University Learning Center

Some Specific Approaches to an Academic Mentoring Session 

Reading and Note-making*

Emphasize to your students that reading and note-making are mutually reinforcing activities and that whenever one is reading, one should make notes. Another important thing to keep in mind when exploring reading and note-making with a student is that these activities work best when conceptualized and practiced in three distinct stages: before, during, and after. What follows are brief descriptions of these stages. You can find a poster detailing these three stages in both DE 1067 and 1068 and a host of lessons and activities in the "Study Skills Curricula" folder of the ULC Blackboard course. 

  • The "before" stage encourages students to preview (or "get the big picture of") an assignment or upcoming class meeting. This can be accomplished in a number of ways: perusing syllabi and section headings, reviewing notes from previous reading assignments and course meetings, and coming up with questions you would like the reading/lecture to answer. 
  • The "during" stage focuses on active listening, which refers to such activities as identifying the argument, recording your reactions, and answering the questions you came up with during the "preview" stage. 
  • The "after" stage asks students to review the notes they've taken as soon as possible after they've taken them, i.e. to summarize, analyze, and organize that information. 

*Note that here reading refers to “reading a written text” and to “reading a lecture.” Feel free to discuss with your students the similarities and the differences between these two types of reading. Discussing the similarities should emphasize essential principles of note-making common to most note-making situations. 

And, yes, you read that right: reading and note-making. We prefer this formulation to the more standard notetaking because--more so than the standard formulation--it suggests active involvement on the part of the notetak... I mean, note-maker. Consider adopting this language with your students, and see if it changes their relationship to notes.

Testing Strategies

Emphasize to your students that consistent studying in short bursts (no more than an hour at a time) is far more effective than "cramming" or "marathon studying." You should also explain to them that effective studying means far more than memorizing information; rather, effective studying involves making connections, applying ideas to new contexts, and figuring out what makes certain ideas tick (though not necessarily in that order). You can find a poster of Dr. Saundra McGuire's "Study Cycle" in both DE 1067 and 1068. Lessons and activities on testing strategies are available in the "Study Skills Curricula" folder of the ULC Blackboard course. 

Time Management

Good time management is the result of prioritization and preparation. That means making tough choices about how to spend one's time and developing a keen understanding of one's day-to-day routine. Lessons and activities on time management are available in the "Study Skills Curricula" folder of the ULC Blackboard course. 

Resources by Peer Mentors

These resources were developed by peer mentors as part of their CRLA certification. 

Other Session Ideas

Courtesy of Tutoring Services Coordinator and Assistant Director of the Learning Center, Mike Ruwe.