Student Disability Services

Tips for Academic Success

Use the following tips to help you be successful in the classroom and with your coursework. These principles will increase your chances of success.

  1. Keep one calendar with all relevant dates, assignments, and appointments. Do not try to keep a schedule in your head. The Hawkeye Student Planner is an excellent planner and is available in the Brock Student Center.

  2. Attend all classes. Hearing the lecture and discussion is a critical factor in learning new material.

  3. Before each class, preview new material and review the previous lecture/notes.

  4. Sit toward the front of the classroom so you can hear and see well and to reduce distractions. 

  5. Use a tape recorder during lectures.

    • Label each tape before you insert it into the recorder. Example: Side I, Intro to Psych, Chapter 3, 9/8/2010.

    • Set the counter to zero. If you are unsure of a concept during the lecture, jot down the counter number in the margin of your notes for easy review and clarification later. 

  6. Review your notes and/or tapes as soon after the lecture as possible.

    • Compare your notes with a study partner.

    •  Copy notes over, if necessary.

    • Highlight and summarize the main points.

    • Keep a glossary of important terms, list of key concepts, major events, contributors and their theories, or formulas.

  7. Note questions you have about material that is unclear in the margins of your textbook, handouts, or notes. Ask for clarification. 

  8. Estimate how long a given class assignment will take, generally planning on two hours outside of class for every hour in class. Build in study breaks; fatigue is a big time waster. 

  9. Make sure you have understood the assignment correctly and completely. If uncertain, schedule an appointment with your instructor. Don’t wait until you have finished the assignment to find out that you have not fulfilled the requirements. 

  10. Work backwards from the due date on long-range assignments and build in extra time. Go over this timeline with your instructor and ask for feedback on your progress periodically. Make sure you have understood the assignment correctly and completely before plunging in or soon after you have started by scheduling an appointment with your instructor early. Don’t wait until you have finished the assignment to find out that you have not fulfilled the requirements. 

  11. Often the hardest part of getting your work done on time and keeping up with the workload is getting started on a new assignment. Start by making a commitment of 30 minutes and then lengthen the study periods gradually. 

  12. If you have trouble recognizing and correcting spelling errors in your writing, it is important to use a word processor with a spell checker to identify misspelled words. However, proper nouns and homonym errors will not be identified. If your instructor agrees, have instructors in the Student Tutoring and Computer Lab proofread your paper and assist you in error identification and correction. 

  13. Ask for assistance early if needed. Schedule an appointment with your instructor when you begin to get confused or flounder. Do not wait until you are already in danger of failing the course. 

  14. Be aware of Drop/Add and Pass/Fail options and deadlines to adjust your schedule. Use them to your advantage to enhance success.

  15. Register early for the next term so you will get the classes and times that best suit your situation.

  16. Schedule a regular time each week in the Student Tutoring and Computer Lab. The Student Tutoring and Computer Lab has a large study room, a classroom, and an open computer lab, as well as an Adaptive Equipment Lab.

Student Disability Services

Hawkeye Center 208
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Special Needs Coordinator

Melissa Klein
319-296-2329 ext.1087
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Mon–Fri 8:00am–4:30pm

Hawkeye utilizes Relay Iowa, a telecommunications service providing full telephone accessibility to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and/or speech impaired.