Student ResourcesDisabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS)
Attributes of a Successful Student
- Obtain all books, supplies, and course materials before classes start, or at the very latest, by the end of the first week of class
- Attend all classes and be on time to class
- Sit attentively in the front of class
- Actively participate in class
- Come to class prepared – bring necessary materials, have assigned readings and assignments complete
- Review the previous lecture before each class
- Always read assigned reading prior to class
- Review and revise your class notes within 24 hours of class
- Keep track of your grades throughout the semester
- Make use of an academic calendar
- Break study time up into manageable segments
- Keep your materials organized in a binder or notebook with separate sections for each class
- Take advantage of available resources such as tutoring, academic counseling, the Writing Center, and Instructor office hours
Time management is a very important tool used by successful college students. College classes require students to learn a portion of the material outside of class. As a general rule, students should spend two hours studying outside of class for every hour spent in class. Some classes may require more or less study time depending on the individual student and the class. For example, students who struggle with math may need to spend several extra hours each week studying math in order to master the concepts!
- Set goals – Decide what you want to accomplish this semester, this week, today
- Think about your goals and prioritize accordingly
- Create a time management schedule – be sure to include all commitments such as time spent in class and at work, commuting, sleeping, eating, exercising, housekeeping, family and extracurricular activities
- Spread study time over the entire week
- Plan to study when you are most alert
- Break study time up into manageable segments. After one to two hours plan to take a break.
- Be flexible but firm – expect the unexpected and adjust your schedule accordingly
- Pay attention to and reduce “time wasters” such as TV, texting, social media, or video games
- Make a daily “to do” list and prioritize it according to your goals
Self-advocacy is the ability to speak up for yourself and effectively communicate your needs. Being a good self-advocate will empower you to get your needs met in a positive manner. However, learning to be a good self-advocate takes practice.
Guidelines for Discussing Accommodations with Instructors
- Before approaching an instructor, think about what you will say. Let your instructor know that you would like to speak with her about testing accommodations. If the instructor has office hours, that is the best time to talk to her.
- Present your instructor with the blue form and say something like:
“I am registered with DSPS, and I have a blue form for testing accommodations.”
- Ask your instructor if there will be a review before the exam or if there will be lecture before or after the exam. It will be important to schedule your exam in DSPS so that you do not miss important class time such as review or lecture.
- If the instructor asks why you need this accommodation, or what your disability is, provide a brief explanation. Here are some examples of how you might respond depending on your situation:
“My disability causes me to process information more slowly so that I need more time to finish tests.”
Or “My disability causes me to be very easily distracted, so I need a quiet place to take my tests and quizzes.”
You do not need to disclose what your disability is unless you feel comfortable doing so.
- When presenting the yellow memo for a note taker, you might say:
“I need your help finding a student who takes good notes in this class. Would you please help me find someone who takes good notes?”
- If a conflict or problem with an accommodation develops, remain calm, do not argue with an instructor. Politely thank him, then come directly to DSPS and let them know what is happening. We will work with the instructor to ensure that your needs and the instructor’s needs are met.
- Accept your disability. Learn about your disability and how it affects learning.
- Be willing to discuss your disability with others when necessary.
- Know how you learn best and what areas are difficult for you.
- Understand how accommodations are related to your needs.
- Being a good self-advocate means asking your DSPS Counselor for additional information about your disability when needed.
- Know what you need not just what you want.
- Identify your goal.
- Rehearse what you will say ahead of time.
- Hold your head up high – you are being responsible and independent.
- Speak clearly and maintain eye contact. Take your time when talking.
- Be respectful, even if you encounter resistance.
- Thank the professor for his time, interest, and cooperation.
Test Taking Tips
Some students believe that they are not good at taking tests; however, test taking is a skill that you can master. The following steps are designed to help you remember what you have studied, make fewer errors, and feel more relaxed.
- Before going to class, make sure you have all materials needed for the test (scantron, bluebook, calculator, pencils, etc.).
- Arrive at least 5 minutes early. Sit down, get settled, close your eyes for a moment, take a nice deep relaxing breath, and relax the muscles in your body.
- Once you receive the test, look over the whole test – note the number and types of questions, and consider how much time you will have to complete the test. Carefully read the directions.
- Read each question carefully, completely, and more than once. Underline key words in the question. Be sure to read all of the choices on multiple choice questions, even if you see the right answer immediately.
- Do not spend too much time on a really difficult problem. You do not want to use up all of your time on one difficult problem, then run out of time to do easier problems. If you feel stuck or blocked, move on and come back to the problem or question later.
- Answer the easy questions first, then go back to the questions you skipped.
- Leave no blanks! Even if you have no idea of the answer, make some kind of attempt. If you write something down, you may receive partial credit. If you leave a blank, you will receive zero credit.
- If you are using a scantron, double check the numbering with each question.
- Attempt all extra credit. You have nothing to lose and might gain some extra points!
- Before turning it in, read through the test. Check for: missed pages or questions, your name, extra pages that need to be turned in such as scratch paper or homework. Check math answers.
- If you tend to rush through exams, slow down. There are no extra points for being the first person finished!
Math Study Tips
Math is a subject that requires lots of practice, repetition, review, and patience. For those students who have difficulty with math, extra effort and patience will be required and will pay off.
- Read your textbook! Reading through each chapter will help you understand the material and homework. Reading the chapter before class will help you understand the lecture. Reread the chapter and review your notes after the lecture to reinforce learning.
- Example problems. Read the chapter then return to the example problems. Copy each problem then work it out following the steps in your text.
- Practice, practice, practice. After completing the assigned problems, go back and do the rest of them. Just as athletes must practice their sport, math students must practice math daily!
- Test yourself. Be sure you can correctly work the problems with your book closed. Remember, during an exam, you will not have your book to look at! Makeup practice tests and test yourself under standard testing conditions.
- Word problems. Many students would prefer to avoid word problems! Instead, practice word problems every week. Mix up various word problems from different chapters to test yourself on applying concepts.
- On a weekly basis, go back through previous chapters, review the material, and work some of the problems without looking at the book.
- Flash cards. Create flashcards to memorize vocabulary, formulas, and steps.
- Graph paper. Use graph paper to keep columns lined up.
- Write out explanations. Use your own words to explain concepts, steps, and procedures.
- Take advantage of resources. Spend time in the Tutoring Center. If your instructor has office hours, go in and ask questions.
Be patient. Give yourself plenty of time to work out problems. If you get stuck, instead of asking for help immediately, take a little break, relax, and then return to the problem. It is OK to struggle – with math, struggling is part of the learning process!