How Can I Help? - Preparing for Academic Hurdles
- The shift from "frosh in Orientation Week" to "student in first year" happens overnight on the calendar, but slowly in the minds of most students. The first academic hurdle is for students to understand how quickly the learning starts, and the necessity of attending class, doing readings or lab preparation, and keeping up with assignments. School is a job.
- Students who distribute their learning over several weeks experience better learning and less stressful studying than those who don't engage until the mid-terms or finals. Setting regular homework times (e.g. one hour of homework for one hour of lecture time), creating summaries, and referring to the course outline for the overall goals or learning objectives of the course are all very good habits.
- The mid-term exams in October-November may be a real challenge for many students, regardless of their performance on exams in high school. Students are expected to be able to memorize (often the key skill in writing high school exams), but seeing the "big picture" and understanding concepts in order to apply information or solve problems is what is required to get high grades (i.e. over 75%), even on multiple choice exams. The assimilation of material takes time, and cramming for mid-terms is rarely sufficient.
- If your student is feeling overwhelmed after mid-terms, remind him/her that there is still have time to do well on the final exams. Encourage your student to attend workshops offered by the Queen's Learning Commons or, depending on their needs, use a tutoring service (available through each major faculty) to boost his/her skills and confidence.