10 Ways to stay on top of your School Work – University of Iowa

Still looking for those helpful study tips in college? Look no further! Here is how to stay on top of your classes:

1.) Go to lecture

  • Even if it is that dreaded 8am lecture, or even if it prerecorded, go to your lecture or watch it on time. You can’t study without knowing what material you need to study. Going to lecture will help with any initial questions you may have with the material you are learning, because you can simply raise your hand, send a quick email to your professor, or ask your teaching assistant or learning assistant to get a better understanding of what is going on.
  • Rewatching pre-recorded lectures is also a great habit to get into if you are stuck on some of the “basics” of the material you are learning. Sometimes it just takes a time or two hearing things to get material to “click” in your brain.

2.) Take notes in lecture and discussion

  • Writing helps improve memory on concepts, so write down what you learn. This way you can also refer back to a concept quickly if you forget.
  • Discussion sessions typically review material, but every once in a while, someone may mention something that is unfamiliar. Write it down! It may come in handy if you get stuck on the concept later on.

3.)  Attend Supplemental Instruction (SI)

  • Supplemental Instruction is a program offered by the University of Iowa that helps you study or review material and become better equipped or prepared for a course. You can attend any supplemental instruction section any time it is offered. You simply come and go as needed.
  • Currently, to attend supplemental instruction, everything is online. Check out when sessions are here.

4.) Attend Office Hours or Drop-In Hours

  • Office hours or “drop-in” hours are held by all professors and teaching assistants at the University of Iowa. Attending these are a great resource to not only get to know your professor, but also get your questions answered.
  • During the pandemic, most of these office hours are held over Zoom. Not many people utilize this resource as much as it is offered, so I’m sure professors would love someone to talk to rather than waiting alone in a Zoom call!

5.) Homework

  • Yes, college is more studying than tedious and seemingly meaningless homework assignments, but when homework is assigned, do it and take your time!
  • Homework in college is mostly to review a concept that is commonly struggled with, so utilize the assignment to study the concept itself.

6.) Extra Practice

  • In addition to homework, extra practice is commonly offered. Extra practice is a great resource to use even if you feel like you understand the material, because it often is a true test of understanding and can predict how well you do on your next exam.
  • A little extra practice has never hurt anyone, and it is a great topic to bring up during office hours because it shows your professor you are dedicated to learning the material.

7.) Extra material

  • Sometimes professors offer extra reading material to students. Although it is not material that is graded, it somehow relates to the concept that is being taught. Reading through this material is a great way to study the topic you are learning and getting tested on, because it forces you to expand your view on the focused concept and find overlapping topics with your course.
  • This is also another great topic to bring up in office hours. Professors would not include extra material if they did not find value in it. Since it is not taught in class, talking about it during office hours generally is something they enjoy because they can expand your knowledge.

8.) Review

  • Reviewing your own notes consistently helps tremendously. Review what you learned right after you learn it, at the end of the day, and within a week of learning it is a strategy I try to use to make sure I don’t forget material or cram all of my studying into one day.
  • Reviewing over time also helps when it is time for chapter tests, midterms, or finals, because you don’t have to study as long or cram in much information quickly.

9.) Group Study

  • Studying with your peers is a great way to find out if you missed out on a concept, and it is also fun!
  • The University’s campus is equipped with all sorts of group study spots, and my favorites are at the Iowa Memorial Union!
  • This is also a great opportunity to get to know your classmates by going out to get coffee or food.

10.) Independently study

  • Studying alone is a great way to stray from distractions. If you want a completely private study spot, click here to reserve a student space.

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