Use these tips and resources to make sure you're taking the steps necessary for academic success!

Attend all classes

  • Arrive on time
  • Do not leave early

Be prepared

  • Read and process text before class; ask questions for clarification
  • Review notes
  • Practice problems, brainstorming, outlines

Sit close to the front

  • Listen actively
  • Take notes
  • Ask questions

Seek assistance

  • Visit instructor during office hours with questions, concerns
  • Get peer tutoring assistance
  • Have a study buddy
  • Go to the learning centers (reading, writing, or math)

Hand in work on time and do not miss exams.

  • Have college-level work ready to hand in on due date
  • Do not use excuses to rationalize lack of preparation

Use a calendar, schedule time realistically, and follow the course syllabus.

  • Write down assignments, tests, projects in your calendar
  • Schedule study time — 2 hours of study for each hour in class
  • Account time for family, social life, work, class, study, and transportation
  • Remember a 15-unit semester load = a full-time job

Based on work of Minnesota Association for Developmental Education copywrite MNACE Executive Committee.

In addition to time to take your classes, you will also need to plan time for reading, studying, and preparing for classes. You are expected to be ready for each class before the class begins as no time is given "in class" to study.

College Units

A college unit is a measure of time involved in class instruction.

For a 16-week semester:

  • A three-unit class typically requires three (3) hours of classroom time per week.
  • A one-unit (1) lab typically requires three (3) hours and 20 minutes of lab-time per week.

Example for a 12-unit course load

  • In-Class Time = 12 Hours Per Week
  • Study Time = 24 Hours Per Week (2 Hours Per Unit x 12 Units = 24 Hours)
  • Total Time = 36 Hours Per Week (That's why 12 units is considered full-time student status.)

Managing Work and School

Use these as a guideline for how many classes to take based on how much you work.

Work School
15 Hours per Week 9 – 12 Units
25 Hours per Week 6 – 9 Units
40 Hours per Week 3 – 6 Units

Tips for Managing Study Time

When to Study

  • Plan two hours of study time for every hour you spend in class.
  • Study difficult subjects first.
  • Avoid scheduling marathon study sessions. Take breaks when needed.
  • Be aware of your best time of day. Experiment studying at different times of the day.
  • Use time between classes, lunch breaks or time waiting for appointments for study.

Where to Study

  • Study in the same place as much as possible. Have a routine!
  • Study in an upright chair. Do not study on a comfortable couch or in bed!
  • You know the best place to study (i.e. library, park, or in your room).
  • Avoid studying with distractions such as TV, radio or phone.
  • Study in a well-lit and orderly room.

How to Study

  • Have others agree not to disturb you while studying.
  • Use computers when needed to assist you with your class work.
  • Use 3x5 index cards as flash cards.
  • Say "NO" to distractions.
  • Hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door.
  • Get ready the night before.

Follow these steps to calculate your current GPA and monitor your progress.

Step 1

List courses taken for letter grades, record the letter grades you received, and the course units. Do not list courses recorded as Credit/No Credit, Incomplete, or Withdrawal.

Step 2

For each course, multiply the units by the grade points (A = 4 pts; B = 3 pts; C = 2 pts; D = 1 pts; F = 0 pts). This will give you the total grade points for each course.

Step 3

Add the total number of units you have taken.

Step 4

Add the total grade points.

Step 5

Divide your total grade points by the total units.

Example Grade Card

Course Grade Units Multiplied by Grade Points Equals Total Grade Points
History 7A B 3 * 3 = 9
English 1A A 4 * 4 = 16
Sociology 1 CR/NC Courses taken Credit/No Credit are not calculated into the GPA.
Math 3 C 3 * 2 = 6
French 2 C 4 * 2 = 8
Biology 1A D 3 * 1 = 3
Music 4B F 3 * 0 = 0
  Total Units: 20 Points     Total Grade Points: 42 points

If Total Grade Points ÷ Total Units = GPA, then 42 ÷ 20 = 2.10