Study Tips for an A+ Semester!


Assistant Director of Academic Support, Holly Kilby

Margaret Gregory, Staff Writer

With the start of a new semester, it is imperative that students focus on their studies and aim for the best grade possible.

Assistant Director of Academic Support, Holly Kilby, advises students to always attend class, read the syllabi and stay up-to-date with Canvas announcements. If students absolutely have to miss, then they must notify the professor as soon as possible.

“Sometimes, students fail to read for understanding,” Kilby said. “A common mistake is for students to believe that skimming and writing a few topic sentences in a notebook takes the place of reading to learn while taking meaningful notes. Another common mistake is poor time management. This manifests in students not having enough time to devote to their studies.”

Kilby also shared some of her own personal study methods and obstacles that she experienced as an undergrad.

“As a student, I learned the value of engaging with my reading materials in a meaningful way,” Kilby said. “I followed the SQ3R Reading Method for success. I also took thorough notes in class by loosely following the Cornell Note-Taking System.”

Both of these methods are designed to aid students in reading and study comprehension. The SQ3R Reading Method stands for “Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review”. It is a reading comprehension method designed to help students absorb as much information as possible from an assigned reading. The Cornell Note-Taking System is a short hand not taking system that focuses on organization and review. This method recommends students to divide their paper into two columns reserved for notes and important keywords and one row across the bottom of the page for the summary of said notes.

“But I also struggled,” Kilby said. “I worked multiple jobs and had other responsibilities, so time management was a struggle for me during my freshman and sophomore years. I eventually learned to work ahead, to push through and complete work even when I didn’t feel like it, and to time myself so that I wouldn’t spend 5 hours on an assignment that only required 3 hours of work. Certainly, nobody is perfect, and I learned many college lessons the hard way.”

An obstacle that many students struggle with is not knowing how to eliminate distractions when trying to study. The Student Success Center advises students to know their boundaries and to be honest with themselves.

“Not many of us can work and study effectively alongside a gaggle of friends,” Kilby said. “I learned to study in the library’s basement, where there were few distractions. I also limit my technology use when studying.”

Some students find that study groups can be cause for distractions as well, while others thrive in a group setting. For a study group to truly be effective, it must have a main objective, time limits, and an accountability keeper.

“I witness many study groups, and it sometimes appears that there’s more socializing than work.” Kilby said. “Even during graduate school, I would dismiss myself from a study group when I knew it was time for me to focus. However, we all learn and collaborate differently, so I’m sure there’s a handful of students who truly find study groups beneficial.”

Students who are balancing a part time or work/study job are encouraged to work ahead. The Success Center recommends capitalizing on the time when you are not at work and to be mindful of your work hours.

“I absolutely had to work in undergrad,” Kilby said. “but I learned that working specific nights really negatively impacted my study flow, so I found hours that worked for me and my study schedule. For all the students who are working part-time, I want them to know to be proud of the maturity they are demonstrating – it takes grit to work and to go to school at the same time, so be proud!”

The Student Success Center encourages students to be vocal with their questions. Students who are struggling with their own academic journey are also encouraged to come to the Success Center. They offer success coaching, tutoring, writing center support, testing support, disability support, and more!

For more information and to schedule an appointment, students can access this link: