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Tips for Success

Motivate yourself to start

As a starting point, it is useful, to begin with, a “pre-studying” planning task. Try organizing your lecture notes, making cue cards or creating a checklist of what needs to be reviewed. Even tidying up your desk can be a good first move. This way, you not only prepare yourself for your study sessions, but by looking through your notes, also have a better idea of what material you know well, and what requires more attention.

A notebook that shows a to-do list for the day.
A student doing work on their laptop with a cup of tea on the side.

Develop a study plan

After you have a better sense of the amount of material that needs to be studied, determine how much time you need to spend on each area and break your time down into manageable shifts. For example, if you have one week to study five chapters, you can commit to studying one chapter a day, and use the remaining two days for review. Using a schedule that breaks down each day into half-hour increments and that shows the week at a glance is also useful for planning and managing your time.

Avoid cramming

It is best to study a little bit before and after each class rather than just the week before your finals. This makes it easier to remember the previous content, so you can continue learning more each week. 

A stressed out student sitting down while looking down.
A student reviewing their work on a whiteboard.

Apply your knowledge

Ask questions early and often; continuously practice what you learn! Most university courses are not just memorization, you will need to apply the knowledge to real-world examples.

Choose your study space wisely

Everyone is different when it comes to studying, find what works best for you. Some folks prefer silence, some prefer study groups, some just need a comfy and quiet space to focus.

Students sitting on single desks while studying
A cell phone device on a table.

Turn off your mobile devices

It is easy to get distracted online or with your phone. Set aside time to focus entirely on your course. Limit any nearby distractions, you can also try apps (external link)  that can block certain sites for a set time.

Take breaks

Taking breaks is always a good idea to reset and recharge, especially in a virtual format where Zoom Fatigue can be common. Try working for a set time and take regularly scheduled breaks to eat, drink or disconnect. Consider using a timer or the Pomodoro method. (external link) 

An Indigenous woman sitting by a tree while reading a book and listening to music.
Three Indigenous TMU community members sitting on couches.

Stay positive

It is important to focus on the positive side of every situation, otherwise, it can be easy to become discouraged. Maybe something didn't go exactly as planned, but the positive is you can learn something from that for next time!

Get enough sleep 

Proper sleep hygiene (external link)  is essential for success and overall well being. Aim for 7-9 hours a night, avoid all-nighters (especially before tests or presentations), and set up a nightly routine including limiting electronics before bed.

A student laying in bed under their blanket
A student sewing a flower design on a piece of grey cloth.


Ensure you balance your work, school and social life. It is okay to take time for yourself after a long week; you deserve it! Try to fill your semester with relaxing, stress-free activities while in school like going for a walk, reading a book or spending time with loved ones.

Use the Four Directions Writing Guide

The Four Directions Writing Guide was created to help Indigenous folks with writing university-level essays. 

This guide is for all students who need assistance with their research journey.

We encourage you to keep this guide to review and refer to throughout your time here at Toronto Metropolitan University.

A student writing notes while look at a page on their laptop that show the Seven Grandfathers Teachings

Reach out to the Indigenous Student Services team for support

If you need support with your schooling or otherwise, we encourage you to reach out to the Indigenous Student Services team for support. Our team aims to provide a culturally supportive environment to promote academic excellence while supporting the whole person. Get in touch with a member of our team.

If you have questions about your program, contact your program’s departmental assistant

If you face any challenges with your program, or have any program-related questions or concerns, your program’s administrator (PA) is available to help you. To find and contact your PA, visit the directory to find your Academic Program Advising Contact.

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