Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Tips for Being a Successful Student

Tips for Tutoring

Prior to the Tutoring Session
  • Carefully complete your assigned work to the best of your ability.
  • Write down as many questions as you can think of for which you need assistance.
  • Evaluate your strengths and areas for academic improvement.
During the tutoring session
  • Use your textbook, assignments, and class notes.
  • Write down new notes when appropriate.
  • Write down questions you may want to ask the instructor during the next class lecture.
After the tutoring session
  • Review, review, review.
  • Remember the standard rule of study: For every hour in class a student should study two hours outside of class.
  • Follow up with the instructor and ask questions.
  • Continue tutoring throughout the term.

Tips for Taking Tests

On the day of the test
  • Be sure to be prepared physically; well fed and well rested. Get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a good breakfast.
  • Give yourself more time than usual to get to school. Anxiety over lateness will heighten test anxiety.
  • Get there ½ hour early, sit down inside or outside the classroom and relax – breathe. For the first 15 minutes remind yourself of acronyms, acrostics, formulas, mnemonics, for the next 15 minutes relax and breathe. Use relaxation techniques if necessary.
  • Don’t talk to other students about the material at this point. If they bring up a question about an obscure thing you have no recollection of it will throw you off balance.
  • Visualize crushing the test. Change your frame of reference. Look at the test as a challenge to see how well you’ve prepared for the test, to show how much you’ve learned and how hard you’ve worked.
When you get to the test
  • Before you even pick up your pen, scan through the entire test. Are there essay questions? How long will they take you? Budget your time. How much is each section worth? If essay questions are only worth 20%, don’t spend 80% of your time on them.
  • Write down any difficult information you might forget: formulas, outlines, facts – Do this in the margins.
  • Then read the directions – slowly. Nothing is worse than knowing the information and getting it wrong on the test because you weren’t careful with your directions.
  • Answer the easiest questions first. This gives you the experience of success and stimulates connections.
  • Next answer multiple choice, T/F, fill in the blank. Proceed to short answers and finally essays.
  • Pace yourself – expect memory blocks, if you’re stuck, mark it, go on and come back to it.
  • Look for answers on other test questions.
  • Answer every question – make your best guess if wrong answers are not penalized.
  • Work at your own pace. Do not be concerned when other students finish and leave before you do.
  • If time permits, review questions and answers. Remember, your first test response is generally your best.