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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Huskie Academic Success Center offers study tips

Tables sit on the lower-level floor of Founders Memorial Library. NIU has numerous study spots on campus for students to prepare for finals. (Northern Star File Photo)

DeKALB – With finals around the corner, cramming may look tempting, but the Huskie Academic Success Center recommends healthier and more effective studying strategies, compared to staying up the night before.

The Huskie Academic Success Center offers assistance to students preparing for finals and coursework. 

Matthew Mattox, director of the Huskie Academic Success Center, said academic coaches available are trained to help build strong study habits for students, help them with time management and build confidence.

For any students needing assistance, the center offers a support guide full of tips and tricks to improve study habits.

One of the study methods, the Pomodoro method, suggests a student to study for 20 minutes then take a five minute break before going back to studying.

Laura Hodge, a first-year pre-physical therapy major, said her study sessions consist of 20-minute chunks, then breaks for five to ten minutes.

“I feel like it helps me a lot because I’ll actually stay motivated and I won’t go off track and use my phone because I’ll know that I’ll have it after,” Hodge said.

A similar method called the Distributive method, helps students avoid burnout. Rather than studying for as long as possible in a single day, a student will study in short chunks of time in a day throughout the week.

Rereading and cramming all at once does not work and instead, a student should set goals for themselves while studying, Mattox said.

No one-size-fits-all solution is available. When developing a study habit a student must go through a self-assessment process to determine what works best for them, Mattox said.

“I would say find some sort of prioritization method, like a planner, keep your time,” Mattox said. “Keep as much time as you have and then using those study methods allows you to maximize that little time you have.”

When determining a study schedule, students should look into how important some classes are compared to others, Mattox said.

Raissa Berumen, a senior accounting major with a minor in philosophy, said she focuses more on her accounting class due to its difficulty.

“I do tend to prioritize my accounting classes over my philosophy classes,” Berumen said. “I just feel like the course load out of all of my accounting classes are usually a lot more tougher to get to and a lot more time-consuming than some of my philosophy courses are.”

Other tricks to assist in studying is retaking old tests to see what you struggle in and recreating the environment you’ll be tested in, Mattox said.

“Try to practice how you play, kind of like athletics,” Mattox said.

The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with some academic coaches available over the weekend according to Mattox.

Making an appointment is not needed, but is recommended to ensure an academic coach is available to assist. In addition to academic coaches, the center offers content tutors and supplemental instructors for those looking for assistance with particular subjects. 

The University Writing Center additionally offers writing guidance to students, however, the center is currently booked until the end of the semester, according to Mattox.

Students can schedule an appointment with the center through NIU Navigate under “Appointments.”

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