Exterior of Blount County Campus with water fountain
Chemistry lab
Nursing student taking the temperature of SimMan

How to be a Better Student

Being a better student means being prepared, proactive and responsible. Being prepared means doing reading assignments before class, not after. Being proactive means anticipating future obstacles and developing strategies to overcome those obstacles. Being responsible means being accountable for your actions and the resulting outcomes.

General Tips:

  • Do not hesitate to ask relevant questions in class. If you have more than 1-2 questions, talk to instructor after class or make office appointment with your instructor to discuss your questions in detail.
  • Understand the definition of plagiarism. Learn how to cite sources in APA, MLA or other citation formats. Ask your instructor which is used in that particular class.
  • Ask about study groups or form one of your own. Keep the group small (3-4 people) to keep the group focused on the task at hand.
  • Make use of the resources available on your campus: tutoring, supplemental instruction, advisors, group study. Don't know what's available: Ask the front office personnel, your instructor, your advisor, Library personnel, check your email, or check the bulletins boards around campus.
  • Read, read, read! Even math textbooks explain in written form. Read your syllabus. It contains a lot of useful information: how to contact the instructor, when assignments are due, grading scale, what will be covered in class, and what the instructor expects in classroom behavior.
  • If you're not a morning person, don't schedule classes in the morning. Being consistently tardy can affect your final grade.
  • Want to ditch a class? Wait! Attendance is mandatory. Miss too many classes and you receive an automatic failing grade. And that can affect any possible financial aid!
  • Attend a workshop or sign up for an e-shop on time management, managing stress, test taking strategies, or one of the many others that are offered through the Career Center and Counseling Office on the Blount County campus. Took it last semester? Take it as a refresher course.
  • Set up a study schedule. Include classes, study time, meal time, and your job. Don't forget to add some free time with friends and family.
  • Studying 15-20 every night (yes, every night) for each class is a lot easier to do than cramming the night before an exam.
  • For every hour in class, set aside 2-3 hours outside time for studying and completing assignments. For every hour of studying, take a 5-minute break. Stand up, stretch, get something to drink, take a quick walk. The break will help you maintain your concentration level.
  • It takes high octane fuel to run a race car. It takes proper nutrition to run your body. Eat regularly and watch your caffeine intake. Get plenty of sleep. A tired student has a harder time paying attention in class.
  • Reduce or eliminate distractions. Find a quiet place to study. Use it only for studying. It should have good lighting, ventilation, a comfortable chair, and a desk or table to spread materials out. Reduce noise levels: turn off radio, game console, MP3 player. When you set aside time to study, study.
  • Set goals for yourself. Graduation requires classes. Classes require assignments. Assignments require planning. Set small goals, makes a list of goals to achieve daily or weekly. Small goals can be easier to accomplish. And it feels good to mark them off the list!
  • Never took a book home in high school? Wrote that five-page paper in one night? Don't count on that happening in college! Instructors can spot those last-minute attempts and will grade accordingly.
  • Work for an "A," be happy with a "B," settle for a "C." Anything less may not transfer.