Tag Archives: academic skills

STUDY SKILLS: Office Hours, and How to Make the Most of Them

First day of class and everyone gets a syllabus. Usually close to the top there’s a bit about when classes and x-hours are, the name of the class (hopefully you already knew that one), and then when office hours are held.

Ahh … office hours. I will (to my embarrassment) admit that I didn’t go to one until freshman spring, because I was really intimidated by professors (not because my professors were intimidating, per se, but because they’re so awesome and published that I was nervous about talking to them). Whereas there are also some people who go to every single office hour, without fail. Once I got over my initial anxiety, though, I found that office hours are ridiculously useful. I’ve used office hours to ask questions about material in the course, figure out paper topics, and even discuss post-graduation plans and which grad school programs to apply to. It’s also a great way to find out more about your professors, such as what kind of research they are doing. I have very rarely met a professor here at Dartmouth who wasn’t nice or approachable. In fact, I have definitely had classes where professors openly requested students to come to office hours because they were feeling pretty lonely and underutilized during office hours. One professor even rescheduled office hours for the rest of term when he found out that most of the students had scheduling conflicts with the previously decided time, in order to encourage more folks to come to office hours.

Bottom line – definitely go to office hours. But don’t just show up to office hours. There are definitely ways to get the most out of your professor’s office hours (plus, it’s also just polite). Cornell’s website has some tips for how to make the best use of your professor’s and your own time, which I will re-post here:

  1. Study your textbook and lecture notes thoroughly and attempt the assigned problems before you go to office hours.
  2. Try to identify specific questions or concepts you need to address during the office hours.
  3. Expect instructors to ask you questions about the material. They do this to find out what you understand, and to provide you with information and strategies tailored to your individual needs.
  4. Be patient! Several students come for office hours at the same time. If the instructor is especially busy, you may have to wait a little longer for individual assistance. Use this time to study the material.
  5. Expect the instructor to suggest general study strategies to help you improveoverall academic performance. These strategies will help in all of your courses.
  6. Avoid waiting until the day before the test or the day before an assignment is due to seek assistance. Study a few hours each day, and keep up with your assignments. It is EASIER to keep up than to catch up!
  7. Use other resources such as formal study groups and informal homework-help groups.
  8. Keep a positive attitude about the subject and about your potential to excel. Your attitude will go a long way in determining how well you do in your course!

– Angela


UPCOMING Tues 4/10, 4/17: Learning Science

Ever wonder there is a better (i.e. more productive and effective) way to learn and review materials from science classes?

LEARNING STRATEGIES FOR SCIENCE AT DARTMOUTH:  If your have been surprised by your experience in Dartmouth Science classes, or feel you could use some tips to help you be more successful working with the material PLEASE COME!   You will learn learning and study strategies along with tools for managing stress!

Time: TUESDAY: APRIL 1O;  APRIL 17, 6:00 PM

Place: CARSON 60

Who’s going to be there?

Sarah Berger (Nathan Smith Pre-health Society); Carl Thum (Academic Skills Center); Dean Hoyt and Dean Buckly (Undergraduate Dean’s Office) along with Upper Class Peer Mentors!


STUDY SKILLS: 10 Tips for Staying Well During Finals

A few weeks ago, we asked the DOSCs how they managed stress during exams. It’s more important than ever around finals when everything is piling up (especially if you’ve been unlucky and you have many end-loaded classes). The Academic Skills Center has compiled some great tips from Casey Gardiner ’11 on how to stay well during finals and make it through to Spring Break, which I promise is just around the corner.

1. Get adequate sleep. It will help you work more efficiently, learn and retain information better, and do better on your exams. (All-nighters are a bad idea for your health AND your grades!)

2. Try out relaxation exercises or a guided meditation: learn how to do them at http://www.dartmouth.edu/healthed/relax

3. Keep moving! Don’t cut out your exercise time during finals period. The gym is a great place for a study break (leave your readings and flash cards at home to give your mind a rest!) or go for a run or take a walk outside. Don’t want to leave your dorm? Go up and down the stairs a few times, have a dance party with your roommate, or do yoga.

4. Keep laughing. Laughter can reduce stress and improve your mood, so watch, read, or listen to something funny as a study break!

5. Watch your caffeine intake. It will stay in your system longer than you think and can keep you from falling asleep when you need to. Adequate sleep, healthy eating, and exercise can keep you energized without caffeine!

6. Let your eyes rest. Give your eyes periodic breaks while you’re studying. Look out the window at something far away and focus on it for 15 seconds before returning to your computer screen or textbook.

7. Eat healthy foods. Protein-rich foods can help you sustain your energy and your focus. Sugary foods can give you an immediate energy rush, but you’ll crash later. Leave the library to get some fresh air and a balanced meal instead of ordering in or overdoing it on Novack baked goods.

8. Take a walk outside, especially in nature. It will clear your head, get you moving, and can help improve your memory!

9. Eat breakfast before your morning exams!

10. Keep everything in perspective: they’re just exams. You’re really smart, and you can handle them.


Good luck on finals and have a relaxing interim break!





PS. For a printable version of this information and much more, check out the ASC website. Or just pay a visit to the ASC; they’ve got walls of handouts that are wonderful and informative and loads of really friendly and helpful people.

ASK THE DOSCs: Managing Stress During Midterms

Unfortunately at Dartmouth it can feel like once your midterms start, they just never stop until finals are over. As many a Dartmouth student will tell you, the 10-week term (or 9 weeks, in the case of winter) goes by at breakneck speed. So, as one can imagine, knowing how to manage your stress and not burning out are incredibly important. Some DOSCs share their tips on how to manage their stress. However, keep in mind that not all these tips will work for everyone, and it’s important to find out what works best for you.

Read more of this post