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Academic Strategies Workshop Series

Fall 2014

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning is offering a series of hands-on, active, and process-focused workshops in which students learn and apply strategies designed expressly for the highly demanding Princeton University context. Led by McGraw's Associate Director, Nic Voge, the emphasis is on advanced and innovative techniques for purposeful and efficient learning. Students apply the strategies to their own course materials whenever possible during the workshops and, ideally, make a one-to-one follow-up appointment in The McGraw Center which builds upon what they learned in the workshop.

The strategies introduced emerge from a common core of research-based learning principles and comprise an integrated strategic approach. While each workshop can stand alone, the series is designed to build on itself and thus reinforce the core principles, and yet is sequenced to be responsive to the current demands of the semester (e.g. midterms).

Check back shortly for dates and location for each of these workshops.


Organizing Your Semester for Balance and Success

Map out your semester from the very start!

Balance academics with everything else Princeton has to offer. Learn about the biggest organizational and time management challenges from Princeton upperclassmen—so you can overcome them. Try out proven practical techniques and tools. Find out about fundamental principles of time management and self-management that allow you to adapt to new, unexpected situations. Prevent procrastination before it prevents you from getting things done!

Bring to the workshop the syllabi from each of your courses and leave with a useful toolkit for:

  • Efficiently schedule your whole semester
  • Manage time on a daily and weekly basis
  • Getting more out of your study time
  • Using to-do lists more effectively

This is an active, hands-on workshop in which you will apply strategies to YOUR own courses. Individualized follow-up appointments with staff in the McGraw Center in Frist can be arranged.


Efficient Learning Strategies: Managing Large Amounts of Information

Got a huge reading load

Want to learn some methods for managing the large amounts of information assigned in your courses?

Learn how to "blueprint" your courses so that you can read, take lecture notes, and study more purposefully and efficiently.

The Blueprinting Approach--a set of researched-based strategies--is expressly designed for reading-intensive Princeton courses, but can be adapted to any course.

Bring a course syllabus to apply this innovative method to one of your own courses during this hands-on, practical workshop.


Advanced Reading and Learning from Text Strategies

To a significant extent college students are expected to teach themselves, to learn independently. In most Princeton courses assigned texts and lecture notes are the primary sources of students’ independent learning. Consequently, to achieve academic success it is crucial for students to develop superior strategies for reading and learning from text and for taking and effectively using lecture notes. In this workshop students will learn strategies for purposeful, efficient reading and note-taking which are designed to address the specific demands of Princeton courses.

We’ll teach you:

  • an approach that helps you align your learning strategies to the course objectives
  • methods for taking effective class notes
  • ways to efficiently study with your notes
  • techniques for reading various kinds of academic texts including research articles and scholarly non-fiction books
  • strategies for reading more analytically and for synthesizing multiple texts

This is an active, hands-on workshop in which you will learn specific strategies by applying them. Bring a syllabus from a reading-intensive course. All participants can arrange individualized follow-up appointments in which they apply these techniques to their own coursework.


Understanding and Ovecoming Procrastination

Is procrastination an obstacle to maintaining balance and achieving academic success?

If so, you are not alone.  Up to 80% of college students report that procrastination has been a significant issue. Procrastination is not a matter of mere “laziness” and the solution is not simply “better time management”. In order to overcome procrastination it is vital that you understand its root causes and motivational dynamics. It is also vital to learn an array of (sometimes counter-intuitive) strategies and techniques for dealing with it.

In this workshop you will:

  • Gain a deeper awareness of what procrastination is and why people do it
  • Understand the motivational dynamics and mind games that perpetuate procrastination
  • Learn a variety of techniques for managing procrastination

All participants can arrange individualized follow-up appointments.


Effective Mid-Term Exam Preparation Strategies

In this McGraw workshop learn proven methods for…

  • Anticipating and preparing for the kind of problems and questions you will be expected to answer on exams.
  • Selecting and prioritizing the most important information in your courses.
  • Synthesizing and reducing large amounts of information from multiple sources into manageable formats.
  • Organizing your knowledge in ways that promote deep learning, retention, and efficient recall.

This is an active hands-on workshop in which you will work on materials from YOUR own current courses. So, bring a syllabus or two and any other information from your courses such as previous exams (check Blackboard) that might be useful in preparing for midterms.


Post Mid-Term Reflections: (Re)Planning for Academic Success

Many students find the transition from high school to college examination styles to be challenging, and it is usually around midterm time that this realization sets in. Turn the "shock" of midterms into a successful learning experience by reflecting, evaluating, and strategizing for the future. Join us for this Midterms Reflection Workshop. 

Together we will:

  • Reflect on the midterm experience: what you learned, how you felt, what you would like to work on.
  • Discuss ways to adjust your mindset from the post-exam "blues" and regain your confidence.
  • Learn how to evaluate your test results in a practical and constructive manner for future success.
  • Develop strategies for academic success in the remainder of the semester.

Making the Most of of Reading Week: Planning for Dean's Date and Finals