Tag Archives: SLAC

Study Tips: Summer Session Survival

The Upside of Summer Session

by SLAC

Check out SLAC for tutoring in a wide variety of subjects.

Check out SLAC for tutoring in a wide variety of subjects.

Ah, summer school! Parking is closer and traffic is lighter. You can turn left without a car bearing down on you or a bicyclist whizzing past. The river and its banks are less crowded. You can park on Town Square! You can walk on campus without dodging skateboards. Classrooms seem bigger. You don’t trip over backpacks as you squeeze between desks, and if professors don’t mind, you can prop up your flip-flops.

There’s only one problem: If you don’t get textbooks and syllabi early so that you can read any material your instructors might have assigned for the first day, you could saunter into a lecture unprepared. When possible, get your first week of reading done before classes even begin. Expect papers each week (or two), tests on Mondays, and homework every night, because you have only four and a half weeks to cover 13–14 weeks of course material.

But intensity has its benefits. You’ll be working with focused students broader in age range and experiences; some will be returning professionals honing skills or redirecting careers. As a result, in-class discussion can be more interesting and study groups can draw from the variety of students’ experiences, so use each other’s strengths. Also, motivated students in small classes can make your professors even more involved and accessible.

Of course, campus study and recreation resources are still available: The Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC), the Writing Center, Math Lab and many other tutoring labs will be open during the summer sessions. In addition, the Alkek Library, LBJ Student Student Center and Rec Center are not only open, but they probably are far less crowded than during the fall and spring semesters.

Summer school equals work but it’s also a great introduction or a refreshing return to one of college’s best experiences!

 

Study Tips: Channel Your Inner Google Map

Map your way to
successful essay writing

by SLAC

When you read an essay question, do you get a headache? Does your brain go blank? Try comparing taking essay tests to using Google Map or another map search engine. Principles that achieve good map search results also work for answering essay questions.

1. GET DIRECTIONS

Read the question thoroughly. Details determine the route you take in your explanation.

Search tip: Identify specifics in an essay question so you don’t waste time on false starts and explanations that are loose or dead ends.

 2. ASSESS THE MOST EFFICIENT ROUTE

Make an outline of relevant information to make clear connections, organized by main and subordinate ideas.

Search tip: Link relevant ideas into a navigable whole. If links or chains of reasoning are random or chaotic, your answer could miss the mark.

3. PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Visualize action words to find your lines of arguments:

  • ANALYZE – provide an in-depth exploration of a topic, considering components of ideas and their interrelationships
  • EXPLAIN – clarify, interpret, give reasons for differences of opinion or of results; analyze causes
  • ILLUSTRATE – justify your position or answer a question using concrete examples
  • TRACE – describe the evolution, development or progress of the subject step-by-step, sometimes using chronological order
  • COMPARE/CONTRAST – emphasize similarities and/or differences between two topics; give reasons pro and con
  • PROVE – argue the truth of a statement by giving factual evidence and logical reasoning
  • CRITICIZE – express your judgment about the merit, truth or usefulness of the views or factors mentioned in the question and support your judgment with facts and explanations
  • EVALUATE – appraise, give your viewpoint, cite limitations and advantages, include the opinion of authorities, and give evidence to support your position
  • INTERPRET – translate, give examples, or comment on a subject, usually including your own viewpoint
  • REVIEW – examine and respond to possible problems or obstacles in your account

Search tip: Use the essay question as your guide to choose the line(s) of argument that allows you to make your strongest, most concise argument. Then, map your answer!

4. PRINT OUT YOUR MAP

If your professor allows, take in an outline or more than one outline of essay questions, but be SURE this is okay before you do this. If you can’t take in an outline, go in with one (or more) in your mind and write it inside of your bluebook or on your paper first thing. This helps when you can’t remember something because of stress. It also helps you stay calm and focused during tests.

You’ve got this, Bobcats! For more great study tips, visit SLAC online.

Study Tips: Academic Checklist

Setting the tone for the semester

by Texas State SLAC

Photo by CollegeDegrees360 / flickr.com

Photo by CollegeDegrees360 / flickr.com

This is the first full week of school and a good time to set the tone for what lies ahead this semester. Consider this checklist to help you out:

____    I have purchased books and other materials for all my classes.

____    I have attended all classes for the first time and collected a syllabus for each one.

____    I have a daily planner and wall calendar on which to post all events, assignments and their due dates, exams/quizzes, trips and other extracurricular activities.

____    I have allocated time for reading each day during prime hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., M-F).

____    I have made a study schedule. If I do not have one, I will get someone to help me make one. A good place to start looking for help is at SLAC.

____    I have made arrangements with my employer to give me the same work schedule each week if at all possible. This will allow me to set my study hours — and not be worried about having to go to work at unexpected times and days.

____    I have shared my study schedule with my roommate so we can coordinate activities around the time we have set aside for studying.

____    I have promised myself that I will read to get ahead when I don’t have homework; moreover, I promise myself that I will never go to class having NOT read the assigned reading.

____    I will attend all labs that my courses require.

____    I promise to give myself some time to relax and have fun — and to take care of my physical and mental health. The Student Health Center and Counseling Center are on campus to assist me.

____    I will post this contract with myself where I can see it every day.

Signed: _________________________________

Date:    _________________________________

Study Tips: Summer School Survival Strategies

Time: Friend or Foe?

By Texas State SLAC

Pulling all-nighters is a risky strategy for summer sessions.

Pulling all-nighters is a risky strategy for summer sessions. Photo by Sheng Han/flickr.com

It’s 1:50 in the morning. You’re at your desk, with a huge can of Monster precariously perched on a stack of books and articles. Only 456 more words to write or 19 more algebra problems to go. Our advice? Go to bed ― your mattress, bunk, futon or pull-out couch ― and sleep. You are falling victim to the commonly held idea that you work better under pressure.

Even if you do perform best late at night during the long semesters, this strategy isn’t a good one for the summer semester. Summer classes are held every day ― and on those days when you used to be sleeping after pulling an all-nighter, you’re now supposed to be in class. In the summer semester, if you procrastinate and get into the habit of working under pressure, soon you won’t have any options to do otherwise.

Summer school is intense. It is unrelenting and unforgiving. Don’t fall behind! There’ll be no time to catch up. And working too close to deadlines means not having a chance to problem solve if something goes wrong or you have last-minute trouble with a concept.

Dredge up some self-discipline to take care of your body, to make yourself read or study early in the day, to start preparing for midterms and finals, to e-mail or talk with your professor ― including the invisible professors in your online courses ― about tests and papers. Do it now.

Check TRACS and Bobcat Mail several times each day. In summer school, falling behind in sleep, your studies, or your communication is even more destructive than it is during fall or spring. Summertime is the best time to make time your friend.

Study Tips: Reading Comprehension

Devote some time to reading every day.  (Photo by Matt Katzenberger)

Devote some time to reading every day.
(Photo by Matt Katzenberger)

Succeed In College: Read To Understand

By Texas State SLAC

Love it or hate it, you have to get familiar with academic reading in college. Your exams may include questions about readings that professors assigned but never discussed in class, so learn to read to understand. The more active your reading, the better your chance for thorough comprehension. Use a structured reading method involving forethought, performance, and reflection. Continue reading

Study Tips: Pros and Cons of Summer Classes

Summer classes require balancing relaxed mood with intense pace

LBJ Statue with two students in background

Summer on campus: There’s more room to walk but more need for focus.

By Texas State SLAC

It’s summer at Texas State. Parking’s closer. Traffic’s lighter. The river and its banks are less crowded. On campus, you can walk without dodging skateboards and bikes. Classrooms seem bigger — you don’t trip over backpacks as you squeeze between desks. If professors don’t mind, you can even prop up your flip-flops.

Only one problem: The seemingly relaxed pace doesn’t extend to studying for summer classes. If you don’t get your textbooks and the syllabus early, you may saunter unprepared into a lecture on two chapters — or an entire book!  Continue reading

Study Tips: Your Financial Future

As semester closes, consider how finances affect academic success

Piggy bank with mortarboard

Plan now for success down the road.

By Texas State SLAC

Preparing for finals is probably the biggest thing weighing on your mind this time of year. But whether you’re continuing at Texas State University in the summer or completing your degree and moving forward with graduate studies in the fall, now is a good time to think about your financial plan for future semesters. As this semester’s end draws near, consider the following: Continue reading

Study Tips: Mapping an Essay

Use a Google Maps approach to find your way through essay tests

By Texas State SLAC

Detail photo: hand of student taking essay test

Map your way through composing an essay.

When you read an essay question, do you get a headache? Does your brain go blank? Try comparing taking essay tests to using Google Maps. Principles that achieve good map search results also work for answering essay questions. Continue reading

Study Tips: Spring Break

Plan ahead to maintain your academic rhythm over Spring Break

By Texas State SLAC

student studying in library with laptop

Plan time to study over Spring Break.

Spring Break is almost here! Unfortunately, semesters don’t always end when a college student’s vacation begins. Learning to manage working while enjoying your time off is an essential skill for college life and beyond.

First: Make a plan. Since your brain is still in college mode, take advantage of it. Just as in the regular semester, put what you have to get done and related deadlines on a calendar and make a schedule to be sure you study some each day and more on days you aren’t actively involved in extracurricular fun. Making a plan now will prevent stress later and keep you from completely losing the rhythm of academic life. Continue reading

Study Tips: Office Hours

Office hours: Take advantage of time to get help from your professors

Professor mentoring student

Need help? Don’t forget to ask your professor!

By Texas State SLAC

It can be difficult to converse with professors before or after class. There may be too little time because the professor may have to go to another building, or another class may be waiting outside. That’s why professors designate office hours to meet students outside of classes. Yet many professors say few students use this time.

Take advantage of your professors’ willingness to help. Your professors may be formal in class yet friendly and approachable one-to-one. Follow these tips to make your approach to office visits a little easier: Continue reading