Monthly Archives: January 2015

Start the New Semester on the Right Foot


An important message from Appalachian’s Learning Skills Services of the Learning Assistance Program:

At the beginning of each semester, it is easy to be lulled into complacency with due dates that seem much farther off than they actually are. It’s important, however, to begin building positive habits early in the semester while that time is still a luxury. It’s so much easier to build those habits early than try to correct ineffective habits mid-way (or later) in the semester.

Did you know…?

  • Research suggests that up to 40% of your decisions on a daily basis are habit-based? Meaning, there is no real thought there- it’s automatic! Why not work to build in HEALTHY and USEFUL habits early in the semester to prevent the scramble at the middle and end?

Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. (1 ed.). New York, NY: Random House.

  • Regular review of material over long periods of time increases retention dramatically. See the forgetting curve below. If you’ve ever wondered why you don’t recall even TAKING THE NOTES in early sections of your class notes, this is why. You have to keep seeing the information every few days to ensure this does not happen.

No need to fret! We have strategies to help get you started on the RIGHT FOOT!

It all starts with a little time management.

1: Find a calendar, planner, online calendar, phone calendar, etc. that will work for you.

2: Looking at all of your syllabi, transfer important due dates, readings, etc. to your selected calendar.

3: Commit to going to class- even when there’s NO attendance policy! Being there provides more opportunity to LEARN the information, while showing your professor that you are a serious student who is there to learn. You never know when those behaviors will help you out in the future! Make the commitment early and follow through.

4: Find several areas across campus and AWAY from your personal life where you can get focused and study. Get creative! There are more places that can work for this purpose than you realize! Think library, student union, lounges in academic buildings, study rooms in dorms, shady areas across campus when it’s warm, coffee shops, etc.

5: Complete a weekly schedule. On this schedule, include all of your REGULARLY SCHEDULED activities in a typical week. THEN, looking at the spaces, insert REGULAR study times that you can complete REGARDLESS of what is due. THEN FOLLOW IT!

You might ask, “What can I do in those study times if nothing is due this week?”

  1. Review notes from previous classes
  2. Quiz yourself on lecture notes
  3. Preview reading selections, then read
  4. Read AHEAD
  5. Make lists of questions that you should ask in class
  6. Meet with a tutor
  7. Review your notes
  8. Look ahead in your schedule to see what is happening over the next few weeks
  9. Plan a strategy to get your work done on time
  10. Read and reflect on assignments weeks ahead of the deadline. Jot down ideas.
  11. Meet with a study group
  12. Meet with your professor
  13. Complete homework
  14. Write first drafts (or portions of first drafts)
  15. PROOF your papers
  16. Visit the Writing Center
  17. Schedule your semester
  18. READ
  19. Rinse
  • Repeat

For more information about ways to be successful academically, visit the Learning Skills Services site at