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Success Tips

One of the most important things to learn early on in your college career is how to become a successful college student. The skills needed to become a successful college student may be very different from those you might have used in high school. Think of the difference between high school and college in terms of the following analogy. You may have driven a car, but have you ever driven an eighteen-wheeler? Driving an eighteen-wheeler is not the same as driving a car. Skills used for driving a car help, BUT different new skills are needed to drive the eighteen-wheeler. College is much the same. You can use the same skills you did in high school, but you will need new skills as well. Posted below are tips to help you develop the skills you need to become a successful college student.



Time Management

Time management can be very difficult. Many students do not realize the time commitment necessary to be a successful student - for each hour you are in class, you should spend 2 hours studying.  

Time Calculator

Each semester, use the time calculator above and ask yourself if you are being realistic about your schedule. If not, you may want to consider taking fewer classes, adjusting the number of hours you are working (if possible) or cutting out some extracurricular activities.  Good time management is all about finding balance.

Writing Help

Writing well is a skill that everyone, no matter their major, should learn.  Writing and research help is available!

Become familiar with the ODU Perry Library.  The library offers online research resources as well as traditional "in the stacks" research resources. Consider attending an Undergraduate Student Workshop to familiarize yourself with both on-line as well as "in the stacks" resources available.

Help with writing is available through The Writing Center. This campus service can assist you with any part of the writing process, as well as review your papers and give suggestions on how you can improve your writing.

Do you know what plagiarism is? Plagiarism is copying someone else's work or incorrectly citing a source in a paper. This is a serious issue. You may not intend to plagiarize, but if you do not cite correctly, it is still considered plagiarism. The Writing Center has an online plagiarism tutorial that can help you make sure you are correctly citing your papers.

Five Look See

Are you surprised by the amount of information communicated to you by your professor? It can become overwhelming to manage all of that information! Here is a strategy you can use to help you keep your notes current and review them regularly.

Arrive to class 5 minutes early to review your notes from the last class. That way if you have questions, you can ask the professor or someone else in the class.

Stay 5 minutes after class has ended to look over your notes. If you have missed anything or if you have any questions, you can catch your professor or ask someone else in your class.

Review your notes within 24 hours after each class period. That way, if you do not understand something, you can ask the professor during your next class period.

Review all of your notes for all of your classes once a week. This will help you to keep the notes fresh in your mind and make sense of the class material.

When exam time comes, review your notes for the exam. They should be very familiar to you at this point, and you will know what sections need the most review!

Test-Taking Strategies

Do you have an exam or test coming up? Many students have trouble with taking tests. Did you know that knowing how to take a test is almost as important as knowing the material? If you approach test taking as a technique, you may be able to improve your test scores. Here are some effective study techniques  and test-taking strategies that you may want to try for your next test:

Effective Study Techniques

Test-Taking Strategies


Did you know that you must earn a grade of C or better in math and chemistry courses to move on to the next course in the sequence for your major? You probably do not want to repeat your current math or chemistry class! Do not wait until it is too late in the semester to get some assistance.

Take advantage of free tutoring today! The Math and Science Resource Center (MSRC) offers free walk-in tutoring for math and chemistry courses, no appointment necessary. To get the most out of your tutoring experience, you should go to tutoring prepared with questions to ask your tutor.

For assistance with courses besides math and chemistry,the Peer Educator Program provides free tutoring for many lower division general education courses and some upper division courses.

Can't make it to campus during tutoring hours? ODU students also have access to free, online, 24-7 tutoring through SMARTHINKING . Log in to any Blackboard course, go to Tools and click on SMARTHINKING for access to tutoring at your fingertips.

Academic Honesty

As an ODU student, you are expected to abide by the Old Dominion University Honor Code.

Honor Code

We, the students of Old Dominion University, aspire to be honest and forthright in our academic endeavors. Therefore, we will practice honesty and integrity and be guided by the tenets of the Monarch Creed. We will meet the challenges to be beyond reproach in our actions and our words. We will conduct ourselves in a manner that commands the dignity and respect that we also give to others.

Academic honesty and integrity is very important at Old Dominion. The penalty for dishonesty varies but can range from a failing grade to dismissal from the school.When you sign your tests and assignments, it is assumed that by signing, you have abided by the honor pledge. The Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity provides resources for students to ensure that you understand academic honesty and integrity.

What's Your Style?

Do you like to study in groups? Do you memorize facts easily? Every student learns differently and has a preferred learning style. Getting in touch with how you learn can help you become a more effective student.

Some students memorize facts easily and think in lists. Others need to relate the material that they are learning to facts that they already know. If you can figure out "how you learn", you are likely to be more successful than students who have not. The following Learning Styles sheet lists the characteristics of 4 different learning styles along with study strategies for each of those styles. Use the sheet to try to determine your learning style. Then look over the strategies for that style, and try one or two of them this week.

Based on: Krause, Lois Breur. How We Learn and Why We Don't: Student Survival Guide Using the Cognitive Profile Inventory. Cincinnati, OH: Thomson Learning Custom Pub, 2000.

Learning Styles Sheet

Exam Schedules

The schedule for final exams is different than the weekly class schedule. Many students, especially freshmen, do not realize this and miss their exams. We recommend that you make a note of your exam days/times ahead of time, so you can plan your study time. Look over the exam schedule, and write it down. It will probably not happen, but if two of your exams conflict, then notify your professor ASAP! Also, please DO NOT make travel plans before you check your exam schedule. Professors rarely change their exam dates and rarely allow you to take them earlier or later than the posted time.

Exam Schedules

Get Ready for Exams

College final exams are unlike the final exams you took in high school. Most final exams are cumulative, or test all of the material covered in a semester. It is important that you get organized for exams: organize your notes; collect graded assignments that have been returned; form study groups; and plan how you will review.

Final Exam Preparation Tips

Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

When you are anxious about a task or event, such as a research project or exam, you may try to avoid the task. This only raises your stress level! The following link provides some ways to manage negative thoughts, stress, or anxiety in your academic and campus life.

1.   Learn to recognize your anxiety/stress.
2.   Deal with your negative thoughts!
3.   Deal with the physical side of your anxiety.
4.   Take your time and pace yourself.
5.   BE AWARE of yourself.

If you feel like you cannot control your stress or anxiety, please contact Counseling Services. As a student, you are entitled to 10 FREE sessions. Counseling is totally confidential!

ODU Counseling Services
1526 Webb Center (across from Starbucks)

Anxiety Reducing Techniques


Do you know what happens if you earn a GPA  less than 2.0 this semester? You are placed on academic warning. Academic warning means that you are in danger of being suspended from the University for your grades. Anyone who earns under a 2.0 is placed on academic warning for the Spring semester. You MUST earn at least a 2.0 GPA every semester that you are on academic warning, or you will be suspended. You will remain on academic warning until your cumulative GPA is over a 2.0. If you do not keep up a 2.0 GPA and you are suspended, you must sit out of the university for a semester. If you find yourself on academic warning, you will be required to register for UNIV 110: Academic Success.

Academic Continuance