 Peabody Hall, Gainesville FL 32611 (352) 392-1575 ©2003
“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
- M. Scott Peck
· How would you describe your time management style?
· What are your strengths & weaknesses in regards to time management?
· Write down what your “average” weekday looks like
“You may delay, but time will not.” - Ben Franklin
Tips to effectively manage time:
Set up your week.
· Fill in classes first.
· Create Study time next.
· Plan for about three hours for every class hour.
· Create 40 to 50 minutes study blocks with a 10 to 20 minute break.
· Take time to review the class immediately after the class. Memory of what was covered in class decreases significantly after a 24-hour period.
· Utilize time in between classes and breaks during your day.
· Schedule extracurricular activities, meetings, and jobs.
· Let supervisors, co-workers, and friends know that academics are a top priority for you. Schedule meetings, practices, and work around class and study time.
· Lastly make time in your schedule for TV, computer, phone conversations, socializing with friends, and just “veg-ing out.”
· Leave some time in your schedule flexible for emergency study sessions, group work, or unexpected assignments.
Hints to setting up your week:
· Know yourself and when you work the best.
· Remember your own personal sleep requirements and schedule at least that much sleep time into your schedule.
· Do not plan marathon study sessions. Break up that time.
· Make sure you give yourself time to eat and work out.
Surveying your semester.
· Keep a week by week plan of what is due for each class.
- Plan for stressful midterm and finals weeks.
- Complete projects early while your weeks are more open.
Start your day right.
· Know how early in the day you effectively function. Start at that time everyday.
· Schedule the majority of your work/study time during the normal 9 to 5 workday.
· Allow some more freedom during evening/weekends for persona/socializing time.
· Take care of yourself. Make sure you eat & sleep.
The curveballs (otherwise known as the most stressful weeks ever!)
Can you do any of the assignments early?
Break larger tasks into stages
For example a term paper: choose a topic, get research, read research, write draft, proofread (and have others proofread), rewrite.
Make deadlines for smaller tasks.
Finish assignments at least one day early to allow for emergencies.
· At the beginning of this section you were asked to write down your average day. To some, this task maybe seem hard; as all days can be different. However, by creating a consistent schedule, even with different tasks to accomplish, the body can regulate its energy and awareness levels.
· Study at the same time every day.
· Sleep at the same time every day.
· Eat/work out at the same time every day.
· The power of keeping a routine can be seen with jet lag – when the body is not allowed to do what it is used to doing, when it is used to doing it, it is forced out of a pattern.
“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.”
· Write down ways you procrastinate.
· Write down why you procrastinate.
· Write down your feelings when you procrastinate.
Reasons for procrastination:
- Procrastination makes the task shorter.
- By procrastinating you reduce anxiety about the project because you expect less of yourself. You no longer have time to do your best, so if you don’t do so well, there is an excuse.
- Procrastination helps avoid boredom. You can never say you don’t have something to do.
- You may procrastinate because you fear failure. Those things that we dread, we put off the longest
Brainstorm solutions to procrastination /time management problems
- High level of campus/sport involvement
- “Helping” others with projects, personal problems
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
- Charles Baudelaire
The Quick List of Time Management Techniques
These are ideas to help overcome procrastination and effectively manage your time. Not every technique works for every person. Start small, work on one or two concepts each week until you establish your time management habits. Soon they will become real habits and you will find that you have more time to do other activities.
1. Determine your best time of day to study. Study then.
2. Do it now. Fight procrastination.
3. Examine procrastination patterns and break them.
4. Set deadlines for yourself.
5. Write down your short and long term goals.
6. Reward yourself when you accomplish these goals.
7. Concentrate on one paper/project/class at a time.
8. Use TV time/social time as a reward after you have done work.
9. Take a 10-minute break per hour.
10. Divide a large assignment into smaller tasks.
11. Use the idea of change. When you become bored with part of an assignment start another one.
12. Eliminate nonproductive activities as soon as you realize them.
13. Learn to say “no” to interruptions while you study.
14. Use a planner/calendar/PDA. Write down all your assignments and due dates. Look ahead.
15. Plan your day in the morning. Set priorities.
16. Use your time during the day wisely so you can enjoy your time at night.
17. Study in an area where you can concentrate. Do not study lying down.
18. Schedule study time before and after classes.
19. Learn to study smarter, not harder.
20. Don’t try to be a perfectionist.
21. Turn off the TV, the IM (don’t just put an away message up), and the stereo. Work without distractions.
22. Let your friends/family know your plans so they don’t distract you.
Then think about things to cope with stress:
1. Recognize that stress is a part of life. There is good stress and there is bad stress. Stress can be potentially harmful.
2. Identify your sources of stress and what your stress looks like. Teach those around you how to help you when you are stressed. Don’t wait until you are about to breakdown.
3. Work on interpreting stressful events in a positive way. The energy that your stress causes can be channeled into a constructive form.
4. Be aware of your own power. You have the power to control your response to stress.
5. Plan this response. Some causes of stress repeat (i.e. exams). Anticipate your next cause of stress and how you will handle it.
6. Treat yourself positively. Do what you can about a situation and then move on.
7. Create a positive self-image. Be assertive about your personal needs. Don’t suppress feelings.
8. Respect the rights and needs of others as well as your environment.
9. Make guidelines. Do one thing at a time. Keep humor in your life. Improve important relationships. Accept reality. Be in touch with your own needs. Remember your options. Utilize your strengths.
10. Change the parts of your life that cause you chronic stress.
The Pivotal Words
No words are as helpful while reading as the prepositions and conjunctions that guide your mind along the pathways of the author’s ideas. A word like furthermore says, “Keep going!” However says, “There’s another side to the story!” Master these words and phrases and you will almost immediately become a better reader, for they will whisper directions in your inner ear.
These say, “Here’s more of the same coming up. It’s just as important as what we have already said.”
also further moreover
and furthermore too
besides in addition
They say, “It does what I have just said, but it does this too.”
as well as at the same time similarly
equally important likewise
The author is saying, “I want to be sure that you understand my idea; so here’s a specific instance,”
for example(e.g.) specifically as
for instance such as like
These point out, “Sometimes there is a choice; other times there isn’t.”
either/or other than
They say, “I said it once, but I’m going to say it again in case you missed it the first time.”
again in other words
to repeat that is(i.e.)
Contrast and change words
“So far I’ve given you only one side of the story; now let’s take a look at the other side.”
but on the contrary still
conversely on the other hand though
despite instead of yet
however rather than regardless
nevertheless even though whereas
in spite of notwithstanding
Cause and effect words
“All this has happened; now I’ll tell you why.”
accordingly since then
because so thus
consequently hence therefore
for this reason
These say, “Here is what we can expect. These are the conditions we are working under.”
if although unless
They say, “Okay! We agree on this much.”
accepting the data granted that of course
They say, “Wake up and take notice!”
above all more important indeed
The author is saying, “You keep your mind on reading: I’ll keep the numbers straight.”
finally second then
first next last
“Let’s keep the record straight on who said what and especially when.”
afterwards meanwhile now
before subsequently presently
formerly ultimately previously
These say, “We’ve said many things so far. Let’s stop here and pull them together.”
for these reasons in brief
in conclusion to sum up
ORL Academic Mentoring Program Manual, Office of Residence Life, James Madison University