Learning Center

Academic Tools

For information about workshops, tutoring, and/or Supplemental Instruction at the Palmdale site, please contact (661) 722-6300, extension 6233.

Learning Center: Tips for Academic Success

Tips for Active Classroom Learning

  • Be prepared: have the textbook, paper and pen, colored marker pen.
  • Write notes in the textbook and highlight important topics with a colored marker pen if the instructor is lecturing about textbook information.
  • When taking notes about the instructor's lecture, write down the main points. Avoid writing every word. Be sure to review and edit your notes later the same day.
  • Tape record the lecture, only with the permission of the instructor.
  • Listen carefully and ask questions if you do not understand something.
  • Actively participate in classroom discussions.
  • Know how to contact your instructor if you are going to be absent or if you need clarification of classroom material. All instructors have office hours, offices where they can be reached, and mailboxes.
  • Read your assignments before the next class meeting. You will then be able to ask questions about information which you do not understand.
  • Set up a study schedule and follow it. Allow enough time for all your classes. Keep up with your assignments day by day, or within the respective week—at the very least. This avoids having to "cram."

Tips for Studying

  • Select the best time for you to study. Develop a study plan and follow it. Refer to the time management information in this catalog.
  • Select a quiet place to study. Be aware of proper lighting and ventilation. Sit upright at a desk.
  • Avoid all interruptions—phone, radio, TV, people.
  • Be prepared—have all reading materials, pencils, paper, dictionary.
  • Keep a "Things I Have To Do" list. List dates when assignments and projects are due. Update the list frequently.
  • Review your class notes the day you wrote them. Rewrite them if they are hard to read.
  • Survey a book chapter before you begin reading it. Actively read it by underlining important points.
  • Be strict with yourself. Force yourself to follow your study schedule. Reread and review difficult information until you understand it.
  • Make a list of questions to ask your instructor about material that needs clarification.

Tips for Preparing For a Test

  • Find out as much information about the test as possible from the instructor:
    • Type of test objective, essay, true false, etc.
    • The number of questions and how many points they are worth.
    • The material to be covered.
    • The value of the test toward the final grade.
  • Set up an exam study schedule which includes at least three one-hour sessions or six half-hour sessions.
  • Know your own best time to study. Many people learn best during daylight hours.
  • Maximize the quality of your study time by paying attention to the following details:
    • Select a room conducive to study where the lighting is bright and the air temperature is moderate. A warm, poorly lit room will make you sleepy.
    • Get organized—have all the materials you need to study with you when beginning your study session.
    • Select a quiet setting that is free from interruptions, such as the telephone, radio, television and people.
  • Review as actively as possible; use pencil and paper; use color markers to highlight special items in your notes; make flash cards for materials to be memorized.
  • Make up an exam as if you were the instructor; then take the exam.
  • Pay attention to troublesome points. Make another list for these areas on separate flash cards.
  • Organize your thoughts for possible essay questions. Know the concept about which you are writing.
  • Cram only as a last step. Be selective about what you are cramming. Cover vital points and troublesome areas.
  • Set up a study session with two or three people from your class. Ask each other questions and discuss important concepts. Avoid getting off the subject and wasting time.

Tips for Taking a Test

  • Get to class early or at least on time.
  • Be prepared with pen and other materials requested by instructor (for example: Blue Book, Scantron sheet).
  • Understand the test instructions. Ask questions for clarification before the test begins.
  • Be aware of how much time you have to complete the test.
  • Skim the entire test first; note the point value, types of questions.
  • Answer the easy questions first, leaving appropriate space for the others.
  • Look for key words on true/false questions such as "always," "sometimes," "never," "usually."
  • On multiple choice questions, eliminate the obviously incorrect answer first.
  • On matching questions, answer those items of which you are sure—and check them off. Then, guess the rest.
  • On essay questions, outline in your mind or on scratch paper how to organize your answer before you begin writing.
  • Reread all your answers if you have time at the end of the test.
  • Be confident and think positively.