Study Tips from Tutors

October 9, 2017

Public Relations

As we approach the middle of the 16-week semester, PAC tutors from the Math Learning Center (MLC) and Writing Assistance Center(WAC) put together a list of tips that will help students make the most of their study time. 

1. Get organized and plan ahead.
Being organized helps you be at your best when you’re studying. Tutor Darlene Price-Johnson (MLC) recommends getting a planner, so you can write down all the things you need to accomplish each day and week. This can help you space out your study sessions, something that WAC tutor Jackie Banton says is important because it gives your brain to digest the material before you layer on more information.

Tutor Kurt Wilson (WAC) adds that you have to be physically prepared to learn, which means you need to get enough sleep, eat regularly, and don’t wear yourself thin. Staying organized helps keep you at your best!

2. Pace yourself.
Price-Johnson (MLC) says that pacing yourself is important. Start by not procrastinating; don’t wait until the last minute to begin an assignment. Then, only work on a few problems at a time and take breaks to refresh your mind and body. 

3. Find your perfect study space.
WAC tutor Rita Ortiz recommends always planning ahead for study sessions. Set up a “study space,” where you can be comfortable, concentrated, and have all the right materials easily accessible. 

4. Communicate.
Alyssa De La O, a WAC tutor, says it’s important to communicate with your professor to clarify any questions you have about the material. That way, you know you don’t waste your time studying the wrong thing, and you are able to fully understand the assignment requirements.

5. Connect with classmates.
Sometimes the best way to study is to learn with others in your class. Price-Johnson (MLC) says it’s important to introduce yourself to classmates and form study groups. Find people you work well with, and help one another learn the course content inside and out!

6. Take notes and use them.
Rereading and rewriting your notes can help you retain the information, according to Price-Johnson (MLC). Make notes of the topics that are challenging and make sure you ask someone for clarity.

Stephanie Velasquez (WAC) recommends keeping a notepad while you study or work, so you can write down any questions you may have or make note of any unfamiliar words or phrases you encounter. See if you can find the answers on your own, or ask a tutor or professor for assistance.

7. Ask for help.
“Asking for help is a good thing. It shows you want to learn and do better! The even better thing is that we won’t grade you, so there is really nothing to lose by seeking assistance,” said Velasquez (WAC).

“There should be no shame or fear seeking assistance, no one has ever succeeded without the help of others,” added Price-Johnson (MLC).

8. Take advantage of tutoring services.
“Tutoring allows the student to engage in a one-on-one session with someone who is familiar with the material being covered. The task is to provide students with the academic skill-set to be successful and independent within the college-working environment,” said WAC tutor Alfredo Torres Jr.

“Tutoring allows students to learn and improve skills in an open, collaborative environment. It’s an opportunity for fruitful and positive engagement outside of the classroom,” said Ortiz (WAC). “Students of all levels can benefit from tutoring, so seeking help is simply a part of the learning process. We are all here to work together, so don’t be afraid of asking for help!”

9. Prepare questions in advance.
Torres (WAC) says it is beneficial to prepare any questions or concerns you may have over the course material before talking to your professor or meeting with a tutor. Another tip: highlight and annotate any unfamiliar words or phrases.

10. Keep the end in mind.
Develop study habits that help you retain the information once your test has passed. Remember that everything you are learning will be re-tested at the end of the semester. “Studying for the final exam begins on the first day of classes,” says Price-Johnson (MLC).

To learn more about Palo Alto College Tutoring Services, including hours of operation and details about our four tutoring centers, click here

This list was compiled with help from Palo Alto College tutors: Darlene Price-Johnson from the Math Learning Center, and Jackie Benton, Alyssa De La O, Rita Ortiz, Alfredo Torres Jr., Stephanie Velasquez, and Kurt Wilson from the Writing Assistance Center.