Learning Strategies Workshops

SMU students often find that they need focused attention on one or more specific academic skills—and the A-LEC is here to provide help in the form of workshops on a wide variety of college-level study techniques. In 45-60 minute sessions, students receive instruction in specific concepts and discover strategies for applying these principles to their own work. Whether you’re just entering the university or confronting the challenges of an advanced curriculum, you can benefit from sessions on Time Management, Test Preparation, Note Taking, and more. When you claim the skills to make your academic experience more efficient and effective, you improve your entire university experience.


Workshops will be held in person and via Zoom.  During fall 2020, reservations are required for workshops.  Click on the workshop schedule to review workshop days/times and register for workshops.

Descriptions of the workshops offered in Fall 2020 are below. 


CAREER READINESS with MICROSOFT OFFICE CERTIFICATION
This 30-minute informational workshop, facilitated by the Office of Information Technology, explores the process students go through to earn the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification. For more information, visit smu.edu/MOS.

CONCENTRATION and TEXTBOOK READING
Have you ever read a chapter in a textbook and struggled to recall what you read? Attend this workshop to learn SQ4R, a six-step reading and studying method that will not only help you read faster, but will also help you focus and retain more of the information. You will also learn methods to stay alert in class and while studying.

CRASH COURSE in EXCEL
In this 1 hour hands-on-workshop facilitated by the Office of Information Technology, we’ll explore: Basic workbook management, Data entry tips, Working with tables, Creating basic formulas using built-in functions and arithmetic operators, Using the basic functions SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, MAX, and MIN, Finding and correcting errors in calculations, Understanding absolute and mixed references.

EXCEL FUNCTIONS MADE EASY
In this workshop facilitated by the Office of Information Technology, we will begin with a review of basic formulas and order of operations. We’ll also explore more advanced features such as: Learning how to concatenate text, Using IF logic, Working with VLOOKUP, Creating Pivot Tables, and Formatting and Filtering Data.

MEMORY TECHNIQUES
Do courses which demand memorization discourage and defeat you? Come learn about your own memory style and methods to improve retention and recall.
"I spent hours trying to memorize dates and formulas, then got them all confused on the test. Learning about my memory style and mnemonic techniques has saved time and made this part of studying almost fun."

MOTIVATION
College life is a journey with many opportunities and obstacles, and each one requires a choice. Attend this self-reflective and interactive workshop to learn about motivation and how to make choices based on your desired outcomes and experiences.

NOTE-TAKING and ORGANIZATION
Do you have a professor whose lectures are rapid, detailed and the main source for test questions? This workshop will focus on the art of note-taking, reviewing, and organization. Attend this workshop if you have ever answered “yes” to the following questions: Have you ever wandered what to take notes on during a lecture? Do you find it hard to write and pay attention to the lecture at the same time? Do you have notes for the same class in multiple notebooks? Have you ever been unable to find all your notes when it’s test time? Students will learn valuable techniques for effective note-taking for various types of courses as well as how to stay organized.

PLAN A SUCCESSFUL FINISH
Do your final exam grades always destroy your GPA? Does a cumulative final inspire terror? Are you concerned about how you will get everything done in a relatively short amount of time? Come to one of these sessions during the last month of the semester to apply time management and test preparation strategies. Dealing with both your remaining assignments and a thorough review in each course, you will leave with a tentative written "battle plan" covering each task and each day through the end of finals. You plan your work, then work your plan.
"My final exam grades always pulled my course grades down, and I was always sick by the end of finals week from lack of sleep. After developing and following a plan to study, I felt organized and confident -- and my GPA was much higher."

STRESS MANAGEMENT and TEST ANXIETY
If your test grades seem to be determined more by your high level of anxiety than by your understanding of the material, you can profit by reducing your test anxiety. You’ll learn to improve test preparation and test taking skills, to substitute positive self-talk for the negative thinking that often occurs during tests, and to train yourself in deep muscle relaxation to deal with the physical component of anxiety and stress.

STUDY GROUPS: MAXIMIZE YOUR LEARNING
Study groups can be extremely beneficial to your success in some courses. At this workshop, you’ll learn tips and strategies on how to form a successful study group, how to conduct study group meetings, and we’ll provide sample agendas for your meetings. You’ll also learn some common difficulties of study groups and how to avoid them.

TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES
In this workshop, you’ll learn about all of the technology resources SMU has to offer including, but not limited to, Box, Canvas, LinkedIn Learning and Zoom.

TEST PREPARATION
Does testing make you nervous? The secret to being successful on an exam is to know how to prepare. Attend the test prep workshop to learn effective methods for preparing for essay and objective tests.

TIME MANAGEMENT
There are 24 hours in a day, and 168 hours in a week. How are you managing your time? In this workshop, you will learn how to effectively schedule your time to maximize your success. You will learn to use various tools such as a semester calendar, weekly schedules and a prioritized daily to do list.

TRANSFER STUDENTS: YOUR TRANSITION TO SMU
Welcome to SMU! Learn the secrets of success at SMU and escape the transfer shock. Come and share in the discussion of frequently asked questions and concerns from transfer students such as… “SMU is different from my previous school”, “How will I make friends as a transfer student?”, “My classes are challenging; where can I go to get help?” Learn about the many resources available to you including tutors, the writing center, and learning strategies workshops to upgrade your skills and make the most of your SMU experience.