Tutoring Center

Today's Hours

Fri, Sep 23

Tutoring Center

Wilson Library 280

10am-5pm

Tutoring Center Services

Schedule a 45-minute consultations with specially-trained peer advisor to develop better active learning and metacognitive strategies.

The following options are available to set up an appointment:

In addition or instead, you may also review our Study Skills Booklet on your own.

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Tutoring Resources

 

Study Groups

The Tutoring Center can arrange tutor-facilitated study groups for Tutoring Center supported courses at the request of either the student or instructor. 

Request a Study Group

Study Skills

These 45-minute appointments, facilitated by one of our Peer Mentors, are designed to improve your study skills with a focus on the areas where you are currently struggling. 

Request a Study Skills Appointment

Study Skills Materials

An in-depth overview of the information presented below, along with complementary information included by Tutoring Center Peer Mentors. You can view the study skills booklet online or grab a physical copy in the Tutoring Center

Developing listening and organizational skills will make your note taking easier and more effective. IMPORTANT: no matter how notes look, reviewing them on a regular basis is the key to retaining the information.

Engaged listening

Active engagement will help you learn and retain more information from lectures.

  • Attend class regularly. Arrive early and stay late in case the professor makes announcements, or introduces or summarizes important information.
  • Sit in "T section" to minimize distractions
  • Pretend you and the professor are engaged in a conversation: make eye contact, nod when you agree, and ask questions when you are confused. Making this connection improves comprehension and lets the professor know you are interested in the class.
  • Concentrate. If you are concerned about something, write yourself a reminder to deal with it later then put it out of your mind. Calmly remind yourself to pay attention.
Listening For Main Ideas

Are you unsure about what to include in your notes? Write it down when the professor:

  • Says it's important or repeats the information.
  • Writes information on the board or overhead.
  • Breaks concepts or processes into steps.
  • Gives contrasts or pros and cons.
  • Changes vocal tone or volume. This may indicate excitement; information a professor is excited about often ends up on tests!
  • Signal words and phrases may also indicate that a professor is saying something you should remember:
    • Introductory words give a basic outline of what the day's lecture will cover ("Today we'll discuss..." "After today you should be able to...").
    • Qualifying words note exceptions to rules and clarify information ("However..." "Nevertheless...").
    • Cause and effect phrases show relationships between ideas and events ("Therefore..." "As a result...").
    • Contrast words show relationships between ideas and events ("On the other hand..." "By comparison...").
    • Repeated words rephrase and clarify information (In other words..." "This simply means..." "In essence...").
    • Test clues alert you to possible test material ("This is important..." "Remember this..." "You'll see this again...").
    • Summary words ("In a nutshell..." "To sum up..." "In conclusion...").
    • Example words explain and clarify information (To illustrate..." "For example..." "For instance...").
When Professors Talk Too Fast

Taking notes can be difficult when the professor speaks quickly. Students can take steps to make sure they record all of the important information.

  • Prepare before coming to class—read the assigned material, review previous class notes. This will make the lecture more interesting and easier to follow.
  • Combining sets of notes can provide more complete information; compare notes with a classmate or form a study group.
  • Leave space in your notes to make it easy to add information later.
  • Indicate in your notes if you get lost during the lecture. This way you can keep pace with new information and figure out after class what you missed.
  • Ask your professor for clarification if you are lost or confused about specific information. Most professors are happy to talk with students after class, during office hours, or by appointment.
  • Record the lecture (ask your professor first).
  • Use abbreviations! Try standard symbols such as ">" for "greater than," or make up your own. Either way, be consistent and review and annotate your notes as soon as possible after lecture to eliminate confusion.
Cornell System

The Cornell Note Taking System is based on strategies found to improve understanding and performance. Consider the following:

  • Unless lectures notes are reviewed, most people forget up to 80 percent of what they have heard in class within 24 hours.
  • Active processing of information (analyzing, summarizing, paraphrasing, and reciting) increases comprehension and retention.
  • Students who anticipate possible test questions and practice answering them perform better on tests than students who do not.
  • Taking time to review and study notes on a regular basis is one of the most efficient study skill improvements a student can make.
     
Materials:
  • A loose-leaf notebook allows you to insert handouts and supplementary notes.
  • Paper: paper used for the Cornell System has 2 ½ or 3 inch left margin. Take all notes to the right of the margin line.
     
After Class (within 24 hours):

Review your notes; make them as complete, legible, and accurate as possible.

  1. Identify key ideas and terms.
  2. On the left side of the margin, write down key words or ideas opposite the complete notes. You can also write questions on the left side that can be answered using information on the right side.
  3. Cover up the notes on the right side of the paper with another sheet of paper. Look at your key words or questions on the left side and attempt to recite (out loud if possible) the related information in your notes.
  4. Check to see if you have remembered the information correctly. If you missed something, study it until you feel comfortable with it and try again. Continue this process until you are completely familiar with the material.
     
Weekly, throughout the quarter:

Set up a time to review all notes for the week, e.g. 30 minutes every Sunday afternoon. By covering up your notes and reciting key words and questions you will reinforce the information and prepare yourself for exams.

The Importance of Review

The most important part of note taking is reviewing your notes after class. The average person forgets up to 80 percent of what they've learned within 24 hours of learning it. You can dramatically increase retention by reviewing information within that first 24 hours.

Edit and clarify them your notes when you review, focusing on main ideas and key points. One way of doing this is by using the Cornell System. To further improve retention, do a weekly review as well. Choose one night of the week to go over notes from the past week for all of your classes. Plan to spend about 30 minutes per class.

Reviewing reading material also improves retention of information, and can be done in almost the same manner. After reading each chapter or section of the text, do a short review within 24 hours and a comprehensive review on a weekly basis.

Nobody is anxious to add another task to their list of things to do, but reviewing often saves time in the long run. Studying for a short period each day is more effective than studying for many hours on a single day.

Everyone procrastinates sometimes, for varying reasons. Learning why you procrastinate is an important step in controlling the behavior. Possible causes of procrastination include boredom, lack of interest or motivation, and fear of failure.

Tips for overcoming procrastination:

  • Identify your patterns - Keep track of your activities and thoughts over a period of time to discover your own pattern of procrastination.
  • Study during your most effective time of the day - If you study when you are most alert, you will get the most out of your time.
  • Set priorities every day - Spend some time each day deciding what you want and need to accomplish. Decide how you will spend your time, keeping in mind that sometimes you simply can’t do everything you "should" or want to do.
  • Break down large tasks - Big projects are more approachable when they are broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Try to realistically estimate the amount of time each step will take and set goals for completion of the steps.
  • Clear your mind of distractions - One way to improve your concentration while studying is to jot down distracting thoughts on a list as they arise. This will remind you to deal with these issues later and free your mind to concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Start with the worst - Tackle your most difficult or boring tasks while your level of concentration is high. If you put them off until last, you will be approaching them when your energy level is low. Getting the worst out of the way first may even energize you to get more done.
  • Form study groups! - Study groups can be a great way to combat procrastination as well as an excellent study tool. Students in study groups often find that working with other students motivates them to keep on top of things.
  • Ask for help when you need it! - Take advantage of all the resources available to you. You will find that professors, T.A.’s, the Tutoring Center, the Writing Center, the Counseling Center, and many other campus resources are here to help you.
  • Vary subjects to eliminate boredom. - This is a great way to keep your mind from wandering and to stay on task. Try studying one subject for an hour, taking a short break, then moving on to another subject.
  • Set rewards for yourself! - Promise yourself a reward—ice cream, a movie, an extra study break, or some other little treat—if you accomplish a certain task.

Do you understand and remember what you read? Would you like to retain more information from your reading assignments? Becoming an active reader will help you reach these goals.

Students understand and remember more of what they read when they read with a purpose, take notes, and review. The SQ5R system helps readers do just that.

For more information watch this short video READING FOR MEANING or make an appointment with one of our study skills tutors.

What are the best ways to prepare for tests? Attend class regularly, keep up on assignments, participate in discussions, and review notes and readings regularly. However, strategies abound for boosting test taking skills.

For more information about test-taking watch this short video TEST TAKING (.wmv) or make an appointment with one of our study skills tutors:

Study Checklist

Make a checklist about a week before each exam, and use it to schedule study time.

  • Test Date:
  • Test will cover (chapters, concepts):
  • Assignments/reading I still need to do:
  • Study tools I will use to prepare:
  • Things to do/review (break tasks listed above into things you can do in about an hour. Be sure to prioritize):
Study Tools

We learn more by actively engaging with information instead of just re-reading it. The following study tools have been proven effective for many college students—which tool to use depends on the individual and the material to be learned.

  • Flash Cards - Write vocabulary words on the front and definitions on the back, or questions on the front and answers on the back. Creating flash cards helps you learn and remember the material, and using them to self-test is a very effective way to review.
  • Summary Sheets - Condense a large amount of information (e.g. several weeks of notes or a chapter from a textbook) into a page or two. This organizes the information for easy reference and forces you to review the material while identifying the important points.
  • Timelines - Creating a timeline helps you organize material in chronological order. Timelines give a visual image of the information, making it easier to recall during testing. They also put isolated events in context and help you to see a progression of events or ideas.
  • Charts - Charts are used to organize information into categories or subtypes. While you may be familiar with charts in a math or science setting, they can be used for many other types of material, such as language study.
  • Predicting Test Questions - Predicting test questions is a way to create a study guide in advance. Mark lecture notes when the professor mentions a key point and when you review the notes, record the item on a "possible test questions" page. Keep similar records while reading. This listing of key points and ideas will help you to prepare for your next test.
Studying for Tests
Studying for multiple choice, true/false, and matching tests:
  • Know specifics, e.g. vocabulary and dates, but…
  • Don't assume it's enough to memorize facts and figures. Professors often write questions to check overall understanding of the subject.
  • Use study tools, such as flash cards, to learn the material.
Studying for essay tests:
  • Ask the professor for sample questions; the professor may or may not provide them but it never hurts to ask.
  • Write an outline of an answer for each sample question.
  • Find out how many questions will be on the test and how much time you will have to answer each question. Practice writing under a similar time constraint.
  • Know key concepts well. Outline major points of important concepts you expect to encounter on the test.
  • Know relationships between concepts. This type of question often appears on essay tests.
Studying for problem-solving tests:
  • Stay up-to-date on homework. If you miss a problem in the homework, find out how to do it correctly before moving on to new material.
  • Don't take shortcuts! Read the text, as well as doing problems. Label all answers and use proper notation. If you develop good habits while doing the homework, you will be less likely to forget details on the test.
  • Make up practice tests by mixing homework problems from different sections. One way to do this is to put problems on separate index cards. Mix up the cards and take the sample test you have created. (During the test you won't know what section the problem comes from.)
  • Practice doing problems without referring to the book, your notes, or other problems.
  • Try to work similar problems for extra practice. You can get these from the book, from sample tests, or from other textbooks, available at the Tutoring Center or at the library.
Taking Tests
Tips for taking all types of tests:
  • As soon as you get your test, write down any information you might forget during the test (e.g. formulas, equations, key points).
  • Mark questions you are not sure of and come back to them later.
  • Guess instead of leaving a question blank, unless you are penalized for wrong answers; you have a better chance of getting points.
Tips for taking multiple choice tests:
  • Formulate an answer in your head before you look at the answer choices. This can help make options less confusing.
  • Read all options and eliminate obviously incorrect ones to narrow your choices.
  • Try each answer with the original question and decide whether it makes a true or false statement.
  • When "all of the above" is an option, double-check to see whether there is more than one correct response.
  • Watch for negative words, such as "except" or "not".
  • Information to answer one question may appear in other questions on the test.
Tips for taking true/false tests:

Carefully read all qualifying words such as all, most, some, never, always, usually, more, and less. Be especially cautious of absolutes like all, best, only, always, and never.

Tips for taking matching tests:
  • Preview both lists to get an idea of all the options.
  • As you start to match items, look at one list and formulate an answer before you search the other list.
  • Guess only when you are running out of time. If you guess incorrectly early, correct answers for later matches will be eliminated.
Tips for taking problem-solving tests:
  • If you get stuck, try solving the problem on scratch paper, using formulas that might fit. You may stumble across the right solution.
  • Be sure to check your work. Plug answers into equations to verify that they make sense.
Tips for taking essay tests:
  • Organize your thoughts by writing a brief outline listing main ideas and supporting points. You may get credit for ideas included in your outline even if you don't have time to complete your essay.
  • Address and answer all parts of the question. Re-read the question to make sure you have covered all of it. List points you need to address and check them off as you go.
  • Note action words in the question. If the question asks you to define, describe, compare, contrast, explain or summarize make sure you are doing what it asks.
  • Don't waste a lot of time deliberating about the question. Get started with an outline, then write. If you are stuck, write what you know and try for partial credit.

Write out your goals

Good time management starts with deciding what you want to get done. Identify specific goals, and list the steps you will take to reach them. For example, one step might be consulting an expert—e.g. an academic advisor, a successful student, or a study skills tutor.
For more information about setting goals watch this short video: GOAL SETTING (.wmv) or make an appointment with one of our study skills tutors.

Pick up calendars from the Tutoring Center

Write in the dates of your tests, quizzes, assignments, and other important events on a quarterly calendar. Include adequate time for recreation too.
Enter classes, work hours and other regularly-occurring activities on a weekly calendar, then schedule study time. As a rule of thumb, schedule two hours of study time for each hour in class; specific classes may require more or less study time.

Get in the habit of writing "To Do" lists and checking them when you study

Once you identify what need to accomplish, break down large goals into a list of smaller tasks. Prioritize the tasks so you know which to do first, and cross them off as you complete them in order to stay motivated and to combat procrastination.

Additional Tutoring at WWU

The WWU chapter of Beta Alpha Psi coordinates free accounting tutoring for WWU students. Visit the BAP Tutoring website for more information and to join their zoom room. 

Formerly the CS Mentors Program. Students requesting help must submit their question on the CS Tutors website, and join the Tutors Hours Zoom call to receive help. Visit the CS Tutoring Information page for more information.

Language tutoring is arranged through the Department of Modern and Classical Languages; and is available on a limited basis for supported classes. Visit their Tutoring Information page to learn more. 

The Hacherl Research & Writing Studio can assist with research, reading, and writing across all subjects. Help is available both in-person and online. Get support in getting started on your project or paper, finding and using sources, creating a thesis, revising and editing, and more!

The Math Center provides tutoring in higher-level mathematical subjects including calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and differential equations. The Center is staffed by the Math Fellows, an exceptional group of undergraduate students chosen by the department because of their performance in mathematics and their desire to help others succeed.  

The Student Technology Center provides workshops and limited tutoring on various technologies and software programs. Visit the Student Technology Center's Website for more information.

Services for Instructors

Let us know if there are assignments you don't want tutors to help with, or to tutor only in a particular way. Please provide the course, professor or section, name of the assignment, date assigned, date due, and any specific notes. A copy of the assignment is also very helpful. To submit assignment instructions, use the link below to access our online form. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at tutoring.center@wwu.edu.

Submit Assignment Instructions

Examples of Assignment Instructions

 

Course Information

Our lead tutors review syllabuses, textbooks, and handouts from the courses they support. They hold weekly review sessions to disseminate this information to our tutors and help them prepare for the types of questions they are likely to see each week. Study-group facilitators also review material weekly in preparation for discussions with your students.

We appreciate your providing course handouts and other pertinent materials to lead tutors and study group facilitators, and sharing any information which you think will help them support your students.

Student Materials

At departmental request, we hold copies of supplements, quiz keys, and test keys students can check-out for use within the Tutoring Center. Let us know if you have any materials for us to pick up, or email them to TC at tutoring.center@wwu.edu.

Faculty may choose to assign study skill appointments, presentations, or independent review for credit. This helps incentivize the development of active listening and metacognitive strategies. If you are interested in offering this option, please read through the recommended process below:

Setting up a for-credit study skills assignment requires a bit of extra coordination with the Tutoring Center. We are happy to work with you to make this happen. Here’s what you need to know: 

Options: 
APPOINTMENTS

If you assign a study skills appointment as credit, you will need to do so in conjunction with a presentation and/or an independent review option. At this time, we don’t have the capacity to accommodate a whole class with individual appointments.  

PRESENTATIONS

Presentations can be scheduled during or outside of your regular class time. Using the study skills presentation form.  

INDEPENDENT REVIEW

You can offer independent review of our study skills booklet as an assignment in your class. 

For more information about appointments, presentations, and our study skills booklet, check out the faculty resource page on our website. 

Allotting Credit: 

In order to receive credit, students will need to turn in an assignment directly to you as the instructor. Some assignment options include completion of our Study Strategies, Goals, and Plan worksheet and/or submission of a completed weekly and quarterly calendar.

The Tutoring Center is no longer able to provide attendance rosters. 

Due Date:  

The earliest we can accommodate study skills appointments is week two. We cannot offer appointments during finals week. Setting a week 7 or 8 due date will give us enough time to schedule presentations and accommodate last-minute requests. (Weeks 3-7 are recommended for study skills presentations.) 

Repeat Assignments:  

Since student’s schedules, needs, goals, and challenges change quarterly, these assignments will remain relevant even if they are assigned in multiple courses over subsequent quarters. Indeed, completing these assignments more than once may help to reinforce these strategies and strengthen metacognitive techniques. 

Sample Syllabus Blurb: 

Study Skills Assignment: 

Research shows successful learners need to engage in a variety of actions to guide their study.  To earn credit for building these metacognitive skills you must complete one of the following options: Attend a study skills appointment; Attend a study skills presentations (dates to be announced); Independently review the study skills booklet. Then you must submit a completed Study Strategies, Goals, and Plan worksheet and a weekly and quarterly calendar via Canvas by DUE DATE. This assignment will count as # points of EXTRA/COURSE credit.  

 

These peer-to-peer presentations focus on time management, note taking, reading for meaning, and growth mindset and may be arranged by WWU professors or staff members. Presentations can be scheduled outside of your regular class time, but we rely on incentive (usually in the form of course credit or extra credit) to encourage attendance. 

Request a Presentation

Work For Us

Work For Us
 

Working at the Tutoring Center

Working as a member of the TC team provides many benefits, including:

  • Develop communication and leadership skills
  • Gain career-relevant work experience
  • Regularly review study strategies
  • Regularly review course content (Tutors only)
  • Collaborate to help create a vibrant and inclusive learning community

How to Apply

Application forms are now closed. 

Interested in applying? Let us know and we'll reach out when applications open up again!

Learn more about working as a Tutor or Peer Mentor!

If you have circumstances that prevent you from submitting your application by the deadline, please email us ​​​​​​