Tips for a successful semester

young woman sitting at a table outdoors with a laptop and school suppliesWhile 2020 has been a year of change and challenges, the building blocks for academic success are still the same. Stay motivated, manage your time effectively, limit distractions, communicate and develop good study practices to start the school year off right.

Motivate yourself: Set goals and work toward them.

  • Keep what you are working toward in mind.
  • Reward yourself when you complete a challenging task.
  • Surround yourself with inspiring quotes and images, and make your space comfortable.
  • Be willing to put in the work to succeed and don’t give up.

Manage your time effectively: Know what you need to get done and have a plan to make it happen.

  • Carefully read your syllabus for each class.
  • Use a calendar tool to help you keep track of assignment due dates and quiz and exam dates.
  • Create to-do lists and use them.
  • Overestimate time to complete projects in case something comes up or they end up harder than you anticipated.
  • Work when you are most productive. For example, if you’re not a morning person, schedule your assignment and study time later in the day when you will be more focused.
  • Finally, set time limits. Don’t expect to do everything in one block of time.

Minimize distractions: Whether you are in class remotely or studying, eliminating distractions is ideal.

  • Turn off your phone or put it another room.
  • Log out of social network sites and games.
  • Let others know you are unavailable and close doors when possible.

Communicate and connect: Interact with your instructors and classmates.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
  • Ask questions.
  • Engage in online discussions.
  • Write in complete and clear sentences to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Connect with classmates remotely to discuss notes and study.

Develop good study skills: Make the most of your study time.

  • Use a dedicated study space, ideally someplace quiet, organized and comfortable.
  • As discussed earlier, minimize distractions!
  • Interact with a study partner remotely or form virtual groups.
  • Take study breaks to avoid getting tired or frustrated.
  • Regularly review and revise notes to improve memory and reinforce key concepts.
  • Create flashcards to help you learn.

Don’t forget Black Hawk College has Student Support available to you. From advising to tutoring, we are here for you to help you succeed. Reach out whenever you need assistance and know that BHC employees are dedicated to your success.

Thank you to Angela Striegel, BHC Coordinator of Career Planning and Placement, for sharing tips on how to be a successful learner.

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