Skip to main content

Academic Supports

Academic Supports

Welcome to the Retention and Learning resource page at Arrupe College. Our mission is to academically support by providing personalized guidance tailored to each student’s unique needs.

Whether you're looking to improve your study skills, manage your time more effectively, or would like to create academic goals, our team is here to help. From one-on-one coaching sessions to workshops and follow tutoring, we provide the tools and support to thrive academically.


Jacqueline Molina

Retention and Learning Coordinator 

Maguire 394



Make an appointment with Jacqueline Molina here: https://calendly.com/jmolina2

Academic Coaching

Meet Arrupe's Retention and Learning Coordinator, Jackie Molina. She works closely with students through individualized academic support to identify strengths, challenges, and learning preferences. Through 1:1 coaching, students work on areas such as time management, organization, study skills, goal setting, and more. 

Academic Workshops

Academic Workshops are provided at Arrupe biweekly (every other week) in the Fall semester of every academic year. Whether students are looking to improve study techniques, enhance writing skills, or master time management, the workshops provide practical strategies and tips to implement immediately. 

Retention Resources


One of the most important pillars to a successful tranisition to college is organization. This section offers some suggstions on how you can organize your class materials. 

Where to write down your homework?  

Paper Planner 

Using a paper planner offers several advantages. It provides a tangible presence, reducing screen time and distractions. Customizable layouts cater to individual preferences, and writing by hand can enhance memory retention. Plus, the aesthetic appeal and satisfaction of using a physical planner add to its benefits. 

Link to Class Assignment To-do List HERE

Online Calendar  

Using an online calendar offers several benefits. It provides accessibility across devices, allowing users to access their schedule anytime, anywhere. Reminders and notifications help keep users on track with their appointments and deadlines. Additionally, online calendars often allow for easy sharing and collaboration, making them ideal for coordinating schedules with others. 

Link to How to use Microsoft Calendar for Time-Management and Organization HERE

How will you store your paper handouts and homework?

Storing your paper handouts and homework effectively can help you stay organized and easily access materials when needed. Here's a step-by-step guide: 

  • Designate a Storage Area: Choose a specific location in your home or study space where you'll store your paper handouts and homework. It could be a desk drawer, shelf, filing cabinet, or any other suitable space. 
  • Organize by Subject or Class: Use folders or binders to organize your paper handouts and homework by subject or class. Label each folder or binder with the name of the subject or class to keep everything organized. 
  • Sort and File Regularly: As you receive new handouts and complete homework assignments, sort them into the appropriate folders or binders immediately. Regularly review your papers to ensure everything is filed correctly. 
  • Create Separate Sections: Within each folder or binder, create separate sections for handouts, completed homework, and any other relevant materials. This will make it easier to locate specific items when needed. 
  • Label and Date Papers: Label each paper handout and homework assignment with the date it was received or completed. This will help you keep track of deadlines and stay organized over time. 
  • Consider a Portable Storage Solution: If you need to take your handouts and homework with you to different locations, consider using a portable storage solution such as a file organizer or backpack with multiple compartments. 
  • Digital Backup (Optional): Consider creating digital copies of your handouts and homework assignments for backup purposes. You can scan them or take photos with your smartphone and store them in cloud storage or on your computer. 
  • Regularly Clean Out and Update: Periodically go through your paper handouts and homework to remove any outdated or unnecessary materials. Update your folders or binders as needed to keep your storage system current. 

By following these steps, you can effectively store your paper handouts and homework in an organized manner, making it easier to find and access your materials when needed. 

How will you store your online assignments and notes?

Organizing assignments in OneDrive offers numerous benefits. It provides centralized storage accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, ensuring that documents are always available when needed. OneDrive's file organization features enable easy categorization and sorting of assignments, promoting efficient retrieval and management. Additionally, its collaboration tools facilitate seamless teamwork and sharing with classmates or instructors.  

Link to How to use OneDrvie HERE

Self-Assessment on Organization Skills

The purpose of this questionnaire is to help you learn more about what you already do very well and the areas where you could develop your academic skills further.

Read the statements and put a check mark in the box of the statements that describe your approach to school work. Add up your checkmarks in each section.  After calculating your total score, make a list of skills that you have. Additionally, make a list of skills you want to build. This will become the map that you will use to select the topics, tips, strategies, videos, etc. that will help you to build your Academic Self-Efficacy.  

  1. I know where my professors post online learning materials, class notes and presentations. 
  2. I read and follow the course outline, for all my classes, in order to understand the course requirements and completion dates for all assignments. 
  3. I understand the learning objectives for my classes, how to use the equipment/resources and how my grades will be calculated. If I do not understand, I ask, or plan to ask my professors/instructors. 
  4. At the beginning of each semester, I develop a master schedule (paper or digital) of all classes, quizzes/tests and assignments. I also include all personal life obligations like work/volunteering and exercise times on the same schedule. 
  5. I plan for daily study times in my schedule. 
  6. I have a “to-do” list for each day. 
  7. I plan ahead for tests and begin to review, ask questions, and seek tutoring, several days or weeks in advance.

Managing Your Time

Did you know? For every credit hour taken, 2 hours of study time is suggested. This means that for every Arrupe class that is 3 credit hours, you should spend 6 hours a week studying for that class. That seems like a lot, but can be manage with the right tools. This section offers suggestions to better understand your schedule, priorities, and how to use the 168 hours in a week to your advantage. 

How long does an assignment take?

One of the difficult skills for individuals learning good time management is budgeting how much time a task will take and staying within those time limits. Complete this worksheet by writing out the steps of a task and estimating how long the task will take. Then use a timer to measure the actual time it took to complete each step of the tsks. Follow up with the discussion questions below. 

Link to Time Estimation Worksheet HERE

Do You Have Enough Time in a Week to Balance Your Priorities?

Students usually have numerous commitments to juggle, so intentionally mapping your day can minimize decision-making on “what should I be doing right now?”– the result can lower stress and increase productivity. The main question you are answering is, “Do I have enough time to balance my priorities? In the table below, write out how much time you spend doing the following activities each week.   

Final Tips: 

  1. You have 168 hours/week to utilize wisely or waste – the choice is yours 
  2. Maintaining a schedule is not a matter of “will power” but developing a positive and productive life-long habit 
  3. Exceptions to your schedule will occur, but after wards, return to the plan 
  4. Make several copies of your schedule and place in visible areas 
  5. Share or divide duties with other family members in order to free up extra time in your master schedule 
  6. When determining study time, you should figure 2 hours per credit each week – thus, 12 hours of classes translates to 24 hours of study time weekly! 
  7. Overestimate the time you need to complete a task in order to avoid stress later on 
  8. Identify your times of peak energy and tackle the “toughies” when you are at your best 
  9. Try to study on campus in order to maximize your resources 
  10. Determine and minimize your distractions – yep, people count! 

Link to Time Management Worksheet HERE

Creating a Master Schedule

What is a master schedule? 

It is a type of schedule that reflects fixed and flexible events. It can be created just once a semester or can be done at the start of each new week. With this visual guide, you can devise any type of game plan that is do-able for YOU! 

Why should I schedule my time? 

Students who intentionally map out their days usually have numerous commitments to juggle, AND they want to maximize their time so as not to “give up” anything. Plus, a schedule helps to minimize decision-making on “what should I be doing right now?”– the result can lower stress and anxiety. Who doesn’t want that?!  

Where do I start? 

A master schedule should include fixed priorities – which vary from person to person – as well as flexibility. A suggested format for the attached blank grid is as follows: 


  1. Fill in all regularly scheduled class and lab times 
  2. Fill in all regularly scheduled work/volunteer hours 
  3. Fill in all regularly scheduled activities (meetings, work, study groups, sports practice, church, etc.) 
  4. Fill in times for sleeping, eating, and personal hygiene 
  5. Fill in commute times to and from the above activities 


  1. Fill in one important “fun for me” activity for the week (more later!) 
  2. Fill in time for pre-class and post-class mini-reviews (10-30 minutes each) 
  3. Fill in time for exercise & “de-stress” activities at least several times a week 
  4. Fill in blocks for general study 
  5. Fill in blocks for household duties & errands 
  6. Leave open blocks for the “un-expected” (and used for extra studying when needed - like midterms & finals) 

Link to My Master Schedule HERE

Breaking Down Assignments Into Steps

Let’s prepare for time management by breaking down assignments into steps: 

  1. List all of your deadlines and commitments for the week 
  2. Decide what needs to be done now, soon, and later 
  3. Break down each NOW task into smaller tasks 

Link to Breaking Down Assignments Into Steps HERE

Time Management Methods

Pomodoro Method 

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method based on 25-minute stretches of focused work broken by five-minute breaks.  

  1. Identify a task or tasks that you need to complete. 
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes. 
  3. Work on a task with no distractions. 
  4. When the alarm sounds, take a 5-minute break. 
  5. Repeat the process 3 more times. 
  6. Take a longer 30-minute break and start again. 

Eisenhower Method 

The Eisenhower Matrix is a decision-making tool that helps you make the distinction between tasks that are important, not important, urgent, and not urgent. It splits tasks into four boxes that prioritize which tasks you should focus on first and which you should delegate or delete.  

  1. Identify tasks 
  2. Categorize tasks based on importance 
  3. Categorize tasks based on urgency 


  1. Plan ahead when possible. 
  2. Leave time open to deal with the unexpected. 
  3. Schedule time regularly to deal with important but not urgent tasks. 
  4. Delegate less important tasks. 
  5. Set clear boundaries for activities that serve others but not you. 

Link to Eisenhower Matrix HERE

Snowball Method 

The snowball method refers to targeting smallest tasks that are easy and take the least amount of time to finish. This method allows people to increase motivation for task initiation. 

  1. Identify tasks to complete 
  2. Estimate amount of time and difficulty of each task 
  3. Start with easiest tasks and tasks that require the least amount of time 

Avalanche Method 

The avalanche method refers to targeting the biggest tasks that are most challenging and may require more time than other tasks to complete. This method allows people to overcome the most difficult and time-consuming tasks to ensure completion. Completing the most difficulty tasks also could provide momentum and encouragement for completing the rest of the smaller tasks.  

  1. Identify tasks to complete 
  2. Estimate amount of time and difficulty of each task 
  3. Start with the most challenging tasks and tasks that require the most amount of time 


Time Management Tips

Get organized: use a calendar, planner, or organizer to outline important events, deadlines, and due dates. 

Create a plan: plan out your day before it unfolds. For morning people, plan out your day that morning. For others, plan ahead the night before.  

Prioritize: plan on working on the most urgent tasks first. Also, try to group similar tasks together. This will increase speed and efficiency when it comes to completing your work. 

Set manageable goals: when tackling various tasks, devote a reasonable amount of time per day to each one. When studying, for instance, set a timer for 60 minutes and continue studying until the alarm goes off. If you find that you’re exhausted or have other assignments to work on, use the timer as a signal that it is time to move on. 

Focus: try not to multi-task when completing homework, working on assignments, and studying for exams. It is important to devote your entire attention to one task at a time.  

Eliminate distractions: make it a rule that you will only check email, social media, and text messages in between tasks. If you are using the internet, be sure to close out any tabs that do not directly relate to your assignment. Put your phone on silent and retreat to a quiet area while putting up a “do not disturb” sign, should you find that to be helpful. 

Take breaks: self-care is essential, particularly during times of high stress. Make sure to schedule time into your day to partake in an activity that you enjoy.  

Time Management Self Assessment

The purpose of this questionnaire is to help you learn more about what you already do very well and the areas where you could develop your academic skills further.

Read the statements and put a check mark in the box of the statements that describe your approach to school work. Add up your checkmarks in each section. 

  1. I believe that I have enough time in my life and I try to optimize the time I do have. 
  2. I set goals for the amount of work I want to complete each day, each week and each month. 
  3. I devote sufficient study time to each of my courses. 
  4. I arrive at classes and other meetings on time. 
  5. I take advantage of the time before, after and between classes to review, edit notes, read and/or 
  6. complete assignments. 
  7. I divide longer assignments into smaller workable parts before I begin my study sessions. 
  8. I take a break after I have reached my study goal for a subject before moving onto the next subject. 
  9. I try to avoid activities that tend to interfere with my planned schedule (or at least make sure I have a 
  10. plan to complete my studies at another time). 
  11. I use prime time (when I am most alert) for studying. 
  12. I begin major course assignments well in advance. 

After calculating your total score, make a list of skills that you have. Additionally, make a list of skills you want to build. This will become the map that you will use to select the topics, tips, strategies, videos, etc. that will help you to build your Academic Self-Efficacy. 


Note-taking and Reading Tips

As college students, you have 12+ years of experience taking notes and reading. You have your own methods and have an understanding of what works best for you. This section offers tips to help you extract, retain, and apply information effectively. Use this tips in combination with what you have seen works for you. 

Cornell Notes

What is it?  

It is a notetaking system that encourages active learning, promotes organization, and facilitates effective reviewing and studying. By using this method, you can enhance your understanding and retention of information. 

Why use it?  

  1. During lectures or presentations: help capture the main ideas and important details. 
  1. Reading textbooks or articles:  help you extract and organize key information. 
  1. Reviewing for exams: By covering the right column and using the cues to test yourself, you can actively review and reinforce the material. 

How to use it? 

  • The right column (Notes) is for taking notes. 
  • The left column (Cue) is for writing questions, main ideas, or keywords related to the notes. Typically completed after completing the Notes section.  
  • The bottom section is used to summarize the main points. 

During the lecture or reading 

  • Take notes in the right column, focusing on capturing key ideas, important details, and supporting examples. 
  • Use abbreviations, symbols, and bullet points to condense information and make it easier to review later. 
  • Try to summarize and rephrase information in your own words in the bottom section. 

After the lecture or reading 

  • Review your notes within 24 hours to reinforce the material. 
  • Use the left column (Cue) to write down questions or cues related to the notes. 
  • These questions or cues should prompt your memory and help you actively recall information later. 
  • In the bottom section, summarize the main points using your own words. 

Study and Review 

  • Cover the right column with a separate piece of paper or fold it over. 
  • Use the questions or cues in the left column to test your knowledge and recall the corresponding information. 
  • Uncover the right column and check your answers. Review any areas where you struggled or made mistakes. 
  • Regularly review your Cornell notes to reinforce the material and prepare for exams. 

Link to Cornell Notetaking Method HERE

Mind Map

What is it?  

A mind map is a visual representation of information that uses a hierarchical structure to organize concepts, ideas, and relationships. It is a powerful tool that helps you make connections, engage with complex topics, and stimulate creative thinking. 

Why use it?  

  1. Visual Organization: Mind maps visually represent information, making it easier to grasp complex ideas and relationships between concepts.  
  1. Engagement and Memory: The visual and spatial nature of mind maps engages both sides of your brain, aiding memory and recall.  
  1. Creativity: Mind maps encourage creative thinking by allowing you to explore connections and generate new insights.  
  1. Summarization: Creating a mind map forces you to distill key information, promoting active processing and comprehension.  

How to use it?  

  • Central Node: Write the central topic at the center of your page and draw a circle around it.  
  • Branching Out: As the lecture or reading progresses, listen or read actively and jot down main ideas as branches radiating from the central node.  
  • Hierarchy: Create secondary branches for subtopics or supporting details. Connect these branches to the main ones.  
  • Arrows and Connections: Use arrows or lines to show relationships between different ideas. Connect related concepts to illustrate connections. 

During the lecture or reading 

  • Use single words or short phrases to represent ideas, avoiding lengthy sentences. Focus on key ideas and relationships. 
  • Incorporate colors and images to enhance visual appeal and aid memory. 

After the lecture or reading 

  • Write a brief summary of the main points of the lecture or reading 
  • Visualize the mind map in your mind, recalling the structure and connections 

Study and Review 

  • Self-Testing: Cover sections of your mind map and try to recall the information associated with those sections. 

Outline Notetaking Method

What is it?  

The outline note-taking method involves creating a hierarchical structure of main ideas and supporting details. It provides a clear and organized framework that helps you capture, process, and retain information. 

Why use it?  

  1. Clarity and Hierarchy: Outlining organizes information in a logical hierarchy, making it easier to understand relationships between ideas. 
  1. Simplicity: This method makes complicated content simpler to understand and remember by putting it in an easy-to-follow style. 
  1. Active Engagement: Outlining requires you to actively process information, leading to better understanding. 

How to use it during the lecture or reading 

  • Preparation: Have your materials ready, whether it's paper or a digital device. 
  • Main Points: As the lecture or reading progresses, listen or read attentively to identify main ideas. Write these down as headings or bullet points. 
  • Subpoints: Beneath each main point, add supporting details or subpoints. These provide context and depth to the main ideas. 
  • Formatting: Use a consistent indentation pattern to visually represent the hierarchy. You can use numbers, letters, or bullet points. 
  • Abbreviations: Use abbreviations or symbols to keep notes concise while ensuring you capture essential information. 
  • Whitespace: Leave ample space between points to add additional details later  

After Lecture or Reading: 

  • After the lecture or reading, review your outline notes. Fill in any missing details or elaborations you didn't have time to write during the session. 
  • Use your textbook or additional resources to clarify and expand upon any concepts that seem unclear in your notes. 
  • Write a brief summary or conclusion that captures the overarching theme or main takeaways. 

Study and Review 

  • Cover parts of your outline and challenge yourself to recall the corresponding information, reinforcing your memory. 
  • Use your outline to actively review the material, focusing on key headings and subpoints. 
  • Rearrange or reformat your outline to emphasize different relationships between ideas, aiding deeper understanding. 

Link to Outline Notetaking Method HERE

What should my notes look like?

Your Notes – Content 

Your notes should include: 

  • Pertinent, new information: Identify what’s pertinent through reviewing summary or objectives listed in the syllabus, presented at the beginning of the lecture, or indicated in the reading’s introduction; existing knowledge need not be written down 
  • Questions: Note your questions about things not understood, gaps in the content that need to be filled in, or content that seems to be inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise problematic 
  • Connections: Note relationships between current content and that learned earlier or elsewhere 
  • Ideas: Note topics that might be developed into an upcoming project, paper, or other activity 
  • Clues: Note statements or inferences regarding upcoming assignments or exams as well as how this content may be applied later 
  • Illustrations: Note examples, stories, or visual cues that might aid in retention and recall 

Your Notes - Organization 

To make your notes efficient, consider: 

  • Dating: So that you can refer back to content covered during a particular period of time
  • Skipping lines: To allow more content to be added later
  • Leaving wide margins: Also to allow more content to be added later
  • Labeling: To categorize content
  • Highlighting, underlining, emboldening: To make key concepts stand out
  • Indexing: To make it easier to locate notes by topic later (save space for index pages at the front or back of a notebook; number pages in the notebook as you fill them) 

How can I use my notes to study?

Strategically review your notes: 

  • Within one day of class: Return to your notes and identify things you missed and questions you need to ask 
  • With a classmate: Look for someone who is also taking careful notes; suggest that you compare notes from time to time so that you can contrast what you thought was important with what s/he did (note that this can also become someone you can ask for notes should you ever need to miss class) 
  • Before the next class: Anticipate what will be covered by reviewing content leading up to the current class period 
  • When the information becomes pertinent again: Such as before starting a class with that one as a prerequisite, when studying for a comprehensive exam, when starting a new research project related to the content covered in the notes 


How to Improve Your Reading


These are ideas for overviewing a chapter in a textbook. Spend only a few minutes pre-reading. 

  • Read the chapter title and subtitle. The title provides the overall topic of the chapter. 
  • Read any focus questions at the beginning of the chapter. They are meant to guide your reading and help you be on the lookout for their answers. 
  • Read the chapter introduction or the first paragraph. It gives you an idea of where the material is starting and where it is heading. 
  • Read each boldface subheading. 
  • Read the first sentence of each paragraph. The first sentence often tells you what the paragraph is about or states the central thought. However, be aware that in some material the first sentence may instead function as an attention getter or transition or lead-in statement. 
  • Look over any typographical aids. Notice important chapter terms that are emphasized by being written in slanted italic type or in dark boldface type; often a definition or an example of a new important term follows. 
  • Look over any other visual aids. Notice any material that is numbered 1, 2, 3, lettered a, b, c, or presented in list form. Graphs, charts, pictures, diagrams, and maps are other means of emphasis and are usually included to point out what is important in the chapter. 
  • Read the last paragraph or summary. The last paragraph or summary gives a condensed view of the chapter and helps you identify important ideas 
  • Read quickly any end-of-chapter material.  

Selective Reading 

Read Efficiently by close reading only important texts. Ask yourself: 

  • Is this text important to the professor?  
  • Is it important to me? Will I use it in a paper? 
  • Does it repeat previous material? 

Read Selectively within texts: 

  • Be an active reader: choose carefully what you will read closely. 
  • Skim the text: whenever the author is off topic, providing supporting background or offering repetitious detail. 
  • Be bold: trust your instinct in regard to what material is important and what is filler. 

Overcome Fears that interfere with your good judgment including: 

  • Fear of classroom failure: "Everyone will know what's going on except me." Ask yourself: do most of the students appear to complete all the reading?  
  • Fear of failing in front of the professor: "The professor will know I didn't do the reading."  
  • Ask yourself: can you become familiar with the material and say something in class without close reading absolutely everything? 
  • Fear that even though something didn't get discussed, it will be tested: materials that have been focused on in reading and in class will be more heavily tested. 
  • Ask yourself: is an extra point on an exam worth the extra hours of reading when there are high priority tasks to attend to? 

How to Better Understand What You Read

SQ3R is a reading comprehension method named for its five steps: survey, question, read, recite, and review. Follow the steps below to learn how to glean as much information as possible from your reading material. 

Survey: Gather the information necessary to focus and formulate goals 

Take a few minutes to go through the material quickly: Read the title, Look over the text. Think about the issues that the text will address. 

  • Read the introduction and or summary, orient to how each chapter fits the author’s purpose and the most important points. 
  • Notice each boldface heading and subheading – Organize your mind before you begin to read and build a structure for the thoughts and details to come; notice italics, bold face, end of chapter questions. 
  • This begins the process of developing a framework that helps to organize what you will learn. You need to have a framework in order to recall the information later. 

Question: Before you begin to read a section, turn the heading into a question: this can cultivate curiosity and increase comprehension. 

  • Turn boldface headings into as many questions you think will be answered in that section. Think of a question that interests you: this helps to boost your interest, focus and motivation. Developing interest is key to being motivated to recall what you have read. 

Read: Read with intention and purpose. Actively seek information of importance. Read quickly rather than at a leisurely pace so that you do not bore yourself into inattention. 

  • Read with your questions in mind and look for answers, develop new questions you want answered. 
  • Read section by section stopping at the end to write down notes or additional questions. 
  • For more difficult reading create an outline of the chapter and leave additional space you can fill in details during the class lecture. 

Recite/ Reflect: Stop and think. What have you read about? How does it connect to other material you are reading or previously learned knowledge? Take a quick note or recite important points aloud, in your own words. 

  • After each section, stop and recall your questions and see if you can answer them from memory. If not, look back at the text again (as often as necessary), but don't move to the next section until you can recite the answers from the previous 

Review: Refine your mental organization and begin building memory: go back over the questions you create for every heading and the notes you took throughout the reading. See if you can still answer the questions. If not, look back and refresh your memory, then continue on. 

  • Review your notes and text frequently but briefly. Short, frequent review sessions are a quick way to improve your recollection of new information. A quick way to build in review is to take your text to class and review the text and your previous notes in a few minutes as you wait for class to begin. 
  • Always review readings and notes before and after class (15-20 minutes) which will mean adding this time to your weekly schedule. 
  • Do not wait until exam time to review your textbook, outline and notes. Review material once a week and try to summarize key points. 

Study Tips and Resources

Studying will look different from class to class. What works in a communication class will not neccessarily work in a theology class. The goal is to find the study techniques that work for your learning style and the class content. Aim to apply 2 or 3 of these tips in each of your classes. 

What are your current study skills?

Do you have a clear understanding of your study skills? Do you evaluate the effectiveness of your study skills?

Here is a self-assessment to help you understand how you study in six aspects including: studying, managing your time, taking notes, reading textbooks, memorizing, and preparing for tests.  

Put your score for each question on the appropriate blank and calculate your total score  

  • If you get a total score of 35-50: This study skills area seems solid. Continue working on this skill and maintain a consistent habit. 
  • If you get a total score of 0-34: This study skills area may need a boost. Reflect on what needs to be changed to improve this skill.  

Link to Study Skills Self Assessment HERE

How to be an Active Learner?

First, test yourself! Look at the study methods listed below. Which statement sounds like you? 

  1. You write summaries in your own words of text or notes   
  2. You write questions to summarize notes or text  
  3. You make up notecards to summarize notes or text  
  4. You develop charts to organize material  
  5. You construct possible quiz and test questions  
  6. You recite out loud  
  7. You teach the material to someone else  
  8. You write in the margins of your texts  
  9. You read quietly  
  10. You listen to tapes of a lecture  
  11. You reread lecture/notes or a textbook chapter  
  12. You recopy lecture notes  
  13. You read someone else's lecture notes  

The first eight methods listed above are known as ACTIVE LEARNING methods. They engage you in an active way with the material you need to know and help you retain it for later use. If you currently use these eight methods, keep up the good work! 

Methods nine through thirteen are PASSIVE LEARNING methods. If you use these alone, you will be less likely to learn and retain the material you are working on. 

Good News! 
Passive learning methods can easily be converted into active learning methods! 


Reading notes or textbook quietly ➡ Prepare summary questions

Rereading notes before exam ➡ Quiz yourself from prepared questions

Rereading text before exam ➡ Annotate in margins to summarize main ideas

Memorizing definitions ➡ Recite out loud a sentence using term in context

Recopying notes ➡ Annotate from text & write questions to summarize notes

Reading someone else's notes ➡ Prepare outline from text and talk to instructor

Study Methods

Index Cards 

Using index cards for studying involves writing key information on one side and corresponding details on the other. Keep cards concise and organized by topic or theme. Review regularly, practicing active recall and mixing up the order. Use visual aids and active learning techniques to reinforce learning. 

  • Concise Content: Write key information or concepts on one side of the index card. 
  • Active Recall: On the other side, write corresponding details or answers to prompts. 
  • Organize by Topic: Group cards by subject or theme for easy reference and review. 
  • Regular Review: Set aside dedicated study sessions to review cards regularly, testing yourself on the content. 
  • Utilize Active Learning: Incorporate active learning techniques like self-quizzing, spaced repetition, and visual aids to enhance retention and understanding. 


To utilize memorization effectively while studying: 

  • Break down the material into manageable chunks for easier memorization. 
  • Repetition: Repeat the information multiple times to reinforce memory. 
  • Mnemonics: Use memory aids like acronyms, rhymes, or visual imagery to help remember information. 
  • Association: Connect new information to existing knowledge to enhance memory retention. 
  • Retrieval practice: Test yourself on the material to actively reinforce memory recall. 

Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review (SQR3) Method 

The SQR3 method is a structured approach to studying that involves five steps: 

  1. Survey: Quickly skim through the material to get an overview of its structure and main ideas. 
  1. Question: Formulate questions about the material based on headings, subheadings, and key points. 
  1. Read: Read the material actively, focusing on answering the questions you formulated in the previous step. 
  1. Recite: Summarize the information in your own words and answer the questions out loud or in writing. 
  1. Review: Review the material periodically to reinforce your understanding and retention. 

This method encourages active engagement with the material and helps improve comprehension and retention. 

Prepare for an Exam

Academic Prep 

  • Study actively 
  • Teach others the material 
  • Review notes 
  • Re-read assignments 
  • Ask your professor/TA about the test 
  • Work out sample questions 
  • Self-quiz 
  • Fill out study guides 
  • Use memory strategies (e.g., concept maps) 

Mental Prep 

  • Strike a balance between study and non-study time 
  • Sleep well, eat well, and exercise 
  • Discuss any concerns with your professor 
  • Get familiar with your test environment 
  • Get familiar with the type of test 
  • Use relaxation techniques (e.g., deep breathing and visualization) 

Test Day Prep 

  • Arrive a little early 
  • Bring necessary materials 
  • Glance over exam before starting 
  • Observe the point value of each question 
  • Underline significant words and directions  
  • Plan your time 
  • Be prepared for "moments" 

Study Tips for Different Types of Questions

Different types of questions require different cognitive skills and approaches for effective study and preparation.

Objective test: These tests typically consist of multiple-choice questions or other fixed-response formats, where there is a clear correct answer. 

  • Use time wisely  
  • Read all directions and question carefully 
  • Attempt every question, but do the easy ones first  
  • Actively reason through the questions  
  • Choose the answer which the test maker intended  
  • Anticipate the answer, then look for it 

Subjective test: Unlike objective tests, which have predetermined criteria, subjective tests evaluate responses based on personal opinions, perspectives, or interpretations. 

  • Make your points easy to find  
  • Spend more time on questions worth more  
  • Read each question and make a short list of what you know FIRST  
  • Outline your answers before writing  

True/ False: They typically consist of brief statements or assertions, with respondents selecting either "true" or "false" as the correct answer. 

  • Look for absolute qualifiers such as: always, all, nearly 
  • If one is present, the question will probably be false 
  • Look for relative qualifiers such as: often, frequently, or seldom 
  • These will probably be true  
  • If any part of the question is false, the whole question is false  
  • If you don’t know the answer, guess; you have a 50-50 chance of being correct 

Matching: Matching questions are a type of objective test item where respondents connect items from two columns based on their corresponding relationship. 

  • Make sure you understand the directions for matching the items on the lists; for instance, can you use an item more than once  
  • Answer long matching lists in a systematic way, such as checking off those items already used 
  • Do the matches you know first 
  • Eliminate items on the answer list that are out of place or incongruous 

Short Answer: Short answer questions require respondents to provide brief, concise responses to prompts or questions. 

  • Write no more than necessary  
  • With sentence completion or fill-in questions, make sure your answers are grammatically correct 
  • Reread and make sure your response makes sense 

Multiple Choice: Multiple-choice questions present respondents with a question or statement followed by several possible answers, among which they must choose the correct one. 

  • Anticipate the answer, then look for it 
  • Use logical reasoning  
  • Use information obtained from other questions and options 
  • If the correct answer is not immediately obvious, eliminate alternatives that are obviously absurd, silly, or incorrect 
  • Whenever two options are identical, then both are likely incorrect 
  • If any two options are opposites, then at least one may be eliminated  

Essay Question: Essay questions allow for more expansive and nuanced answers, often requiring critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis of information. 

  • Determine the criteria that will be used to judge your answers  
  • Read the entire test through before starting  
  • Budget your time according to the point value of each question 
  • Use work sheets to jot down ideas, organize your thoughts, and remember details (dates, formulas) 
  • Use the question, turned around, as your introductory statement  
  • Use facts to support your arguments  
  • Use the technical language of the subject 
  • Unless there is a penalty for guessing, answer all questions even if you are not sure 
  • Use partial answers and outlines if you are not sure or are running out of time 
  • Proofread your answers for clarity, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and legibility 

Open Notes: Open notes tests permit students to refer to textbooks, class notes, or other resources to find answers. 

  • Find out why you are being given an open note exam 
  • Prepare for an open note exam best as carefully as other tests 
  • Prepare organizational summaries of the course using textbooks and lecture notes 
  • Use quotations from the book only when they relate to the question and supply supporting evidence 
  • Do not use extensive questions—the professor knows the book; they will want to know what you know 

General Tips During Exam 

  • Look over the entire exam before you begin 
  • Use your time wisely 
  • Attempt every question
  • Read directions and questions carefully 
  • Actively reason though the questions 
  • Ask the examiner for clarification when necessary 
  • Check your answers 
  • Stay positive 

Anxious about a Test?

Before a Test 

  • Talk to others: Stress can be controlled by discussing your feelings and fears with others. Professors, advisors, and fellow students can affirm your feelings and offer suggestions and advice. 
  • Visualize success: Picture yourself calmly walking into your class and sitting down. Imagine yourself listening carefully to verbal instructions. Watch yourself take the test, cool and confident. See yourself thinking and accurately recalling the necessary information. Watch yourself complete the test, turn it in, and leave the room satisfied with your performance.  
  • Use positive self-talk: Develop a believable mantra about why you will do well on the test (ex. I know more than I think. I can work this out.) Practice using your mantra during study time and remind yourself of all the ways you have. 

During a Test  

  • Use positive self-talk: Write your mantra down on a piece of paper that you can carry with you to the testing room. When you feel anxious about your ability or performance, look at the mantra and read it to yourself. This will remind you of your strengths and all the work you have done to prepare for the test.  
  • Pause and breathe deeply: Ease tension by taking a brief break. Turn your test over; close your eyes and inhale deeply. Your belly should rise and fall, where as your chest should not move. Repeat this until you feel calmer. If you could leave the testing room, take a short walk outside and focus on your breathing.  
  • Act, don’t think: Actively read test questions by underlining key phrases. Write down what you know about the question as soon as you read it. Use scrap paper to plan out your answer. If you are stuck between two or three choices, write down the rationale (pros and cons) for each option. 
  • Stop your racing thoughts: Notice when your mind drifts off to worries about your performance. Cut off the thought immediately by closing your eyes, stretching and relaxing your muscles, or snapping your fingers. Read your mantra. Refocus your attention on the test. 

After a Test 

  • Relax: Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Picture yourself in some place where you felt relaxed in the past. Breathe deeply, hold for one count, and exhale. Flex and relax your muscles, starting from your toes, feet, ankles, up to your neck, jaw, and head. Let your thoughts drift. Allow them to come and go freely.  
  • Use positive self-talk: Tell yourself “Good job! I tried every question and it wasn’t as bad as I feared. When I control my imagination, I control my fear.”  
  • Talk to others: Tell your peers what you thought went well and what you thought did not go well. Celebrate completing a test. 


Resources in Maguire Hall

Faculty Mentors

At Arrupe, faculty advising goes beyond its foundation in academic advising (registration, academic supports, bureaucracy management, etc.) in order to implement cura personalis, or care of the whole person. This is not your typical college advising. Faculty advisors are advocates and mentors who care for students and help with cultural navigation and integration processes at Arrupe and throughout the transfer process to four-year schools.

Faculty advising constitutes a year-round communicative relationship with students, dedicated to helping them achieve their holistic goals and have a successful and empowering college experience. Faculty advisors provide a first point of contact when students are unclear about where to go, helping to resolve issues and refer students to the resources that best suit their current needs, while also helping students to develop their own ability to engage complex systems and problems with increasing confidence and independence.

You can view your advisor assignment by logging into your LOCUS student center.

Writing Fellows

Writing Fellows are Arrupe College students who act as peers/experts, supporting their peers’ writing through modeling, collaboration, and feedback. The Fellows provide academic support to their peers through two channels:


The Enhanced ACWRI sequence makes individualized supplementary instruction an integral part of ACWRI 105 and ACWRI 110, Arrupe's introductory college writing courses. Enhanced sequences are scheduled in the morning and afternoon. Two Writing Fellows are attached to each Enhanced ACWRI section. Each Fellow is assigned 10 students to meet with for 25 minutes every week. Weekly meetings are individualized, with the student setting the agenda. By providing embedded tutoring as part of an Enhanced ACWRI sequence, Fellows help freshmen make the transition to college writing.


Using a model similar to the Loyola Writing Center, Fellows offers 25-minute appointments for one-on-one workshopping and feedback. By holding office hours, Fellows support writing across the curriculum for all Arrupe students. Sign up for an appointment by visiting 5/18/2022.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to work with the Writing Fellows, you can contact the program director, Dr. Jose Castellanos.


Math Fellows

Similar to the Writing Fellows, Arrupe College trains a cadre of sophomores who tutor students in math and statistics. Fellows are available to Arrupe students at multiple points throughout the week.

Fellows offer one-on-one tutoring opportunities during office hours and content-specific workshops. Tutoring schedules are posted throughout Maguire Hall.

The Math Fellows Office is Maguire Hall 303.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to work with the Math Fellows, you can contact the program director, Kate Nissan.


Business Fellows

Similar to the Writing Fellows and Math Fellows, Business Fellows offer one-on-one tutoring in accounting, microeconomics, and macroeconomics.

Tutoring schedules are posted throughout Maguire Hall.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to work with the Business Fellows, you can contact the program director, Susan McCarthy.

Additional Learning Resources

The Writing Center

The LUC Writing Center guides students towards becoming better writers who can clearly communicate their most important opinions and careful research in a thoughtful, thorough manner. The center helps students with the entire writing process, from drafting based on reading and lecture notes, private reflections, and discussion with peers to completing a final essay draft. Undergraduate and graduate tutors from all disciplinary backgrounds assist students at every stage of the writing process, helping them understand prompts, conduct research, brainstorm, outline, and draft their essay, as well as format a Works Cited page or annotated bibliography.

The Tutoring Center

Students seeking additional learning support are invited to engage the Tutoring Center.

The Tutoring Center embodies the mission of Loyola University Chicago by providing academic services and resources which foster the development of skills and attitudes necessary to increase the knowledge and academic independence of all students. Through multiple learning services, including small group tutoring, academic coaching, and academic skills workshops, the center helps to contribute towards student success and growth efforts made by Loyola University Chicago.

Students of Loyola University Chicago are encouraged to engage in conversations that will deepen their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. The center provides a space where learning dialogue can take place and minds work together to achieve academic success and assert academic integrity.