Tag Archives: tips

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


ASK THE DOSCs: An Introduction to Late Night Snacking 101

In light of the busy midterm week that is THIS WEEK, we gathered some thoughts on what to eat and how to eat during crunch time. Pick up some tips/insights into the art of late-night snacking.

Jina says:

I’ve heard that eating an apple wakes you up better than a cup of coffee. Sugary stuff late at night really slows me down even though I’m craving the junkiest of junk food. Diet soda does a pretty good job of keeping me on task.

Caitlin says:

I’m a big fan of the free tea and coffee in One Wheelock- nothing beats study stress like free stuff!

Rachel says:

I am a huge stress-eater and late-night-snacker. I try to keep it healthy (cheese sticks, carrots, hummus, etc.), but usually, if I make it to Late Night, I grab a mozz stick or two and sometimes taste the pasta option.

Chinedu says:

My new favorite healthy snack is bananas with peanut butter on top. It’s sweet and salty goodnes!

Jihan says:

I resist my urge to eat food at night as much as possible if i have an exam next morning, because that would just upset my stomach badly in the morning. on the other hand, if i have a paper to push through overnight and if i’m nowhere to be done with it yet, i unleash my wild love for greasy food like steak queso, onion rings, and chicken wings. by the way, late night hop is open til 12:30am every night!

Angela says:

Probably not good advice to take, but lots of sugar and caffeine from KAF and Novack.

Maryam says:

Sour patch kids and smoothies which have glucose to feed the brain.

Senior Survival: Mastering Money Skills



Are you confused/scared/frustrated/excited that you’ll be taking financial responsibility for yourself pretty soon?  

Dean Remy says:

You’ve had questions about financing graduate school; how to figure out the cost of living in an area ($40 is not enough to budget each month for heating oil in New Hampshire!); and how to decipher the value of a benefits package.

Alumni Relations and the Math department are teaming up to offer a series on mastering money management.

WHEN: May 2, 9, or 14, 6pm

WHERE: Kemeny 008


ASK THE DOSCs: Talk About Your Favorite Profs

Meeting new professors and building relationships with them are undeniably valuable academic/personal experiences one can have. Because of its relatively small faculty (who ACTUALLY teach classes)-student-ratio, Dartmouth allows undergraduate students to easily engage in meaningful conversations with profs both inside and outside the classroom. Here are what some of our DOSCs have to say about their favorite professors at Dartmouth, how they met them, and WHY they like them.

Caitlin says:

Although I’ve enjoyed many of my classes, the two professors who stand out most for me are Professor Kull in the Chemistry department and Professor Robinson in the Psych/Neuroscience department. Full disclosure: I’m a pre-med psych major so these weren’t classes I took for fun, but these professors made their classes fantastic. Kull taught me Biological Chemistry (Chem 41) and managed to unify a large body of material-concepts from chem 5, 6, 51 and 52, bio 12 and 13 and physics 3 and 4, into one cohesive survey course of biochemistry. It was the first “pre-med” class I really liked. Professor Robinson taught my senior seminar on Addiction. The subject is cool and Robinson made it very real for us while teaching us about the neurobiology of addiction. Professor Robinson also included many different teaching tools and assessments in the class so I never got bored, even though it was a 10A.

Jesse says:

Although I’m a neuroscience professor, one of my favorite professors was Amy Gladfelter from the Biology department. She taught cellular biology, more lovingly known as Bio 12 for our  premed friends. She was incredibly enthusiastic about the material and taught with such endearing energy that I couldn’t help but recall the same sense of excitement you’d get when your middle school science teacher would put on a VHS Bill Nye episode. It’s very rare to find someone as intelligent and kind as she. If you have to take Bio 12 for whatever reason, wait until Amy Gladfelter is teaching it. I guarantee it’ll be one of the best Dartmouth teaching experiences you’ll have.

Si Jie says:

My favorite Prof is Karen Gocsik from the Writing Department.

Since freshmen fall, I have taken 4 classes with Karen and thoroughly enjoying her friendship in and outside of the classroom. She’s insightful about life, ideas and writing, which is important to us in whatever career we are pursuing. Take a class with Karen, and you will become friends of a lifetime!

Alicia says:

John Rassias of the French and Italian department is one of my favorite professors at Dartmouth. He is the developer of the Rassias Method, originally created to train volunteers in the Peace Corps and also used for the College’s language drills. Taking French 40 (“From Page to Stage: The Greeks Invade the French Theater”) with him was an experience of its own. We were energetic (difficult for 2 o’clock in the afternoon), engaged, and inspired during every class. He is also extremely kind and personable, and I would recommend every French student to enroll in a class of his before graduating.

Have questions about how to approach profs outside of classroom? Ask any of our DOSCs!

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!


ASK THE DOSCs: Starting Your Term Off Right

Welcome back from spring break! The first week of term isn’t even over  yet, but there are plenty of things that you can do to save yourself trouble during the rest of term and making sure it all goes smoothly. Here are just a few tips from your friendly DOSCs about their stitches in time to save nine.

Rachel says: “I like to schedule everything in my iCal right away – meetings, classes, other commitments. I also put in all of the big assignments (papers, exams) in each of my classes so that I have an overview of the term and can plan ahead for the weeks that seem the busiest. I also like to schedule one-time meetings in the beginning of the term; even though I feel busy now, I know I’ll only get busier as the term goes on.”

Jingna says:”Let’s see. I like making sure I get off to a good start by printing out most of my readings, taking out the books that I need, transferring my syllabi into my iCal, running errands, vacuuming, washing the sheets, planning out meals with friends, and getting in as much exercise as possible before things get crazy!”

Jihan says: “I try to plan my schedule flexibly during the first week. Especially if I’m not hundred percent sure what classes and/or activities I’ll be taking/doing, I try to space things out so that I don’t overcommit myself earlier in the term and get crammed in the middle when actually important things come in my way.”

Pierre says: “Set up a detailed calendar with EVERYTHING for the term in the first week.”

Angela says: “Like a lot other DOSCs, I try to write everything down in my planner during the first week so I know which weeks are going to be the busiest and can plan around that. I also do my best to stay on top of my readings and studying now before everything goes crazy and things get left by the wayside. It saves time when exams come around. Also, don’t forget to check in.”

Si Jie says:

CLASS: Avoid shopping. Emailing the professor beforehand and learning about the waiting list from the department administrator is a more efficient way to get into a favorite class.
ACTIVITIES/CREDITS: Always check banner for check in, degree audit, and PE class registration to make sure everything you need to do for the term is ready.
WORK ON CAMPUS: Work-study students, make sure to visit JobNet to grab available jobs for the term! word of mouth is also a way to go.

Plus, the Dartmouth Academic Skills Center has got some wonderful blank weekly, termly, and even 4-year planners to help you map out your term now. Visit their website and scroll to the “Time Management” section to download the templates and a detailed academic calendar for Spring 2012.

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.

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