Study Tips


Study Tips for the First & Second Weeks of Classes

Available at “tips”

North Seattle College, Counseling

Lydia Minatoya, Ph.D.



  1. Eat light frequent meals with vegetables, fruit, and protein.  Exercise moderately to reduce stress and increase stamina.  Sleep at least 7 hours each night.  Nutrition, exercise and rest are essential to fuel energy, concentration, memory, comprehension, recall and confidence!


  1. Read the syllabus for each class you are taking.  In the syllabus, the instructor tells you what assignments you must do, by when.  The syllabus provides information such as: how the instructor will arrive at your grade, how to contact your instructor if you have any questions about assignments, and guidelines for behaviors your instructor expects.  Let your instructor know immediately, if you are unclear about any item on the syllabus or if you have special needs or situations (such as a disability, or a job, family situation, or bus commute that may occasionally make you late).


  1. Buy your books and supplies by the third day of the quarter.


  1. Do not miss class!  If an emergency arises, call the instructor before the class and explain why you will miss and when you will return.


  1. Smile and make friends with your classmates so you can share notes and ask each other questions about assignments.  Consider forming a study group.


  1. Study first, on campus or in a quiet location where there are fewer distractions. Then, you can focus on other activities and interests without guilt North’s Student Learning Center offers extensive tutoring services in writing, math, accounting, biology, chemistry, world languages (first floor of the Health Sciences and Student Resources/next to the Grove cafeteria).  North’s Library offers students support and resources to help you succeed.


  1. Study every day.  Plan a schedule with specific and sufficient times to study and stick to it. Take notes on what you are reading so you will have a summary (and less to review) when the test comes aroundUse your syllabus and mark on a calendar the dates for quizzes, tests, papers.  Then, plan extra study time preceding these dates.


  1. Break big assignments into smaller tasks.  This makes it easier to startStudy for thirty minutes, take a five-minute break, and go back for thirty minutes more. When memorizing (vocabulary lists, formulas, etc.) break lists into shorter lists of three or four concepts/vocabulary words.  Learn them, take a break, and learn four more.  If you try to learn a long list all at once, you may remember the first four items and the last three, but everything in between will likely be a blur.


  1. Plan some leisure time every day (aim for one hour per day) and every weekend (aim for a three to four hour block) to do something you enjoy!  It is easier to study when you know you have a break scheduled and it is easier to relax and enjoy yourself when you know you have completed some of your homework.


Study Tips for Online Students


Instructor Gwyn Jones suggests that online students:


  • Check in to your course sites every day and log in at specified times for required or optional events such as “office hours”.


  • Interact with classmates via the discussion forums and other communication options.


Here are online study suggestions from a student in Instructor Dennis Schaffer’s class:


If I have to hop back and forth between screens or windows and concentrate on closely spaced lines of directions, when I am also trying to learn a new task on the computer, I can get bogged down. This is something that helps me a lot:


  • I print out my directions or questions in larger font with more spacing between lines and put that printed sheet of directions next to my computer as I work.


  • I cross out or put check marks next to the steps as I go so I remember that I finished a step


  • Somehow having the paper and ink next to the computer screen helps me to focus better on the different steps.


Earl Sedlik has developed a power point that he uses to teach students the SQ3R  textbook reading and note-taking system.  Earl also provides his students with links such as:


Reading, Study, Concentration (and other study guides from Virginia Tech)




NSC Counseling faculty members– Jenny Mao, Ph.D. and Lydia Minatoya, Ph.D.–help students identify careers, pick programs of study, strengthen study skills, manage time and stress, confront prejudice, identify referral resources and learn other student success skills.  Counseling is located in Student Success Services, NSC College Center, 2nd floor, north end. M-F 8-4:30. 206 934-3676.  Additional online self-help is available  at

Please remember that e-mail is not a secure medium and confidentiality cannot be assured.


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