Your First Six Weeks

Steps to Succeeding at University

Your first six weeks of transitioning to university are crucial to success. Expect to be challenged, but believe in yourself, work hard, and plan some time to learn about the resources available to you as a UNBC student. Below are some tips and tricks we’ve listed in order to help you start off on the right foot and get the most out of your university career.

Week 1: Time Management

  • Use a planner (get one free from NUGSS) or a weekly and/or semester scheduler in conjunction with the course syllabus
    • Input all important dates: assignments, exams, etc.
    • Plan dedicated study blocks and stick to them
    • Include your work schedule as well as any leisure activities you plan to do regularly
    • Make room in your schedule for downtime
    • Note instructor/professor's office hours and enter them into your planner
    • Read the syllabus for each course.  Keep them handy for reference
    • Keep your paperwork and computer files organized
    • Make efficient use of your time
    • Make to-do lists and prioritize tasks

Week 2: Get Involved

Week 3: Study Habits

  • Develop effective study habits from the start
    • Attend classes regularly, participate in discussions, ask questions
    • Learn to adapt to different teaching styles, classroom rules, etc.
    • Know your learning preferences (LASSI / VARK)
    • Preview the readings before each class
    • Review your notes as soon as possible after each class
    • Review your notes at least once a week
    • Get started on your projects now, even if it seems like you have lots of time
    • Break down large assignments into manageable parts
    • Find a quiet study space on campus that works for you
    • Do all assigned readings and homework
    • Get help if you need it—don’t wait until it’s too late
    • Form/attend a study group
    • Consider attending Supplemental Instruction (SI) if there is a session for your course
    • Math students can hang out and study with classmates in MACE
    • Check out the Academic Success Centre (ASC) to see what tutoring support is available for your classes
    • Consider making an appointment with a Study Skills Tutor
    • Revisit your schedule—keep in mind that workload will fluctuate throughout the semester

Week 4: Exams on the Horizon

  • Exam Preparation
    • Create a study plan
    • Go to your instructor/professor’s office hours if you have questions
    • Know what kind of exam it will be (multiple choice, essay, etc.) and what information will be covered
    • Use your notes, PowerPoints, textbook, etc. and condense the material so that it is manageable
    • Look for possible exam questions in your notes/textbook/PowerPoint
    • Review previous tests and quizzes
    • Use acronyms/mnemonics to help memorize information
    • Try using flash cards to memorize smaller chunks of information
    • Try teaching the material to someone else, even your dog!
    • Form a study group or find a study buddy; share notes and ask each other practice questions, etc.
    • Create/write a practice exam
    • Reward yourself for a job well done
  • It's not too late to change your study habits or seek help

Week 5: Keeping a Healthy Balance

  • Know your limits—Learn to say “no”
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat healthy foods
    • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Participate in stress buster activities on campus
  • Focus on your goals and stay motivated
  • There are counsellors available for more advice

Week 6: Reflection Time

  • Assess and re-focus your habits where necessary
    • Are your grades meeting your expectations?
    • Are you staying motivated in all of your courses?
    • Do you have a good grasp of time management?
  • Exam post-mortem
    • Did you do as well as you expected?
    • Do you need to make any changes in your study strategies?
    • Do you need help in dealing with exam anxiety?
    • View mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Visit the ASC if you need help with learning strategies including time management, or if you would like to meet with a tutor.

Congratulations on making it to the half-way point of the semester!  Good luck with the rest of your studies. 

The Academic Success Centre is here for you.