Pro tips: How to stay on top of your course load this fall

As the semester begins, students begin to worry about their course load and how to keep track of it. Student Learning Services at MRU provides students with the tools they need to be successful in their studies.

The study service website has many great resources for time management, improving your study skills and motivation.

time management

Time management is key to staying on track and ahead of your studies. Amy Yoshida, the leader of the Learning Strategists team, advises students to block twice as many hours outside of class as they spend in class. She gave an example to illustrate this practice

“I’m taking a Gen Ed 1101 class, I would say it’s a three-hour class during the week. So for three hours in class, I want to block out about six hours outside of class.”

That might seem like a lot, Yoshida says, but having these hours spread out throughout the week helps students stay current with classes and gives them time to work ahead and review previous material.

Student Learning Services are offered to all students at MRU, providing support and resources to help students succeed. PHOTO: MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY

Making time for revision is very important throughout the semester, especially when it comes time for the final exams. Rather than spending the last few weeks of a semester repeating what they were taught earlier in the year, students should already have reviewed this material and be working on their active learning – extracting information.

Learn by heart

Along with time management, the ability to memorize is crucial for students. According to Student Learning Services, it takes time to absorb information and transfer new facts into your long-term memory. Getting enough sleep is critical to this process, and staying up late while cramming more information into your head won’t help you memorize facts or formulas.

Yoshida says that the process of memorization is important to learning, but that it’s also passive. What students need to focus on after memorizing is getting the information out. This is a step that many students skip when studying.

In a workshop, Yoshida, standing on the right, teaches MRU students how to keep track of their course load. PHOTO: MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY

“That’s what you do on a job, right? You have to pull it out and use that information,” says Yoshida. “They want to learn more actively.”

On their website, Learning Services suggest that instead of rewriting, highlighting, and reading notes, students should take action by: “Making connections to what you already know, putting material into your own words, rewriting it for someone else.” teach, ask questions, and use new information to solve problems.”

“You hope that through repetition you’ll remember something,” says Yoshida. “Active learning is when you cover up that information, ask yourself questions about it, and try to pull it out again.”

motivation

Students often struggle with motivation and procrastination during the semester. To counter this, Yoshida says her biggest piece of advice is to forgive yourself.

“People are busy and working hard. So make sure you take care of yourself, make sure you literally congratulate yourself for the good job you are doing instead of focusing on the fact that you didn’t do something or aren’t pretending just as you wished.”

She also says that you should adjust your mindset and focus on small tasks instead of big ones. Instead of saying “I’m going to write a whole term paper” or “I’m going to study this whole subject”, you have to think “I’m going to work for 45 minutes” or “I’m going to read as many pages as possible for 25 minutes”.

Chimaobi Prosper, an international student at Mount Royal University, says he’s usually studying at school when he’s not working. PHOTO: MARIAM TAIWO

“It’s so simple, yet so helpful,” says Yoshida. “Telling yourself that you’re going to do a short task for a short amount of time actually feels doable.”

She advises students to set a timer and work 45 minutes and then take a 15-minute break. Alternatively, you can do smaller intervals, e.g. B. Work 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break.

She also encourages students to book a session with Learning Services. They offer 30-minute appointments with learning strategists, a variety of different workshops, and the peer learning program where student leaders teach other students.

One-to-one appointments allow students to talk to a strategist about a paper or project they are working on, or how to prepare for their exams. She recommends students book a week or two in advance so that a spot is reserved for them.

Student Learning Services is a free service for MRU students and their goal is to help students be effective, efficient, use their skills and make them even better.

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