College Success Skills

It’s great that you are motivated to go to college, but often motivation isn’t enough. College is very different from high school and adult education programs. In order to do well in college, you need to equip yourself with the proper tools that will help you complete each course successfully.

How do you learn best?

People take in information in different ways. If you know your learning style, you’ll better know what to do in each of your classes to help you remember what you learn. Do you:

  • Learn by seeing? Maybe you are a visual learner.
  • Learn by hearing? You might be an auditory learner.
  • Learn by doing ? You could be a kinesthetic learner.

If you’re not sure, try the online VARK learning styles questionnaire. From the home page, click on “Questionnaire.” Follow the instructions to fill out the form, and then click OK. On the next page, click the link to get suggestions for your learning style. You may have more than one learning style, so you can click on “Helpsheets” for more suggestions for study.

Why should you become familiar with your learning style?

Each professor has his or her own teaching style and it may or may not fit with your learning style. If you know your learning style, then you will know what you can do to learn better in a variety of settings. For example, if you are a visual learner but you’re taking a class with a professor who only lectures, you can:

  • Take notes in class by drawing pictures or diagrams of the information
  • Look for images like pictures and charts in your textbooks
  • Use a highlighter to mark important information in your books and class notes
  • Talk to the professor about your learning style and request more visuals such as graphs and charts
  • Get help from a tutor who can present the information to you in a different way.

Best Ways to Study

There is more to studying than opening up a textbook to the assigned chapter, reading it, and then rereading it. Study skills include skills for reading, note-taking, stress and time management, test-taking, active listening, and many others.

How to Study
This website will arm you with various study skills to help improve your performance in your college courses. Click on a topic and scroll down the page to read the suggestions.

Test Taking Strategies

Taking a test can be nerve-wracking but there is no need to completely stress out. The following links can provide you with tips on how to study for and how to take tests.

Test Taking Tips
From the home page, click on “Test Taking Tips,” and then click the links under “General Test Taking Tips,” starting with “Test Preparation.” Then click the links under “Specific Test Taking Tips” to get suggestions for different kinds of tests you will probably take.

University of Minnesota at Duluth/Test Taking Strategies
Check out strategies for before, after, and during a test.

What’s Next?
Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Your college will provide you with support on campus!