Student Success Centre

Top Ten Tips for Success at University

Tips for Success

1. Location, location, location...

Serious about getting work done? Find a good location. Use the libraries, study rooms, or empty classrooms.

2. Make It a Habit: Do Coursework Every Day

Cramming is not conducive to understanding and retaining large amounts of information. Time on your courses each day is the best way to learn. Use the time between classes to stay on top of readings.

3. Help Exists! Seek It Out and Improve Your Grades

Whether you're an 'A' student or a 'D' student, you can strengthen your skills. Check out SDS' Learning Skills Services. Get to know your professors and tutorial assistants. Use study guides and help centres.

4. Write It Down

Use a day planner or wall calendar. Plan time for coursework. Plan ahead for assignments and exam periods.

5. Get Energized: Eat, Exercise, Sleep

Fatigue and stress weaken memory and comprehension. Eat properly, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep.

6. Perform Like a Pro: Go to Class Prepared and Take Thorough Notes

Don't miss class. Someone else's notes aren't going to be as good as having gone to the lecture yourself. While taking notes, listen for emphases and examples. Questions after the lecture? Go to your professor's or tutorial assistant's office hours. Learn as you go and you won't find yourself unprepared the night before an exam.

7. Lectures and Textbooks: What's the Big Picture?

University learning requires understanding how pieces of information fit together to form a "big picture." Use course outlines, tables of content, and headings and subheadings to organize information.

8. Do Something to Remember Key Information

Be active! Generate examples, create mnemonics, make summary notes, identify key words, highlight textbooks, or add margin notes. Improve your memory by being creative and interested.

9. Think You'll Remember Key Points? Prove It!

No matter how well you understand something, without practice forgetting will occur. Before a test, recall information without looking at notes or textbooks and by doing practice questions.

10. Be Test Smart

Don't lose marks because of test-writing errors. Use strategies to tackle different types of tests (e.g., multiple-choice). Read instructions, budget time to marks, and do less difficult questions first to build confidence.