January 2023

We asked students and learning specialists to share their best tips, tricks and tools for university students. Browse through the articles for new strategies and perspective. Use the filters to find content that works for you.

5 steps to get the most out of your next reading

Four students sitting at a table and working on laptops

Are you finding academic readings challenging? Do you feel like you’re not getting the most out of them? There’s a strategy you can try to help with this. The acronym is SQ3R — it stands for survey, question, read, recite and review. Let’s take a deep dive into each step.

An epic approach to problem-based test questions

Student working on a laptop and sitting outside on campus

Problem-based questions don’t have to be something you dread on your next exam. The key to working through them is to follow a framework to break them down. The EPIC approach does this and can be used for a variety of problem-based questions. Here’s how it works:

How do you create effective study questions?

Two students sitting at a laptop in a building on campus

Study questions are a great way to help you prepare for an exam or test. They help you review the course material and practice applying it to questions — just like you’ll do during the test.

The key to doing this effectively is to create study questions that force you to use the same skills you’ll use during the exam. 

Next time you get feedback, try these tips

Three students sitting in chairs in a building on campus, looking outside through windows

Let’s start by admitting that reading the feedback on an assignment — especially one you don’t think was your best — can be uncomfortable. Maybe you even avoid checking the comments because you find constructive feedback difficult to hear. That’s completely normal.

So... let’s remember this feedback isn’t a critique of you, but simply a piece of your work. And you can use the feedback to improve next time. Here’s how:

Simple steps to backwards plan for the term

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Have you ever underestimated the time it takes to complete an assignment or study for an exam? Do you find that no matter how early you start, you don’t have enough time? Backwards planning can help with this.

Anxious for exams? Reduce stress with these tips

A student sitting at a table with a laptop, water bottle and coffee.

Does preparing for a test feel as scary as writing it? Read on. Feeling anxious about tests is common in universitybut here are lots of strategies you can try to help manage those feelings.

Why attend classes (it’s more than just showing up)

Professor in front of a class of students in a lecture hall on campus

Do you feel unmotivated to attend in-person lectures? Maybe you feel disengaged because you can review the slides on your own or watch the recorded lecture. Or maybe you’re not interested in engaging in class discussions or activities. 

If you’re having these feelings, here’s a reminder of some benefits of attending and participating during in-person classes:

How to use feedback to your advantage

Student sitting at a picnic bench on campus and working on a laptop.

Have you ever submitted an essay or project that you were so sure would meet your professor’s expectations, only to get it back with lots of notes and a lower grade than you were hoping for?

We’ve all been there. Receiving and reviewing feedback from your teaching assistants (TAs) and instructors is a regular part of the university experience.

What to include in review notes for exams

A students using chalk to write out math equations on a chalkboard.

Not sure where to start when you’re studying for exams? Review notes are the answer. They help you synthesize what you’ve learned and organize the course information for studying.

Use this five-step process for writing exams

A student writing a test in a lecture hall

There’s no doubt exams can be stressful, but using a process can help you stay calm. Try this five-step process for your next exam:

5 steps to improve your notes with the Cornell method

Two students in a classroom, one is writing in the chalkboard and one is working at a laptop.

What’s the Cornell note-taking method? 

The Cornell note-taking method is a system for taking and organizing notes before, during and after the lecture. With three separate and clear sections, it is easy to keep your notes organized for preview and review

Teaching assistants (TAs) are here to help!

Two students sitting at a table, one student is pointing out something on a paper and there is a dictionary on the table

What is a teaching assistant (TA)?

TAs are upper-year or graduate level students that help your professors and instructors with grading, tutorials, exams and more.

5 steps to feel confident about your next exam

A student sitting at a table and working on a laptop.

Good performance on a test or exam is a combination of knowing the material you’ll be tested on and using your study time well. To help you prepare for upcoming tests and exams, here are five steps to take!

Concept mapping: A powerful tool for note-taking

Five students in a louge space all studying individually.

You may have used a concept map in a class project, or to take notes  but are you using this tool to its full potential? Concept mapping can help you develop knowledge structures, assess your understanding of content and review for exams.

What to listen for in lectures

Students in a lecture hall listening to a professor.

There’s a lot of content in university lectures. It’s important to learn how to take cues to determining what’s important to record in your notes. People don’t instinctively listen well, but it’s a skill that anyone can develop using these steps.

7 reasons why you should manage your time in university

Student sitting at a desk using an ipad. There's an open laptop and notes on the desk.

In university, managing your time is knowing your priorities and making sure that the things on your schedule align with your priorities. Planning your activities involves strategy so that you can get the most out of your time. Still not convinced? Here are the top 7 reasons why you should manage your time regularly in university. 

In-person vs. online classes in university

Students sitting in a lecture, listening to the professor and smiling.

Deciding between online and in-person classes? The world of university learning has evolved a lot, especially with the rise of online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both class types have their perks and challenges. Here's a simple breakdown to help you understand and decide:

What I wish I knew about studying in university

A student sitting outside on campus. They are leaning up against a tree to support their back while they read through notes.

The first day I stepped onto the sprawling university campus, it was an intoxicating blend of excitement, nerves and sheer determination, and I’m sure it's the same for many other first years.

What is independent learning in university?

A student sitting on a bed in a residence room reading a book. There's another student sitting at a desk behind them.

Many of us enter university looking forward to having more independence in choosing our classes, schedules and how we learn. In high school, independent learning might have looked like personal initiative in managing your assignments. In university, this is only a fraction of the kind of independent learning you will have to do.

How to set goals in university

A student sitting at a desk with textbooks open as they write notes.

Do you have a list of things that you’d like to accomplish by the end of your term? Year? Course? Program? Having a list of goals is a great way to stay motivated and reflect on what you want to get out of university.

6 tips for making a schedule that works for you

Four students sitting at a picnic bench on campus working on their laptops.

From the structure to format — your schedule should be caterered to what you need it to do to, which might include keeping track of your schoolwork, job and other things that are important to you!

How to take better notes

A group of students in a lecture hall on campus listening to a professor and taking notes.

What does good note-taking for university lectures look like? There’s more to it than showing up and jotting down a few key phrases from your prof. Follow these tips to focus your attention in lectures, retain information, and make reviewing your notes easier.

3 tips for studying for your first midterm or exam

Two students sitting at desks inside a building on campus and working on computers.

Leaving studying to the last minute may seem like a good strategy, but it’s actually easier to prepare for midterms and exams throughout the term. Follow these three steps to build good habits into your study routine.

How to study strategically last minute (effective cramming)

Two students sitting outside on a picnic bench. Both are looking at their own laptops.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in a situation where you left studying until right before a test or exam. Although advised to avoid this strategy at all costs, many students find themselves in a similar situation at least once throughout their studies. Even though studying last minute should always be used as a last resort, there are some strategies that can help you study for a test or exam and make the last-minute exam preparation a bit less stressful.