1 Academic Skills Resource Library Student Version 1
2 Academic Skills Resource Library Student Version Table of Contents Choosing a Planner Calendar The Effective Workspace Checklist Getting It Done - How Much Time Do I Need for My Courses? How to Use a Planner Calendar Studying Techniques Quick Reference Guide Task Estimator Tips for Being a Successful Student Example Planner Calendar 2
3 Choosing a Planner Calendar A planner calendar gives you one place to keep track of all your activities, appointments, s, tasks, and due dates. There are paper planners as well as digital planners to use on a computer, tablet, or cell phone. However, paper and digital planners are only tools. You still need to decide on a system of planning that works for you, and use it regularly. Choose the type of planner that you will be comfortable taking with you, keeping updated, and using every day. Paper planners let you keep a daily, weekly, or monthly calendar along with to-do lists and other notes, depending on the design of the pages. Popular brands of paper planners include Day-Timer ( and FranklinCovey ( but there are many inexpensive choices that can work just as well. You can buy a planner at your college bookstore or any office supply store. Digital planners that you use on your computer, tablet, or cell phone let you keep a calendar with daily, weekly, and monthly views as well as to-do lists and other notes. There are free, Web-based calendars from Google ( and Yahoo ( among others, as well as software programs like Microsoft Outlook ( which also offers and an address book. Most tablets and cell phones include calendar software. If the calendar provided does not appeal to you, there are countless applications available for download at little or no cost. Paper Planners Digital Planners Require no batteries to recharge or data to back up Are easy to learn how to use (turning to a page and writing is quick and easy) Allows information to be viewed in different formats (daily, weekly, monthly) after typing in only once Are easy to maintain and update Can feel like a more natural way to plan Provide a visual representation of what you need to do Can provide a sense of accomplishment when crossing off s or to-do items Allow information to be easily shared between electronic devices (e.g., computer, tablet, or cell phone) Allow you to back up your data to prevent data loss Can alert you to appointments and events in your calendar May offer other useful features, such as an address book, , and more 3
4 Effective Workspace Tips Below are some tips to help you create a more comfortable and productive workspace. Try some of these suggestions to help you discover your ideal workspace. Choose a regular place to study that you do not already associate with other activities like sleeping or socializing. Choose a place where you feel comfortable and alert. You may need to sit at a desk to study or you may prefer to work on the floor or sofa. Make sure you can concentrate in your workspace. You may need a quiet place to study or you may find that background music helps you relax and focus. Make sure the temperature is comfortable for you. Feeling too cold or too warm can affect your ability to concentrate. Have good lighting. You may want to supplement overhead lighting with a reading lamp. Avoid interruptions or distractions such as answering the phone, checking , or chatting. If necessary, turn off your phone, computer, and . Ask for support and respect from family, friends, or roommates for your study time to minimize distractions. Keep your books, notes, and supplies where you can quickly find them. Before you start working on an or studying, make sure you have everything you need in your workspace. Clear away anything you do not need. Take regular, short breaks from studying away from your workspace. Be firm about returning to your work after your designated break is over. 4
5 Getting it Done: How Much Time Do I Need for My Courses? Directions: This exercise is to help you become more aware of the amount of time you should be devoting to your courses - in class, working on s, and studying - per week. How many credits are you taking this semester? This number represents the hours you spend in class each week. Multiple the number of credits by 2. X 2 = You should devote that much time to your coursework each week. Now, add the number of credits you are taking and the number of hours you should spend on coursework together. + = They should allow that amount of time to devote to their studies each week. So, if you are taking three, 3-credit courses in a regular (16 week) semester, you should be devoting at least 27 hours per week on school work. For example: You should be spending 9 (3 courses x 3 credit hours = 9 total credit hours) hours in class per week. You should be studying and working on s 18 (9 total credit hours X 2 hours spent working on coursework per credit) hours per week. Thus, the 9 hours spent in class and the 18 hours a week spent working on coursework equate to devoting at least 27 hours per week on schoolwork. Keep in mind that for subjects that are more difficult for you, you may need to allow more time. For a helpful perspective, discuss your coursework and other responsibilities with your college counselor/advisor. 5
6 General Tips on Using a Planner Calendar How to Use a Planner Calendar Put everything you need to do in your planner and keep it updated. Your job, family obligations, chores, organization meetings, social activities, and exercise, etc., all take time. Plan for coursework as well as for all your other regular activities to make sure you have allowed enough time for everything. Each morning, check what is in your planner for the day. Refer to your planner a few times throughout the day to keep yourself on track. Each night, review what you did that day, and then look ahead at tomorrow s schedule and to-do list. For questions on specific s and tasks, ask your professor. For general help in planning, talk with your college counselor or advisor. Filling In Your Planner Calendar 1. Mark your planner calendar with all your regularly scheduled activities, including classes, job hours, family obligations, chores, exercise schedule, etc. You can print out the Monthly Schedule and Weekly Schedule sections from this document to get started, or you can use your own paper or digital planner calendar. 2. Use the syllabus for each of your classes to find out the dates s are due and when quizzes and tests are scheduled. Mark your planner calendar with these dates. Make sure to update your planner calendar if your professor makes changes or adds a new. 3. Mark your planner calendar with the dates you will need to start working on s and studying for quizzes and tests. First, list all the tasks that make up the. Next, figure out how much time each task will take. Finally, put each task in your planner calendar with the date when you need to start the task.* 4. Each day, write out your to-do list and make up a schedule with blocks of time for each of the major things you need to do (for example, 9:00-11:30 a.m.: study for Math quiz; 12:30-1:00 p.m.: meet with college counselor; 1:30-3:00 p.m.: do laundry and read English chapter 4, etc.). Print out the Daily Schedule section from this document or use your own paper or digital planner calendar. 5. In your daily schedule, cross off each task as you finish it. Besides showing you what you have completed for the day, crossing off tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment. If you need more time for a task, figure out how much more and revise your schedule. If you cannot finish the task today, put it on your schedule for tomorrow. *To figure out how much time a task will take, think about your past experience with that kind of activity. If you have no experience with the task, ask someone who does. Add in time for gathering materials, traveling, or whatever you might need to do to prepare. If you are not sure, give yourself more time rather than less. Also give yourself some extra time to take care of anything unexpected. This is very important because tasks often take longer than you expect, and other things may come up that you must handle. For help in breaking down s into tasks and estimating how much time they will take, try the Task Estimator exercise in the Academic Skills Resource Library. 6
11 Studying Techniques Quick Reference Guide General Study Habits Have a study routine and keep a regular study schedule. Keep up with your s. Ask yourself questions about the material you are reading to help you understand and remember it. Take notes when necessary. Review your notes after each class to help you absorb the information while it is still fresh in your mind. If something seems difficult or unfamiliar, make a note to ask your professor as soon as possible. Have a regular place to study where you feel comfortable and alert. It should also be a place where you can concentrate and avoid distractions. Keep everything you need your books, notes, and supplies where you can quickly find them. When you are studying, pace yourself. Divide the material into topics or chunks and take regular breaks. Don t let yourself get distracted or interrupted. On planned study breaks, you can make calls, check , or talk with friends. If you permit interruptions at any time, you will lose focus as well as valuable study time. Join a study group. Get tutoring when you need extra help. Test Preparation Techniques Find out what is going to be on a test so you know what to study. Check your syllabus to find out what will be covered on the test. Ask your professor what you need to know for the test and what the format of the test will be. Look at your class notes, s, and quizzes to see what material has been covered since the last test. While reading, focus on the main ideas in the material and periodically recite them to yourself in your own words. Make connections between new information and what you have already learned. Make outlines and charts of the most important concepts and examples from your texts and notes. Write down the questions that you expect to be on the test and answer them. Reread and review all materials to determine what you already know, identify points you may have missed, and clarify anything that you do not fully understand. Take a practice test the day before, and try to make the test conditions, such as the time allowed and the test environment, as close to the actual conditions as possible. Avoid cramming the night before a test. 11
12 Task Estimator This worksheet will help you break down an into tasks and estimate how much time the will take to complete. Remember that tasks often take longer than you expect, so it is better to plan for a little more time than you think you need. As you gain experience in college courses, your estimates will become more accurate. Here is an example of how a student has used the task estimator to break down an English Composition and determine how long it will take to complete. Describe the : Write a one-page critical review of a movie, TV show, song, or piece of art that I have strong feelings about. Include a short description of the work, my personal reactions to it, and what matters about it in our society. Due date: Thursday, October 15 What tasks make up this? About how long will this task take you to do? When will you start working on this task? 1. Look at a few examples of critical reviews in current newspapers and/or magazines. 2. Choose a subject for the review that I have strong feelings about. 3. Watch/listen to/look at it; take notes about the subject and write down points I want to make. 4. Think about what I want to say; write an outline. 5. Write a first draft using my outline. 6. Bring first draft to the writing center for feedback. 30 minutes 30 minutes 1 hour, 30 minutes 1 hour 1 hour 1 hour Sunday, October 11 Sunday, October 11 Sunday, October 11 Sunday, October 11 Monday, October 12 Tuesday, October Revise the draft. 1 hour Tuesday, October Go back to the writing center for final review. 1 hour Wednesday, October Finalize the review. 30 minutes Wednesday, October 14 Total: 8 hours 12
13 Describe the : (Be Specific) What tasks make up this? About how long will this task take you to do? (Make your best guess.) Due date: When will you start working on this task? (Work backward from the due date.) Remember: Total hours: Carefully read the when you receive it. This will tell you what you need to do, what you need to think about, and what style and format are expected of the finished work. If you have any questions about the, ask your professor right away. For a helpful perspective, go over your completed worksheet with your professor, college counselor, or advisor. 13
14 Tips for Being a Successful Student Being a successful student takes hard work. To thrive in your courses, you have to set proper expectations for each course and know when - and who - to ask for help. Class Expectations Choosing Courses Getting Help Read your Syllabi. Syllabi will not only inform you of the requirements of each course, but they will also let you know what each of your professors expects in terms of attendance and participation. The expectations may be different for each course and you need to be aware of this. Attend Class. By attending every class, you will consistently interact with your professors and classmates. This will help you have a better understanding of how to best succeed in class. Become Aware of your School's Core Curriculum. Every school has required courses that need to be taken to graduate. Explore your Options. If you are unsure about your major, take elective courses that interest you. Many students find their passion, and major, simply by exploring their interests. It may take some time, but you'll find your path! Talk to Others. There are staff on campus who are available to help you select your courses. You can also discuss courses with your peers. Talk to professors who teach the courses you most enjoy so that you can learn more about other courses they teach. Talk to your Professors. When you have a question or a concern about a concept, test or, ask your professor during class or outside of class. Meet your Advisor. Your advisor is available to provide guidance and advice on choosing courses, selecting a major, handling tough courses, and interacting with others on campus. Visit the Tutoring Center. Most schools have both student and professional tutors. They often have extended hours and are centrally located on campus. If you are having difficulties with a certain subject or project, consider arranging a meeting to get some guidance and to learn tips to increase your likelihood of success. 14
15 Example Planner Calendar Read the description of the college student below and review her schedule on the following pages. You ll notice that this student is facing multiple demands attending college, maintaining a personal life, and upholding multiple family obligations. Writing things down in one place helps to keep you on track. Use exercises, such as the Task Estimator and the Getting It Done How Much Time Will It Take, in the Academic Skills Resource Library, to help you create a realistic schedule of your own. Gwen is a full-time college student working on her bachelor s degree in elementary education. She is taking four three-credit classes this semester. Gwen also works one day a week as a teacher s aide. In addition to her course work, job, and family obligations, Gwen sings in a choir which has weekly practices and monthly performances. Gwen marks her planner calendar with all her regularly scheduled activities, including classes, job hours, family obligations, chores, organization meetings, exercise, etc. Gwen uses the syllabus for each of her classes to find out the dates s are due and when quizzes and tests are scheduled. She marks her planner calendar with these dates and updates them any time her professor makes changes or adds a new. Gwen also marks her planner calendar with the dates she needs to start working on s and studying for quizzes and tests. First, she lists all the tasks that make up the. Next, she figures out how much time each task will take. Finally, she puts each task in her planner calendar with the date she needs to start the task. Each day, Gwen writes out her to-do list and schedule with blocks of time designated for each of the major things she needs to do. As she finishes a task, she crosses it off. Besides showing her what she has completed for the day, crossing off tasks gives Gwen a sense of accomplishment. If she needs more time for a task, she figures out how much more time she needs and revises her schedule. If she cannot finish the task that day, she puts it on her schedule for the next day. Below you will find several examples (monthly, weekly, daily) of how Gwen could capture all of her schoolwork, activities, and family obligations. Please note that it is not necessary to develop multiple planner calendars for your use. The most important thing is that you find a planner calendar that fits your own style. 15
16 Month of April MONTHLY SCHEDULE Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 11 due) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 16 due) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 14 Math quiz 3:45-4:45 p.m. Babysit niece 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 14 Math quiz 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 14 quiz) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 16 Biology quiz 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 11 Geography quiz 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 11 quiz) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 16 quiz) 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 15 Math 4-6 p.m. begin essay for English Comp 8-9 p.m. choir practice 8 a.m.-3 p.m. work 3:30-4:30 p.m. Take Mom to appointment 6:00 p.m. pizza/movie night with friends 8-10:30 a.m. work on essay for English Comp 11 a.m.-3 p.m. grocery shopping & laundry 3-5:30 Ch. 17 Biology :00 a.m. Mom s birthday brunch 2-4:30 p.m. finish essay for English Comp 7-9 p.m. Ch. 12 Geography 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp (essay due) 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 15 due) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 17 Biology 7-9:30 p.m. Ch. 12 Geography 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 12 due) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 17 due) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 15 Math quiz 3:45-4:45 p.m. Babysit niece 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 15 Math quiz 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 15 quiz) 11:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m. meet with college counselor 12:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 17 Biology quiz 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 12 Geography quiz 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 12 quiz) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 17 quiz) 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 16 Math 4-6 p.m. begin essay for English Comp 8-9 p.m. choir practice 8 a.m.-3 p.m. work 6:00 p.m. pizza/movie night with friends 8-10:30 a.m. work on essay for English Comp 11:15 a.m. Dentist appointment 1-5 p.m. grocery shopping & laundry 6-8:30 Ch. 18 Biology 16
17 13 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday :00 a.m. Volunteer at local 5K run 2-4:30 p.m. finish essay for English Comp 7-9 p.m. Ch. 13 Geography 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp (essay due) 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 16 due) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 18 Biology 7-9:30 p.m. Ch. 13 Geography 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 13 due) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 18 due) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 16 Math quiz 3:45-4:45 p.m. Babysit niece 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 16 Math quiz 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 16 quiz) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 18 Biology quiz 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 13 Geography quiz 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 13 quiz) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 18 quiz) 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 17 Math 4-6 p.m. begin essay for English Comp 8-9 p.m. choir practice 8 a.m.-3 p.m. work 3:30-4:30 p.m. Dermatologist Appointment 6:00 p.m. pizza/movie night with friends 8-10:30 a.m. work on essay for English Comp 11 a.m.-3 p.m. grocery shopping & laundry 4-6:30 p.m. Ch. 19 Biology :00 a.m. Visit Grandma 2-4:30 p.m. finish essay for English Comp 7-9 p.m. Ch. 14 Geography 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp (essay due) 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 17 due) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 19 Biology 7-9:30 p.m. Ch. 14 Geography 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 14 due) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 19 due) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 17 Math quiz 3:45-4:45 p.m. Babysit niece 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 17 quiz) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 19 Biology quiz 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 14 Geography quiz 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 14 quiz) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 19 quiz) 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 18 Math 4-6 p.m. begin essay for English Comp 8 a.m.-3 p.m. work 7:30 p.m. Date with Mike 8-11 a.m. work on essay for English Comp 11 a.m.-3 p.m. grocery shopping & laundry 3:30-5 p.m. start Ch. 20 Biology 7 p.m. choir performance 8-9 p.m. choir practice 17
18 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 17 Math quiz a.m.-12 p.m. finish Ch. 20 Biology + Ch. 15 Geography 2-4 p.m. finish essay for English Comp 6 p.m. anniversary party for Aunt Lillian & Uncle Henry 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp (essay due) 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 18 due) 11:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. lunch; Ch. 20 Biology 7-9:30 p.m. Ch. 15 Geography 6-7 a.m. exercise 8-9:15 a.m. Geography (Ch. 15 due) 10-11:15 a.m. Biology (Ch. 20 due) 11:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 18 Math quiz 3:45-4:45 p.m. Babysit niece 8-9:15 a.m. English Comp 10-11:15 a.m. Math (Ch. 18 quiz) 11:30-2:30 p.m. lunch; study for Ch. 20 Biology quiz 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 15 Geography quiz 7-9:30 p.m. study for Ch. 18 Math quiz 18
19 Week of 4/6 through 4/12 WEEKLY SCHEDULE Time Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 6:00 a.m. 6:15 a.m. 6:30 a.m. 6:45 a.m. 7:00 a.m. 7:15 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 7:45 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 8:15 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. 4/6 4/7 English Comp (essay due) 4/8 exercise Geography (Ch. 12 due) 4/9 4/10 exercise English Comp Geography (Ch. 12 quiz) 4/11 work 4/12 work on essay for English Comp 9:00 a.m. 9:15 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m. Volunteer at local 5K Run 10:00 a.m. 10:15 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 10:45 a.m. Math (Ch. 15 due) Biology (Ch. 17 due) Math (Ch. 15 quiz) Biology (Ch. 17 quiz) 11:00 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 11:45 a.m. 12:00 p.m. 12:15 p.m. 12:30 p.m. 12:45 p.m. lunch Ch. 17 Biology lunch study for Ch. 15 Math quiz meet with college counselor lunch; study for Ch. 17 Biology quiz lunch; Ch. 16 Math Dentist appointment 1:00 p.m. 1:15 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 1:45 p.m. grocery shopping & laundry 19
20 Time Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 2:00 p.m. 2:15 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 2:45 p.m. 4/6 finish essay for English Comp 4/7 4/8 4/9 4/10 4/11 4/12 3:00 p.m. 3:15 p.m. 3:30 p.m. 3:45 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 4:15 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 4:45 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:15 p.m. 5:30 p.m. 5:45 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 6:15 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 7:45 p.m. Begin Ch. 12 Geography Ch. 12 Geography Babysit niece study for Ch. 15 Math quiz study for Ch. 12 Geography quiz begin essay for English Comp pizza/movie night with friends Ch. 18 Biology 8:00 p.m. 8:15 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 8:45 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 9:15 p.m. 9:30 p.m. 9:45 p.m. choir practice 20
21 Today: Wednesday, April 9 6:00 a.m. 6:15 a.m. 6:30 a.m. 6:45 a.m. 7:00 a.m. 7:15 a.m. 7:30 a.m. 7:45 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 8:15 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. 9:00 a.m. 9:15 a.m. 9:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m. 10:00 a.m. 10:15 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 10:45 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 11:45 a.m. 12:00 p.m. 12:15 p.m. 12:30 p.m. 12:45 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 1:15 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 1:45 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 2:15 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 2:45 p.m. Time Appointments To-Do s English Comp Math (Ch. 15 quiz) meet with college counselor lunch; study for Ch. 17 Biology quiz Pay bills online Review notes for Math quiz DAILY SCHEDULE 21
ESTEEM Week 5 (9/19 9/23) Tyler Wyckoff (916) 558-2176 WyckofT@scc.losrios.edu PANTHER PATHWAY PROGRESS MAP Focus is Study Skills Get help early! Talk to your professor (s) to check grades in progress.
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