Study Success Tools

Study success is largely a result of personal choice in how to study. Take time to explore topics from the wealth of learning and study skill resources linked below.  Choose 5 actions you can take right now.  Write them down.  Then work your plan for at least 21 days to build new habits.  What’s working?  Read more. Adjust your strategy. If you have not made much of a change, share your new action plan with a trusted friend or mentor, asking them to hold you accountable.  Plan to succeed.  Begin today.

Are Online Courses Easier than Traditional Courses?

How to Study, Take Tests, Write Papers, Work on Projects

How to Study Effectively Guide

Study Manual for Online Courses – FAQs on many topics

Study Guides and Strategies – lots of tips and tools

Learning Strategies Videos - requires Quicktime

How to Read a Textbook

Staying Energized and Focused

Top 10 Study Tips for Busy Adult Learners

8 Time Management Tips for Adult College Students

Back to School Guide for Adult Students

The 7 Cs of Effective Communication in your Online Course


Don't wait. Ask for help. We are eager to support you to success.

First contact your instructor with specific questions. Then share your concerns.  Often this is the best solution.

Sometimes more help is needed. Online tutoring may be available via video conferencing. Email us, including your AU ID, full name, course number and title, what kind of help you need, and what phone number and time we can call to discuss success tools and strategies.


Pro Tips for College Success

  • Maintain your spiritual life first and foremost.  Losing touch with God will make everything else unnecessarily stressful and tiring, inducing unwanted grumpiness and gloom.
  • Double-check with your academic advisor before making any final decisions about what classes to take next.  They may have a better idea of which classes have certain prerequisites, are only taught every other year, are difficult to take together, etc. 
  • Don’t rely on your academic advisor.  While they understand the system better than you may, they also have 50 other students they’re advising, and probably are teaching classes, too.  Be proactive and ask if they can spend a moment directing you to your exact degree requirements.  Once they show you where to review the requirements for your major and general education credits, spend some time studying it for yourself. 
  • Look up the classes you have to take.  If any have prerequisites or are taught in two parts, plan to take the first classes right away.  Also check to see if any of the courses you plan to take are offered only every other year because you’ll want to make sure to take them as soon as possible so you don’t have to wait two more years for another chance! (Do this for general education courses and electives, too, as these are even more likely to be offered at irregular times)
  • Create a table showing all the classes you will take and when.  It may take you an hour now, but if you take the time to make sure you have all your requirements in all the right places it could help make sure you don’t accidentally miss anything and have to take another semester or two to finish (I can’t tell you how many of my friends had to postpone their graduation dates because they forgot something). 
  • Focus on finishing your general education requirements first.  I wouldn’t recommend taking more than one, maybe two classes, from your major per semester until you’ve completed most of your general education requirements.  If you were to study full-time taking only gen eds, as we call them, it would still take you 2 years to finish them.  By which time you may have a completely different career interest and want to change your major.  But no matter what major your choose, the gen ed requirements will still mostly be the same.  
  • Take it easy on the electives.  Just because you need to take a few random classes doesn’t mean you should just fill your schedule with pottery and scuba diving.  Be prudent and focus your efforts on gen eds and your major at the beginning.  If you decide to change your major later, you can count the classes you took towards your first major as your electives so you won’t have wasted that time and money.  It’s much better to come to your senior year and fill your last few credits with a fun elective than to take a bunch of random fun classes at the beginning and then have to stay an extra semester because you still haven’t taken all the classes you actually needed.
  • Pace yourself.  If it’s your first semester, play it safe and take the “average” load.  If you’re full-time, go for between 12-15 credits (4-5 classes).  If you’re part-time, take just one or two classes to start (3-6 credits).  Signing up for classes is one area where it can literally cost you if you get too ambitious.  Straining yourself to where you’re overworked, stressed, and harried can negatively affect your grades, not to mention your health.  It is better to take fewer credits but to be able to give it your best and learn for the long run as opposed to frantically cramming bits of knowledge in your brain and have a meltdown before the semester ends.
  • Write down your goals. Writing down your goals is the first step toward achieving them. When you put your goals down in writing, it's not in order to manage your time with a  restricting "to-do" list. Rather, writing down your goals is about clearing your head, identifying what you want, and acknowledging your intent. There is not a best to write a goal down.  A single line jotted on a scrap of paper is as valuable as a full-blown description. Once you state your goals in writing, the rest of the world can cooperate with your ambitions from grand career goals and major moves to having a better relationship with a teenage son, or simply waking up happy in the morning. You can "make it happen" purely by believing in the possibility.
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