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SASS has delivered engaging workshops to Queen’s graduate and undergraduate students, TAs, and faculty since 1986. More than 5000 participants attend our workshops every year.

Please choose one of the following:


Request a workshop

Any course instructor or group of students at Queen’s may request a SASS workshop.

Workshop request form

Here are our three types of requested workshops and the topics they cover:

Writing and Academic Skills

SASS professional staff deliver practical workshops for Queen’s students across all faculties, first-year to PhD level, on the academic skills critical to student success. Whether for a second-year Biochemistry class, a fourth-year History seminar, a group of PhD students in Political Studies, or the TAs you supervise, our workshops will enhance students’ writing skills, learning strategies, and understanding of academic integrity.

We design your workshop to address the particular academic issues facing your students. Our workshops make clear to students how to:

  • develop a thesis or argument
  • structure a paper
  • paragraph with skill
  • integrate sources well
  • edit for concision and clarity
  • produce various types of writing, such as a literature review
  • give seminar or conference presentations
  • manage time
  • prepare for exams
  • avoid procrastination
  • read critically
  • take effective notes in lectures or from textbooks
  • approach other writing and learning challenges, at your request.

To ensure SASS can meet your needs, please provide a first and second preference for the date of your requested session, ideally with two weeks’ notice.

Please complete a workshop request form. A workshop coordinator will contact you to discuss the request.

Academic Integrity Workshop

The academic integrity workshop, delivered by professional staff, provides students with detailed information about how to demonstrate academic integrity using sound scholarly practices. Students learn not only how, but why scholars avoid plagiarism. Students will learn the practices that indicate skilled academic integrity: paraphrasing, quoting, and knowing when and what to cite. This workshop gives students all they need to know to submit their work with confidence in their own academic integrity. Request an academic integrity workshop.

TA Training

Our training for Teaching Assistants and Markers will enhance their ability to provide effective feedback on student writing. Please fill in our online workshop request form to arrange a session for your TAs or Markers, or to find out about a scheduled session in which your TAs/Markers can participate.

We design workshops to address TAs’ particular needs. Our workshops make clear to TAs how to:

  • establish goals for marking
  • apply strategies to ensure consistency, fairness and efficiency
  • find and use appropriate resources
  • give constructive feedback
  • prioritize issues in assignments.


Here are a few testimonials from faculty who have invited us for in-class workshops:

Your presentation was just perfect for the class–and really brought out all the different aspects of doing a literature review that are sometimes so hard to make explicit.” – Dr. Mick Smith, Environmental Studies

Your presentation was really well considered, thoughtful, open minded. Your good humour and willingness to consider alternative viewpoints were very welcomed by… students who are [weary] of being lectured to.” – Dr. Jan Winton, Fine Art

The students all commented on how much they got out of it, and I am delighted that we have been furnished with a common vocabulary to identify and talk about some of their writing problems.” – Dr. Rebecca Manley, Department of History

Attend a workshop

Every fall and winter term, SASS offers scheduled workshops on a variety of topics for both graduate and undergraduate students. These workshops are delivered by professional staff and/or SASS peer volunteers, depending on the content and audience. See below for our current offerings, or view workshops in the SASS event calendar.

During fall 2020, all workshops will be held online via Zoom.

September 2020

Workshop title and description Date(s) Time(s)

Notetaking & reading skills 

Lectures and readings can seem like a blur: everything’s too complicated, explained too fast, and you just forget everything afterward anyway. Our notetaking workshop will help you pay attention to the most important parts of the lecture and your readings, organize your information in an effective way, and show you how to work from lecture and reading material when you’re writing assignments or revising for exams.

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: September 8

Session 2: September 9



Working from home: Strategies for success

Wondering what working from home will be like in the fall online semester? In this workshop, our team will show you a number of effective strategies that will help you be successful in your virtual semester at Queen’s

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: September 8

Session 2: September 9


5:00pm – 6:00pm

Focus, motivation and academic success 

Staying focused in a busy environment where other people are working and living, or you’re surrounded by distracting technology, can be tough. In this session, SASS’ peers share easy strategies to make sure you stay focused and motivated as you look forward to handing in your first assignments before leading open discussion.

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: September 14

Session 2: September 14

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Tackling math problems 

Taking math, science, or engineering courses this semester? Math can be challenging and takes time to master. In this workshop, we will show you some great strategies to help you tackle math problems and how to study effectively so you maintain a positive mindset and achieve the grades you want!

Register here for this online workshop.

September 18 1:00pm – 2:00 pm
Writing your first lab report

Lab reports can seem intimidating, so our writing experts are on hand to lead you through the process of writing. Especially suitable for students in Biology, Chemistry and related disciplines.

Register for: session 1 / session 2 

Session 1: September 21

Session 2: September 21

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Writing your first university essay

What makes a university essay different? How do you understand what profs are looking for and express your ideas with confidence and style? We’ll take you through the process from research, outlining and drafting to editing.

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: September 23

Session 2: September 23

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Speaking with confidence: presentations & class

Giving presentations and participating confidently in class can be scary. What are professors looking for, why do they ask you to give presentations, and how can you speak with confidence and clarity? We’ll show you some simple but powerful strategies to overcome anxiety, speak with confidence, and boost your presentation and participation grades.

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: September 30

Session 2: September 30

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

October 2020

Workshop title and description Date(s) Time(s)
Effective midterm and exam prep

Too much to learn and too little time to learn it? Confused about what profs want you to know about midterms? Want to ace those upcoming tests? Our peer learning assistants will take you through a simple and effective series of steps toward midterm success!

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: October 5

Session 2: October 5

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Beating procrastination

While studying from home, procrastination can be tough to avoid, but there are strategies that can help you reduce your urge to procrastinate. Join our team of learning assistants to create an anti-procrastination plan so you can get back on track and maintain focus.

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: October 7

Session 2: October 7

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Catching up in school 

Most students find that they fall behind in one or more courses. It’s never too late to get back on track, so our Peer Learning Assistants have designed this class to answer your questions and produce a plan of action.

Register for: session 1 / session 2 

Session 1: October 15

Session 2: October 15

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

November 2020

Workshop title and description Date(s) Time(s)
Editing papers & reports

There’s nothing worse than handing in work that contains errors or baffles the teacher with its poor structure or wordy argumentation. We’ll show you simple ways to trim your writing down and wow your marker!

Register for: session 1 / session 2

Session 1: November 2

Session 2: November 2

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Working in groups: effective strategies 

Many students find group work challenging – However, it is a common part of learning at university. In this workshop, peer learning assistants will show you strategies that will help make your group work effective.

Register here for this online workshop.

November 5 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Speaking with confidence: presentations & class 

Giving presentations and participating confidently in class can be scary. What are professors looking for, why do they ask you to give presentations, and how can you speak with confidence and clarity? We’ll show you some simple but powerful strategies to overcome anxiety, speak with confidence, and boost your presentation and participation grades.

Register here for this online workshop.

November 12 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Final exam prep: essay exams

Exams are coming up, so now is the time to start thinking about preparing. How do you memorize and understand texts, sources, classes and other readings in order to get ready to write a great essay in an exam? We’ll show you how.

Register here for this online workshop.

November 30 6:00pm – 7:00pm

December 2020

Workshop title and description Date(s) Time(s)
Final exam prep: multiple choice exams 

Are multiple choice exams really about memorizing the entire textbook? Or is there a better way? We’ll show you how to save time, prep more thoroughly, and finish your semester on a high!

Register here for this online workshop.

December 1 6:00pm – 7:00pm
BIOL102 & CHEM112 exam prep

BIOL102 and CHEM112 are complex courses with a lot to work through. Our upper-year volunteers are on hand to lead you through an efficient path to prepping for and writing exams in these courses.

Register here for this online workshop.

December 5 6:00pm – 7:00pm
PSYC100 exam prep

PSYC100 can be a tricky course when there’s so much material to master. Our upper-year students will show you how they conquered PSYC100–and how you can do it too!

Register here for this online workshop.

December 6 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Request a residence presentation

PLAs holding a poster during a presentation

Dons! Are you looking for a fun and effective way to improve your students’ performance in school? Are they drowning in distractions? Wrestling with reading and writing, frustrated by a lack of focus, or stressed by exam season? Request a Residence Presentation!

SASS’s academic skills presentations are simple, one-hour sessions tailored to Queen’s students’ needs. Peer volunteers will prepare the session, deliver it to your floor, and help you with follow-up programming afterwards.

There are six residence presentations to choose from:

So Much to Do, So Little Time

Time management may not sound glamorous, but it’s the bedrock of good study habits for students taking a full course load, participating in extracurriculars and trying to lead a full social life to boot. PLAs will show your students how to manage their expectations, use their time efficiently, and stay healthy while doing it.

This session is appropriate at any time of year. If your students are talking about being overly busy, struggling with finding enough time to sleep, eat and get their work done, this is the presentation you need.

Reading, Listening, and Remembering

Piling through hundreds of pages of dense reading is a tough ask before you factor in the hours of lectures that students attend each week. Processing that material – how to stay focused, prioritize, and remember everything on exam day – is easier with the techniques we’ll teach you in this workshop.

This session is best run between the beginning and middle of the semester. Signs that it might be appropriate include students spending hours on lengthy readings, or complaining about not understanding lectures or complex subject material.


With all the distractions around us, it’s hard to buckle down and get things done. Everyone procrastinates, so we’ll help your students discover the underlying causes of their own procrastination, then develop a personalized plan to stay motivated and focused.

You’ll probably hear students talking about procrastination all year, but this presentation is most effective when run in the middle of a semester. Students will be prepped for the busy end of semester when most deadlines fall.

Writing the Right Way

(NEW in Winter 2018!) Producing written assignments at university can be a mystery. What are professors looking for? How can students pore through readings, produce an appropriate argument, and express themselves according to the demands of academic style? Writing the Right Way will show your students how to answer these questions for any assignment. The talk can be tailored to either science or arts students.

Run this presentation in about week four or five of semester. We will adjust the content according to the semester: fall term workshops focus on basic skills; winter term workshops on identifying and addressing concerns from first semester feedback. Request the presentation if your students have many assignments (including lab reports) coming up, if they’re struggling to understand written feedback, or if they discuss struggling to get started on written tasks.

Study Smarter, Not Harder

What makes a successful student? Innate intelligence? Long hours of work? During this presentation, your students will rethink what goes into achieving a top GPA, reflect on their own study habits, and discover a mix of approaches to improving academic performance.

Try requesting this session in second semester when students are reflecting on what went well (or not so well) during the previous term.

Exam Prep

How do you prepare for five exams in a week? How do you remember everything in the course? What’s the best way to approach a multiple choice test or an essay in exam conditions? How do you deal with nerves? PLAs will take your students through a process of planning, reviewing and writing the perfect exam.

Try to organize this session one or two weeks before midterms or the exam period to give your students plenty of time to put what they’ve learned into practice. Put in your request early; we get very busy during exam season!

Email the program coordinator, Ian Garner, with your questions or for suggestions: ian.garner@queensu.ca

What if I’m interested in other academic programming?

Email Ian for more information on the following program ideas:

  • Try running a regular study group or session for your students. We can help make sure your sessions are tailored to your students’ needs.
  • Passive programming is a great way to develop your students’ understanding of good study strategies. We can provide content and material to produce a great passive program focused on academic skills.
  • SASS runs academic skills events across campus throughout the semester. Why not bring your students to a suitable event?
  • Accompany your students–or volunteer to help at–Get It Done, our all-day drop-in study marathon. The event takes place once per semester (in late November and March).