Valentine’s Day got you down? Set SMART goals

By Cristina Valeri, 4th-year English student

My feelings towards the Valentine’s Day holiday are kind of like my feelings for university life–it’s love/hate. Sure, it’s great that everyone’s in love, eating chocolate and going out for special dinners, but at this point in the semester, Valentine’s Day often represents a slouch where it’s hard to re-motivate yourself and keep the goals you made in September or early January in sight. Or maybe your Resolutions haven’t worked out as well as you had hoped. Either way, this is the time of year when I need a lot of chocolate—whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not—and some motivation to keep me going to April.

Luckily, our beautiful Queen’s campus is peppered with inspiration for those who are looking for it. Just the other day, in the Mac-Corry girls’ washroom, I read this line written in the stall: “Having a bad day? Remember up to this point, your record for getting through bad days is 100% and that’s pretty good!” That’s some pretty original bathroom graffiti.

For me, what keeps me focused and motivated is that list of goals I made back in September. I know I have to work through the chocolate coma and the pile of deadlines if I still want to achieve those goals. If you didn’t make goals in September or January, it’s never too late! You can start now. Write them down and keep them somewhere accessible, where you’ll see them every once in a while to remind yourself.

If you did make a list of goals, evaluate whether you’re on track to achieve them and re-adjust if necessary. Don’t feel guilty for doing so–you might have a better idea now of what’s attainable than you did in September and/or January when you were coming off summer and holiday mode.

Goal setting is vital in helping to maintain trajectory and motivation throughout the semester, so here are some things I’ve learned about setting reachable goals and using them to encourage yourself just in case you’re not a connoisseur of bathroom graffiti.

1. Make SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-oriented

If your goals are Specific, you’ll know what you’re working for. If they’re Measurable, you’ll be able to tell if you’re on the way to reaching them. Your goals should require Action and more specifically, action from you. You might not reach your goal if it’s for One Direction to release a Christmas album for 2015. This doesn’t require action from you, but rather from One Direction and you want to have control over your goals, no matter how badly you want that Christmas album. I know, trust me, I want it too! This is a nice segue way into Realistic goals. Make goals that you know are realistic that you can achieve. This will avoid undue or insurmountable pressure as well as disappointment if you set yourself up for failure. Lastly, Time-oriented means that your goals have a time by which you want or need to have them completed.

For example, instead of saying ‘I want to get an A+ in every single class this semester’, try: ‘I want to attend and stay awake for my 8:30 classes’, or ‘I want to be better prepared for my exams’, or maybe ‘I want to participate in more classroom discussions’.

Note that each of these goals has an action and/or plan attached to them. Attending and staying awake for your 8:30 class might mean sitting in the front row of the lecture hall or setting a reasonable bedtime. Being better prepared for your exams means that you might focus on taking good notes, staying organized and reviewing your notes weekly. Setting a goal to participate more in class discussion can be acted on by breaking it into a smaller step, such as ‘I will put my hand up to speak at least once a week’.


2. Keep an Agenda/ Term Calendar/Weekly Schedule:

Use of these options or a combination or all three (whatever works best for you!) to keep on track of due dates as well as to set dates that you would like to advance and/or complete your goals. So if your goal is to be better prepared for your exams, you could set aside an hour or two each week in your Weekly Schedule to review your notes. With an agenda and/or Term Calendar you could plot dates by which you would like to have something accomplished, i.e. by February 15th, I want to have the first draft of my essay done so that I have ample time for editing. Having that internal due date will motivate you to actually get ahead of your work, even if the actual due date is far away.

Come by the Learning Strategies office in Stauffer Room 143 for a Weekly Schedule template or stop by our volunteer-led Study Skills Coaching on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm for help making your schedule.


3. Positive Self-Talk:

The key to achieving any goal in life is believing that you can do it, as cliché as that may sound! It’s cliché because it’s true! Practice self-encouragement and self-confidence by talking nicely about yourself and focusing on what you’re doing positively, rather than dwelling on the negatives. You may stumble on the path to your goals but that doesn’t mean you won’t reach them. Pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

In the honour of the Oscars approaching, here’s my favourite quotation from the nominated film, The Imitation Game:

“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

See our online resources on Motivation and Procrastination for more information on this topic.

Photo courtesy of Randy Heinitz under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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Quantitative problem-solving: You CAN do it!

By Caleigh Treissman, 3rd-year Psychology major

Quantitative problem solving takes some practice, but there are many strategies you can use to make the solution clear! To improve your quantitative problem solving skills, try to focus on learning and practicing the process of solving problems, rather than solely memorizing and drilling formulas or calculations. If you understand on a conceptual level the processes in your course, you will be better equipped to apply those processes to problems you haven’t seen before.

Think of it this way: You can’t solve every single possible problem. But you can master the conceptual thought process to follow for a particular problem type — and you can apply that to individual problems, no matter how tricky they may become on a test.

1. Start off by ensuring you fully understand what the question is asking!

  • What is the goal?
  • Identify ‘knowns’ and ‘unknowns’
  • Underline key numbers/terms/variables

2. Focus on understanding the fundamentals needed to solve a problem, rather than scrambling for an equation that includes all variables given.

3. When you start out, focus on ACCURACY not SPEED – it is better to get spend the time fully solving a problem than jumping between multiple questions in a rush! Once you understand how to approach a particular problem type, you can then start practicing for speed.

You can use our Concept Summary strategy in order to provide a structure for organizing fundamental ideas.

You can also follow our Decision Steps strategy to help yourself focus on the thought process alongside your calculations when working on a problem.

When it comes to problem solving, practice is key — just like when trying to play an instrument or learn a sport. Remember to focus on understanding the processes that go in to correctly solving a problem so that you can employ these strategies when faced with never-seen-before quantitative problems.

We have plenty more Quantitative Problem-Solving resources online.

Photo courtesy of Chris de Kok under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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Campus secrets for ArtScis: Academic resources on campus that you may not know about

By Joyce Leung, 2nd-year Concurrent Education student

Make sure you are aware of all the academic resources you have access to. Here are some of the resources that I have found helpful!


1. Academic Advising Appointments

If you’re in Arts and Science, there are friendly, professional academic advisors located in Dunning Hall who can help with degree plans or regulations, academic appeals, or course selection process to name a few. You can book an appointment via phone call (613) 533-2470 with Office Hours: Mon-Fri from 8:30am to noon and 1:00-4:30pm.

In fact, all faculties and schools have some kind of academic advising available to you. If you’re in Engineering, Commerce, Computing, or any other faculty or school on campus, contact your faculty or department (often someone known as an “Undergraduate Chair” or “Undergraduate Coordinator”) for advising options specific to your plan.

 2. Peer Academic Support Services (PASS) Advisors

Also located in Dunning Hall are volunteers who you can help answer questions related to degree options in Arts and Science, based on their own experiences and training. They’re more informal and can provide insight from a student’s perspective.

3. Academic Grievance Centre

Unsure about academic disciplines and regulations? Come by the lower John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) room 26 to ask the volunteers about your concerns. They’re students as well who have been trained to help with these issues and can answer questions and guide you to the right resources.


Learning and writing resources

1. Student Academic Success Services: Writing Centre

Anytime you need someone to look over your writing (i.e. assignment, essay, proposal, etc.) for organization, structure, brainstorming, or feedback – the Writing Centre located at the back of Stauffer Library provides free appointments with either Peer Writing Assistants or Professional Writing Consultant.

Sometimes the Writing Centre can get busy toward the end of term, but often there are cancellations or last-minute available appointments — it’s always worth giving them a call to see what’s available.

2. Student Academic Success Services: Learning Strategies

A group of student volunteers located in Stauffer Library provide study skills coaching, general and subject-specific workshops/tip sheets and workshops to enhance the techniques for more effective studying and learning based on research and proven methods. You can also book an appointment with a Professional Learning Strategies Advisor or send an email if you have any questions at

3. List of Tutoring Services

They range from a variety of different disciplines provided by students.

4. Subject Specific Academic Support Guide (Subjects and Faculties)

If you have trouble finding the right person/place to answer your questions about research or discipline-specific material (i.e. essay, word problems, etc.) this guide can help. Applicable for all the areas of studies and faculties at Queen’s!

It includes a variety of:

  • Help desks specific to subjects & Subject-specific Workshops
  • Tutoring services
  • Research Guidelines & Resource locations
  • Subject-specialized Librarians to help with research
  • Tips and advice for essays/quantitative problems

Other helpful academic resources at Queen’s:

This resource list is geared toward Arts and Science students, but if you’re in another faculty, send us an email and we can find faculty-specific resources for you, too. Good luck this term!

Photo courtesy of Barta IV under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.



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Midterms: The seahorses of university

By Brigid Conroy, 3rd-year Biochemistry student

Did you know that seahorses are actually one of the stealthiest creatures of the sea*? So then maybe it would be fair to call midterms the seahorses of University life. A moment ago you were coasting carefree through week one and suddenly BAM! midterms snuck up on you! If you haven’t quite figured out how you’re tackling this midterm season yet, you’ve come to the right place! There are a few simple steps you can take to put yourself back in control and reduce your stress at this hectic time of year.

Firstly, when facing the impending midterm season, reflect on your fall semester midterms. Think about your midterm experience – did you feel balanced or overwhelmed? How were your coffee intake and sleep schedule? Then reflect on the outcomes – were your grades what you had hoped? Did you have to miss lectures to study? Jot down time-management strategies that worked well last semester or new strategies you’d like to implement.

Be informed about your midterms. Ensure that midterm dates are in your planner or term calendar and clarify the percentage value of the midterm and material that is testable. Gather any study materials you are missing, like lecture notes or readings that were put on hold when cold season swept through!

Make a study plan. A plan of attack is the best way to ensure that you meet your deadlines and maintain balance this midterm season! Divide the content to be covered in each course into chunks and assign these chunks to study blocks of approximately 3 hours per subject per day. Remember to use the 50/10 rule: take a 10-minute break for every 50 minutes of study to maximize your concentration! Start as early as possible so that your studying can be spread out over several days.

When making your study plan, incorporate time for both initial learning and reviewing. It is important to separate time spent deepening your understanding of a topic from time spent reviewing to improve your recall. Ideally, begin each study session by reviewing information covered the day before and end with a self-test. Especially if you find yourself short on time, be strategic in your studying. Identify key concepts and focus on content you don’t know. The 5-Day Study Plan is a great template for creating your midterm study schedule.

Most importantly, use relaxation techniques to manage midterm stress, maintain positive thinking, and share what you’ve learned today about both seahorses and midterm studying with your friends and classmates!

*Check it out at The

Photo courtesy of shellac under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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Writer’s block (tips from the trenches)

By Maggie Veneman, Peer Writing Assistant

Writer’s block doesn’t just happen to professional fiction writers; it happens to anyone who picks up a pen. Maybe you’re trying to decide what to write on your best friend’s birthday card, or maybe you need to think of a polite way to email a professor about an extension. We’ve all encountered writer’s block, and chances are you know how debilitating it can be when you’re working on an assignment. That blank white page quickly becomes the most daunting thing you’ve ever experienced, especially if you’re battling a deadline, and I’d like to discuss how to deal with and ultimately overcome this issue.

George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones, makes a good point about the two major ways to begin writing something:

I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run … The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.

His words ring true for university assignments as well as fiction; whether you’re working on an essay, a lab, or a thesis, you’re likely going to use one of the approaches Martin describes. If you’re an architect who relies heavily on outlining, and you reach a stage in your outline from which you can’t really proceed, then unfortunately you could be at an impasse. If you’re a gardener, and you’ve planted your seed but find yourself short on ideas for branches, you’re also at a standstill. So my first piece of advice is to change your tactics: if you’re an architect, try being a gardener, and vice versa. You may find that using a technique with which you’re unfamiliar is a good way to open your mind to new ideas, and hopefully you can fend off your writer’s block.

Another idea, which may seem counterproductive but is actually one of the most productive things you can do, is to stop. Put down the pen and do something else. Surf the web for a few minutes, have a chat with your roommate, go for a walk, or work on something for a different course. Most students have perfected the art of procrastination, and now is the time to use this as a tool. If you’re really lacking inspiration, and Milton’s Muse isn’t coming to your rescue, the best thing to do is to accept that you are stuck and move on to something else. When you revisit your assignment later on, you’ll find it much easier to foster ideas with a clear head.

If this advice hasn’t worked for you yet, there is one more thing that is extremely helpful in terms of beating writer’s block and generating ideas: talk to someone. It takes a very, very good friend to listen to you ramble on about Russian realism in Anna Karenina, but if you have a friend, a parent, a classmate or a TA like this, take advantage! Speaking aloud about a topic and exchanging ideas is hands down the most effective way to galvanize your intellectual ability, and I guarantee that you will come away from that conversation with at least one new idea.

Next time you experience writer’s block, try one or more of these techniques and see if they work. There are certainly other strategies you could explore, as well, but I’ve found the ones I’ve listed to be the most effective. Try everything and anything. Once you find what works for you, you had better get some more paper.

Photo courtesy of  Jonno Witts under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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It’s never too late: Setting goals in Week Four

By Theresa Bryce, 4th-year English major

As we get through Week Four a lot of us are seeing Reading Week on our horizon, and looking back, our new year’s resolutions are no longer in sight. I want to remind you that just because it isn’t January 1, 2015, doesn’t mean goal setting should be thrown out the window! It is never too late to start again. To create a new habit we must repeat that habit until it is second nature to us. It doesn’t matter if you start on January 1st, February 1st, or even today! Here are a few tips about how to get back into your resolutions.

Firstly, it’s important to reflect on your accomplishments. If you have broken your resolution to work out three times a week, or to eat healthy, or to review your notes for 10 minutes after every class remember first to reflect on what went well! Take five minutes to write down when you were able to accomplish your goal, what went well, how did it make you feel? Everyone always says to learn from your mistakes, but remember to continue doing what has been working for you too!

Secondly, turn that negative language into positive self talk. Instead of focusing on the fact that you are too busy to complete your goal, review your goal and set new terms. Instead of “I have too many readings to go to the gym three times a week” your goal could be “Go to the gym once a week and do burpees and skip rope in my room twice a week”. Create goals that are attainable and adapt with your schedule. Then reward yourself with positive self talk: remember it’s an accomplishment to set goals too. You already have the motivation to try something new this year!

Thirdly, keep yourself accountable by creating something visual to remind yourself of your accomplishments. If your goal is to review your lecture notes every Sunday afternoon you could create a calendar and give yourself a check mark or sticker when you complete your goal. You could write a blog about how your new fitness goals, how you feel what are the changes week to week. Work on a goal with a friend. Find a way that works for you to prioritize your goal in your weekly schedule.

Lastly, remember our S.M.A.R.T goal setting model to set yourself up for success!

  • “S” for SPECIFIC: “Eat vegetables with lunch and dinner” is better than “be healthier”.
  • “M” for MEASURABLE: How will you know that you’ve reached your goal and can move onto the next one?
  • “A” for ACTION-ORIENTED: Try “Finish my readings for Biology every week” instead of “Do better in school.”
  • “R” for REALISTIC: Aim for challenging, but do-able. This will build your confidence!
  • “T” for TIMELY: Set a deadline so you have a reason to start now!

Goal setting is not something you can fail. It’s an ongoing tool that you should review and revise as your situation and priorities change. Sometimes that means you just have to start again! It doesn’t need to be January first to work on yourself. You gotta do you 365 days of the year.

Check out Motivation and Procrastination for more strategies!

Photo courtesy of Barrett Hall under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.


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“Can I say NO to Internet distractions?”

By Joyce Leung, 2nd-year Concurrent Education student

It’s not impossible, but it certainly feels that way when it comes to Internet distraction prevention when it’s accessible in just about every way – making you more prone to distractions at any time of the day.

So how can we make the best of technology rather than having it control us with its convenient interruptions?

1. “Do I really need the Internet?”

If it’s not necessary, you can fully remove even the possibility of this distraction altogether by unplugging completely. Like the saying, “out of sight out of mind” and off goes Wi-Fi. Personally I use this trick if I want to eliminate any potential of temptation altogether. This way you can dedicate your all into one task, which leads to higher productivity than what multi-tasking could accomplish.

2. “And what if I do need Internet?”

It’s not very convenient or simple when it comes to disconnecting from the Internet, because it might be necessary to talk to group members or you’re expecting an important email. In that case, the key is to limit the amount of time and content you’re able to access. We have a list of free/paid applications that you may find helpful in limiting you to certain sites or the time you spend on sites.

From “Use of Technology during Study Sessions” in Healthy Tech Tips.


3. Practice restraint every day to get better at saying “no”

In a similar way to building an immune system, and it sure feels painful and challenging at first, but saying your first “no” to Internet distractions will help you build that immunity. Some of your fellow helpful aids could include:

The Distraction Pad

Write down any wandering thoughts (e.g. things you have to do, ideas that come to mind, things you remembered) and put them off to the side. Rather than having them distract and lead you to focus on something else, writing them will let you get back to them later after you’ve completed your current task.

Utilize rewards for motivation and reinforce restraint

Give yourself a goal and make it more appealing with a reward for achieving your goal. That way you’ll be more motivated and less distracted.

Appropriate durations for study sessions

Not everyone can work for 50 minutes straight, so each person’s attention span differs and it’s important to know your own and maximize it with a break to refresh your mind and let it digest (e.g. 50-10 rule – 50 minutes of study, 10 minutes of break and you could check your Distraction Pad or go on the web)

Watch this convincing video of other ways to avoid distractions and increase productivity.

In your mind this might sound more challenging than it really is. Come talk to anyone at Learning Strategies in Stauffer Library, whether you choose to drop in at Study Skills Coaching with upper-year volunteers or to book an individual appointment with one of our professional staff by calling 613-533-6315.

Go for it and good luck!

For more Healthy Tech Tips check this article! And perhaps you are now interested in How to focus and concentrate?

Photo courtesy of Marcello Graciolli under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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The Big Sleep: Why making time for sleep is so important

By Alex Valeri, 4th-year English major

Throughout my four years at Queen’s, I confess I have seen a lot of bleary-eyed university students stumbling to their morning—or even afternoon–classes, clutching their coffees as if holding on to dear life, and fighting to repress loud, in-your-face yawns. I also confess that I have been one of those students who have valiantly attempted to face the day running on only a few hours of sleep.

Sleep is easy to forget amidst our crazy university schedules. Between writing essays, keeping up with readings, studying for midterms, volunteering with on-campus activities, working a part-time job, and hitting the gym, it’s hard to find time for life’s basic essentials such as eating, showering, and sleeping. But it is becoming more and more recognized that sleep is just too important to skip out on. Sleep does not only contribute to your physical and mental health but it is also a key factor in your academic success.

Here’s a shocking statistic to prove the above claim: Did you know that going 18 hours without sleep results in the same cognitive functioning as if you were legally drunk? (There’s a sign in the Learning Strategies office that says this in case you doubt me!). That means pulling an all-nighter to finish a paper may not turn out to be your best work. It also means that staying up late to study—while it may seem productive—can actually negatively affect your performance on your exam the next day. An recent article in the Huffington Post summarized these research findings: lack of sleep or poor sleeping strongly affected students’ academic success, leading to lower grades and more drop-outs (Klein para. 1). They also compared the negative effects of poor sleep to the effects of using alcohol or marijuana (para. 1).

So how do you make changes in your habits or your schedule to ensure you are getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night?

  • Make sleep a part of your schedule: Filling out a weekly schedule? Don’t just schedule your class or homework time but set a bedtime for yourself and try your best to stick to it. Seeing an actual time on your schedule can provide that extra motivation to make sleep a priority.
  • Set a routine: University schedules can get weird. One morning, you may be pulling yourself out of bed for an 8:30 class and the next you’re snoozing until late afternoon with only a night class ahead. A good way to counteract the ups and downs of crazy schedules is to keep a routine with a consistent time to go to sleep and consistent time to wake up. This also gives you more time for your work!
  • Study smarter not harder: Using your time more productively means getting more done in less time so you don’t have to stay awake all hours of the night. Strategies such as the 9-5 work day (doing work between the hours of 9 to 5) and the 50/10 rule (50 minutes of studying with a 10 minute break) ensure you are spending your study time wisely.
  • Find ways to reduce stress: Personally, my maniacal and obsessive over-thinking comes out at night, preventing me from sleeping well. Practicing breathing techniques, doing yoga or exercising, talking to someone, catching up on your favourite show can all help you reduce stress before going to bed.

You can find out more about stress and coping strategies on our website.

As a university student, I too have pulled myself out of bed with the only thought motivating me being that if Frodo and Sam can make it to the top of Mount Doom and destroy the Ring, I can get to early morning class. I truly understand the struggle of finding time to sleep. It sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day and things like reasonable bed-times get sacrificed. Maybe we need to change our thinking about sleep and make it a priority in our lives. Having a good night’s sleep is productive—it isn’t a waste of time! It’s actually helping you succeed.

Work Cited

Klein, Sarah. “Sleep Problems Equal to Binge Drinking, Marijuana Use In Predicting Poor Academic Performance.” The Huffington Post. Inc, 2015. 6 March 2014. Web.

Photo courtesy of Ella Mullins under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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How to write an introduction paragraph

By Janice Niemann, Peer Writing Assistant

 Struggling to get started on your paper? I don’t blame you. Introduction paragraphs can be one of the hardest parts of an essay to write (and it definitely doesn’t help that they come first). Fortunately, I have a go-to format for you! It’s been unbelievably helpful to me over the years (I’m currently working on my Master’s), and I’d like to share it with you. It consists of three main sections:

  1.  Why your topic is interesting. You can also explain why your topic is relevant or give some sort of context. Basically, you want to jump right into your topic in your opening sentence. Try to avoid things like “Over the years…” or “Throughout history…” or “Many people believe…” that give your reader no actual information. Your reader wants to know right away what you’ll be talking about. Also, if you can catch your marker’s attention, that can only help your overall grade. This section can be as short as one sentence or up to three or four (or more), depending on the length of your paper.
  2. Road map. Some people call this section sign posting, but I prefer to think of it as a road map. Essentially, it’s an outline of what you’ll be talking about, condensed into a few sentences. You probably want to avoid giving your actual arguments here and instead focus on the general progression of topics in your paper. Your reader should feel like you’re holding their hand and showing her or him the general direction that your paper is going.
  3. Thesis statement. Ah, the thesis statement. Arguably the most important part of your whole paper (not to add extra pressure or anything). A good thesis statement is argumentative or controversial or conceivably debatable. This final sentence (or two) is where your argument should clearly come out. Remember that someone should be able to disagree with your thesis statement, and then have you convince him or her of your argument as your paper progresses. Try, if you can, to have section two lead up to your thesis, which I know can be difficult, but it’s nice to have a smooth introduction. Nobody like a clunky start.

One final tip: If you’re at a loss for how long your introduction should be, a good rule of thumb is 10% of your total word count (same for your conclusion paragraph). If your paper is supposed to be 1500 words, then your introduction should be about 150; similarly, if your paper is supposed to be 3000 words, then a 300-word introduction should do nicely.

I know that it’s hard to sit down to a blank page and begin explaining your brilliant idea, but hopefully this format will make things a little bit easier for you. Until next time, happy writing!

Good luck! See our Introduction handout for more information.

Photo courtesy of  Sandra under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.


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Exam season is coming! Are you ready?

By Yuming Wang, 3rd-year Life Sciences student

It’s the start of December! With just a few days before exam season officially starts, I want to share with you all some tips that can help you when preparing for exams:

Plan ahead!

Don’t start studying last minute for your exams. Starting your exam studying early is a great way to ensure that you can give yourself enough time to go over your lecture materials and any past exams/questions. As well, it gives you sufficient time to catch up on any assigned course readings or homework you might have missed or didn’t have time to finish.

A great way to plan ahead is to get yourself a copy of the December study calendar. You’d want to include the dates, times, and locations of all the exams you have (SUPER IMPORTANT!) and then plan out which days you will be studying for those exams. Ideally, you’d want to spread out your studying days to allow what you’re studying to enter your long-term memory.

REMEMBER: when you’re studying for exams, always give yourself breaks in between. You don’t want to burn out right before your exam!

Keep calm and believe in YOURSELF!

Exam season is always one of the most stressful times of the year — that’s natural. But you can use stress management strategies! Panicking is the last thing you’d want to do. When you’re really anxious, you may forget information and your concentration goes down the hill. Luckily, there are ways to manage your stress in a healthy way.

Anytime during the day when you have exam-related, work-related, assignment-related stress, try telling yourself “I believe in myself!” (Psst, it works really well when you’re alone and you can shout it out loud). Having a positive attitude is really great for boosting your motivation and concentration.

Talk to someone!

Finally, the last tip I want to give is that if you’re having a lot of difficulty coping with exam season, there’s nothing wrong with talking to someone about it or seeking others for advice and help.

Photo courtesy of Philo Nordlund under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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