Develop Your Academic Skills with The Learning Center

Cornerstone: The Learning Center offers robust services to help undergraduate students achieve their academic goals. The resources and services featured on this page couple well with other services offered through Cornerstone’s Academic Programs.

The video below shows a student who has taken advantage of many of the resources and services provided by Cornerstone.

Academic Skills Resources

Time Management and Productivity

  1. Don’t set yourself up to fail. If you’re not a morning person, don’t create a schedule that requires waking up at 5 a.m. Find what works for you and build from there.
  2. Prioritize tasks/duties/meetings based on importance and urgency.
  3. Have set times to accomplish routine tasks to give yourself a strong foundation. This can help alleviate feelings of being overwhelmed and pressured, and the constant juggling of tasks.
  4. Reward yourself for completing tasks on time.
  5. Find a school/personal life balance. Being more aware of your time and how you spend it will help you understand your time abilities and constraints.
  6. Write professor and TA office hours into your schedule/planner. When you need additional help, you’ll have that information at your fingertips—not buried somewhere in your backpack or desk.
  7. Break large assignments into smaller segments. For each designated segment, set a deadline for yourself. All segments should build upon the previous one(s) so that the “total” assignment is complete by the deadline (most likely professor-set)

*Many students take advantage of their Outlook Calendar (accessible through your student email).

Spaced Practice

Study Skills

Effective Study Skills Ensure Success

  1. Use practice tests as initial self-assessments. Don’t “cram” before taking the practice test. Instead, take the practice with your current knowledge to identify areas of improvement/where you need to focus your studying.
  2. Build knowledge from familiar concepts.
  3. The manner in which you re-read material is related to how information is processed. Mindfulness is an important aspect of re-reading.
  4. Flash cards, studying in a small group, and teaching the information can all be effective ways to study – find what works.
  5. Study a little every day (alternate the subjects), and avoid studying one subject for hours on end.
  6. Identify the concept behind each problem. When attempting a problem, first try to identify what concept the professor is testing you on. Getting the right answer is important, but it’s also critical that you know what concept(s) you need to use/apply.
  7. Time management is very important for effective studying.

Avoid Procrastination and Increase Persistence

  1. For long term goals that don’t have set deadlines or are further away – create your own deadlines
    and break out the larger goal into smaller goals that act as steps towards the larger goal.
  2. Avoiding procrastination and increasing self-control is more than just creating deadlines for yourself
    or time management.
  3. Understand and increase “grit”.
  4. Find something you are passionate about and what motivates you.
  5. To persevere through difficulty, resist the urge to engage in “grass is always greener” thinking.
  6. Try to promote a growth mindset for yourself, rather than a fixed mindset. People who have fixed mindsets tend to believe their ability to learn something new is “fixed,” while someone with a growth mindset believes that eventually s/he will learn something new and improve with deliberate practice and effort.

Effective Note Taking

  1. Hand writing notes–as opposed to typing notes on a laptop or tablet–can increase learning by forcing your mind to synthesize information during lectures.
  2. Don’t try to write word-for-word what the lecturer/instructor is saying. You will miss important information if you are too busy trying to “transcribe” the lecture.
  3. Write notes in a way that you will use.
  4. Become friends with someone in your class and swap notes to gain another perspective.

Benefits of Collaboration

  1. Gain new perspectives
  2. Collaborating can increase creativity
  3. Increase your ability to work with different personalities
  4. Collaborating in groups can lead to networking opportunities

Identifying and Using Resources