Educational Resource Center

Questions about Study Skills…

Time Management

I have a lot going on (school, work, community service, etc.) How do I organize my day?

Do you have a planner? Use a calendar feature on your phone/tablet/computer? The first step toward effective time management is having one place where all your assignments, activities, and meetings are kept. Check out our Time Management video, which outlines some helpful time management tips. Use the 24-hour time grid to organize your daily schedule.

I’m a life-long procrastinator. How do I break this habit?

Take ownership of your time by being aware of your actions. Identifying procrastination triggers (such as Facebook, a TV show, video games, etc.) is key in taking back your time. Take our time management self-assessment and consider your motivation and goals for BU and beyond. Here are some pointers for finding and improving motivation.

Additionally, here are a few tips on how to manage your procrastination.

Syllabus Management

I do not understand how to organize my assignments, do you have any suggestions?

There are two ways you can organize your assignments. Organizing by class (see an example) allows you see which assignments are worth more of your grade. Organizing by due date (see an example) offers a visual view of your semester and highlights which weeks might be busier than others.

How do I prioritize when to do my assignments?

This long-term assignment planner can help organize assignments and tests early.

Note Taking

I have difficulty understanding my professor, how do I take good notes?

Listening actively (having done the reading before lecture is key), allows you to listen for  key words during lecture. Our Lecture Styles and Tips resource page can help outline your notes.

I thought I was taking good notes, but I bombed the first test, what do I do?

Review your notes for 10 minutes immediately after class to help you retain information. Jot down questions from the lecture that you can bring to your professor during office hours that week.

Test Prep

I have a multiple choice test coming up next week, how do I best prepare for it?

  • Memorization is not necessarily the answer. Focus also on synthesizing material in different ways since most of the material on the test will be shuffled.
  • Once you’ve got the test in front of you, try going through it three times:
    FIRST: Start with the answers you know.
    SECOND: Notice the negatives and qualifiers and eliminate answer choices.
    THIRD: Make an educated guess.
  • Check out these tips on multiple choice test prep strategies.

I have an essay test coming up next week, how do I best prepare for it?

  • Keep an eye out for these key words that hint at how to approach the question.
  • Keeping these key words in mind, think of possible essay test questions your professor might ask. Get together with classmates and test each other on potential essay questions.
  • Check out these additional tips on essay test strategies.

This is the first time I’ve had this professor, how do I know what to expect on the test?

Office hours, office hours, office hours! The sooner the better! Get to know your professor early even if you feel fairly comfortable with the material.  Additionally, it never hurts to develop a rapport with your professors, especially when you need a recommendation for an internship, job or graduate school.

Decision Making

This is the first time I have to make decisions on my own. How do I navigate this?

Try our HHELM Decision-Making Triangle. Take the 4 “Checks” of decision-making and construct your triangle based on your situation. Identifying those who can offer you solid advice will help you make a more informed decision.

Does it really matter what I major in?

Major choice does not always correlate with an exact career. Talk to the Center for Career Development about your career options, even if you’re confident about  your major.

Class Presentations

I was just assigned my first group project, how do I make sure everyone pulls their weight?

Set clear goals, roles and deadlines. Make sure all cell phones are off so you can stay focused while working in your group. Always ensure each team member has an “action item” that they must complete before the next group meeting.

I get really nervous presenting in front of people, do you have any tips for me?

Practice, Practice, Practice! You can also check out these tips, or request an ERC workshop on class presentations. You can request a workshop on our website.

How do I memorize my presentation?

Write a complete draft your class presentation as if you were writing a paper. Once all of your ideas are down, organize your thoughts by paragraph, cut unnecessary words and recite your talk until you’re comfortable with the flow of ideas. Don’t worry about memorizing every word; do focus on making sure your thoughts are organized.  Check out this example to help you get started.

Check our calendar to see what’s coming up on our Workshop schedule to see some of these tips in action!

Watch Academic Skills videos on the ERC’s YouTube channel.

Sign up for an Individual Advising session and we’ll help you develop a personalized plan for academic success.

Career Development Cycle