Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Strategies of Successful Students

How to use Tutoring

Prior to the Tutoring Session
  • Carefully complete your assigned work to the best of your ability. READ the study materials and the assignment fully.
  • Evaluate your strengths (what do you understand well in this assignment, topic, process, etc.).
  • Identify the area where you feel stuck or would like more support.
  • Write down as many questions as you can think of for which you need assistance.
During the tutoring session
  • Bring your textbook, assignments, and class notes to the study session.
  • Write down new notes when appropriate so that you can explain the idea to yourself later if you get stuck again.
  • Write down any helpful questions or strategies that tutors offer you.
  • Try part of the work on your own and explain your reasoning to the tutor while you work through it.
  • Share what you know about your learning style and try new suggestions; consider using drop-in support with a new-to-you tutor for a different approach.
  • Write down questions you may want to ask the instructor during the next class lecture.
After the tutoring session
  • R-R-REVIEW! Review the syllabus and textbook notes. Review your lecture notes. Review your assignments.
  • PLAN to study: For every hour in class, a student can expect to study two hours outside of class. Try various methods of studying or consult a College Guidance tutor to find out how to study more efficiently with your time.
  • CONNECT with your instructor! Visit during office hours, send an email to let them know how you’re feeling about your grasp of the concepts, and ask questions both in class and out.
  • Schedule yourself for academic support throughout the term. Start early and visit frequently. If you don’t have questions, consider joining a Study Group to improve your retention and mastery of the material.

How to prepare for Tests

On the day of the test
  • Be sure to be prepared physically. Do your best to get rest the night before.
  • Give yourself more time than usual to get to class and test technology. Anxiety over technical issues will heighten test anxiety.
  • Prior to class, remind yourself of acronyms, acrostics, formulas, mnemonics. Then take a few minutes to relax and breathe. Use relaxation techniques if necessary.
  • 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
  • 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.

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