Successful students ask for help when they need it!

At the LSC, you will often hear us say, “Successful students ask for help when they need it!”. This advice actually came from our student tutors. When we asked them what they would want to share with new students, this was the most common response.

So, you might be wondering, where DO I get help if when I need it?

Where can you get help?

Visit office hours with your course instructor or TA (Teaching Assistant). Office hours are times for you to come and ask questions – they are usually held at a variety of times. Instructors and TAs are there to help you learn, so visit office hours and take a look at how you can best use them! (New to Cornell? – check out our Quizlet of Cornell lingo!)

Look for LSC tutoring and LSC Supplemental Courses, which are available as a supplement to some challenging introductory courses and give additional problem-solving practice. Check out the LSC webpage for what courses are supported. All courses and tutoring offered by the LSC are available at NO COST to you!

Find a study group or study partner. Not only are study partners a great way to network and connect with your peers, studying together is a powerful tool for learning:

  • Other students may have questions you didn’t even know you have.
  • Setting a regular time and place to study can help with procrastination.
  • Explaining material to other students is a well-established method of solidifying your own knowledge.
  • Working with classmates from a variety of background helps you gain insights and experience perspectives you might not otherwise have access to.

group working at a tableFinding people to study with can be challenging (even when you are taking in-person classes), and Cornell’s Learning Strategies Center (LSC) helps match you with study partners. To find out more about study groups and partners and to sign-up for study partners for class you are in, visit the LSC’s Studying Together webpage.

people talking

Talk to your Advisor. Every college is different in terms of how advising works, but they all have staff who are there to help! College advisors provide information on where to get support while you are here and they can advise you on the courses you need to/should take.

Look at study tips and strategies offered by the LSC. Help with study strategies and time management can be just as important as help with content. Sometimes tweaking your current study strategies or trying new ones can help you save time and learn material better. Check out the LSC resources on how to study, managing time and stress, and learning online.

There are many place to get help! Your friends, residential staff, and family are great resources. Check out non-LSC academic resources and other campus support offices.

As you already know, it won’t always be easy, but you can do it!

Cornell WILL push you and it WILL be hard sometimes (that’s how we get better and learn). Remember, you have the tools and the resources – maybe you need to tweak them, maybe you need to try something new, but you have what you need, and you have a community of support (your peers, your instructors, your advisors, residential staff, and many others) here to help.

It’s easier to keep up than catch up, so make sure you get help when you need it. Have a great semester!

Use syllabus week to establish your plan for the semester. Go through your syllabi and put the dates of prelims, essays, and projects in your calendar. Include important extracurriculars. Make a weekly schedule with classes, office hours, when to do homework, study, workout, etc. Spend time studying the first couple of weeks so the first wave of prelims doesn’t just hit you. Practice good self-care: sleep well, eat well, workout. Review your notes everyday. Keep your room clean and organized. Find study habits that work for you – try self-testing. Go to office hours and ask questions. Set a routine and stick to it!

What should you do when you get your prelims back?

At this point in the semester you’ve probably gotten at least one prelim or graded essay back, and you might be wondering, “what should I do with it?”. Whether the score you earned makes you want to jump for joy or curl up into a ball, learning from your graded work is an incredibly valuable opportunity.

Do not, repeat DO NOT, immediately toss or file away the test or essay you just got back! Instead, think about two things: the content (what did you get correct and what did you lose points on?) and your study plan (what strategies did you use and when did you study?).

Reflect on content

dog looking at bookWhen you think about content, ask yourself honestly: “Why did I lose points here?” and “What is the correct answer, and why?”. Sometimes you misread a questions, other times you have no idea why you lost points, occasionally you might have known the answer, but it didn’t make it to the paper, or perhaps you think there was a grading error. So what do you do? Check out the LSC page on what to do when you get your graded prelims back for some ideas!

Reflect on your study plan

Study Plan Stages - Develop a Plan, then 1 implement, 2 reflect, 3 revise, then implement againEven before you get your prelim back, take a few minutes to think about what you did, or didn’t do, to prepare. Did you develop a study plan? How happy were you with your plan? What study strategies did you use? What worked? What didn’t? What will you do differently to prepare for the next prelim? Sometimes tweaking what you do to prepare for a prelim, including study strategies and planning in study time earlier, can help your prelim performance.

Successful students ask for help when they need it!

Remember, whether you are preparing for your next prelim or working through what you didn’t get correct on a past prelim, successful students reach out for help when they need it!

Finish the semester strong!

It’s hard to believe the semester is not over yet….. But we’re almost there!

Great job with all of your hard work so far this semester!  We’re so close to the end of the semester, now it’s time to access the resources you need to finish strong. LSC’s tips and strategies can help. Use the last few weeks of classes to catch up and keep up with your course work. Because you won’t have classes during finals, time management will be very important, including creating structure for yourself and balancing time for sleep, rest, and good nutrition. Finals can be stressful and you’ll need to be kind to yourself and take care of yourself – this is a major part of preparing for any exam. Find tips and strategies for managing stress here.

The LSC is here to help you think through the steps that will work for you. Read on for resources, videos, and the top 10 tips from study skills experts and LSC tutors.

– Plan out the last few weeks of the semester with a “home-stretch calendar”.  You can download a word or pdf version. This is the end-of-semester version of the semester and weekly calendar. Calendars are an important tool for getting yourself organized and identifying and keeping on top of your crunch times. Block out time, especially during finals, to do things like eat, sleep, and exercise.

You may want to check out the Guidelines for Creating a Study Schedule to make your study more efficient and the Five Day Study Plan to plan when and how to study for exams.

– Having a hard time getting started? That’s ok, procrastination happens to all of us, and when you understand it more you’ll have the tools to overcome it.  Find out out how to break the cycle here.   

– Cornell students can self-enroll in our Canvas module on Studying for and Taking Exams for a complete step-by-step guide on what works, what doesn’t, how to develop a study plan, and strategies for taking exams. Click on the link here to self-enroll in the module.  Learn about effective study strategies, concept mapping, and how to tackle different types of exam questions.

– Check out our videos on time management, the perils of multitasking, learning from online lectures and discussions, and being flexible.  Find our YouTube channel here.

Advice Corner:
Tips from the LSC tutors on accessing stamina and finishing strong!

1. Develop a study plan that takes into account all of your classes’ needs. Work a little bit on multiple classes each day, staring before your exams. Going back and forth between more than one class can help avoid burnout.

2. Pace yourself. Start early and space out your studying over time. Plan for breaks and give yourself time to deal with unexpected issues that may arise.

3. What time of day is best for you for learning? Is it the same for all of your classes? What about the setting (library, café, with or without people)? Learn what works for you, and plan accordingly.

4. Set up a basic time structure for the exam period – make a simple plan – e.g., sleep, meals, exercise – so it feels more like a workday.

5. Work with friends for company and motivation during study period and finals.

6. Sleep!

7. Prioritize your health. Getting fresh air, eating healthy, getting sleep helps you study better and learn more effectively. Block this time into your study plan. Quantity in terms of “hours studying” is not a good metric, because the quality of your learning goes down if you’re not well-rested.

8. Self-test, self-test, self-test! Do practice problems and get answers on your own. Write about topics and concepts and draw pictures and diagrams from memory. Try to be active – instead of just reading things over and over.

9. Take practice tests at the same time you’re going to be taking the test.

10. Have one fun thing planned each day. (Tutor suggestions: climbing wall, Trader Joe’s run, baking, Dairy Bar, pet a dog, walk in Botanic Gardens.)

Bonus suggestion from the LSC tutors, especially if you’re feeling a little burned out: Keep the big picture in mind —what’s your “why?” Staying in touch with big-picture goals helps develop resilience.



Luna on Books

Good luck!

Study Partner Matching is Back!

LSC can help match you with study partners for your Spring 2022 classes!

In the fall, over 1,100 matches were made for >800 students (from freshmen to seniors) in courses in every college and at every level!

Why did so many of you sign up? Because you know that studying with peers is an effective way to learn complex and challenging material and helps you connect with each other – something that can be especially difficult with in-person physical distancing, online and hybrid courses, and when you are spread across the globe. Are you ready to sign up for a study partner? Click here to visit our “Find Study Partners” page or click on the button below.

Learn More About Study Partners

Do study partners and study groups work? YES! Take a look at what your peers had to say about…

… connecting with other students:

  • “I was so grateful to actually meet someone in my asynchronous class! Now more than ever, this one personal connection to the school was so important to keep me motivated and present.”
  • “The LSC study partner matching is very helpful especially if you are more introverted during this period where classes are mostly online.”
  • “It was helpful to just have a support system with another student especially in a course with such limited student interaction by default.”

… learning complex and challenging material:

  • “I learned a lot from just talking, seeing a different perspective in the class and building my own understanding on the topics.”
  • “We were able to go over homework and things together, so it was very helpful to have two perspectives to reference.”
  • “It helped me gauge how in depth I was supposed to know the material for my class, and it helps a lot to work together when you get stuck.”

Study partners are just one way for you get help in your courses when you need it. Check out some other academic support resources here.

For Families: Remote Learning

Parents and Guardians: How to help your college students while they learn from home during COVID-19

Cornell students did an amazing job and made a Fall 2020 on-campus experience possible. Please congratulate your student for all they have accomplished! Now it’s time to transition to remote learning.

Cornell’s Learning Strategies Center is here to help students think through steps they can take to learn effectively. You can see these resources at It is important to work with students who are learning at home to create appropriate space, physical, temporal, and emotional, for them to be successful.

Here are some things your student could use your help with:

Physical Space Needs

Your student needs a space (preferably quiet) where they can:

  • attend virtual classes.
  • study and do homework.
  • work with other students on group projects.
  • participate in other remote Cornell meetings and work.

With many people staying home and many public spaces closed, it might be challenging for your student to find a quiet space to work at home. Have a frank conversation so you can determine how your household will prioritize and use shared resources such as quite spaces, internet bandwidth, etc.

Time Needs

time clock

Some of your students’ course obligations happen on a flexible schedule, some happen at set times. Don’t necessarily expect your student to be available when you want- for example, at family meals.

Your students’ schedules may be challenging for the rest of your household—especially if you’re in a different time zone than Cornell. While many of your students’ school interactions can happen asynchronously, some (office hours, small discussion sections, group project meetings) may need to happen during times that are inconvenient for the rest of the household. Even if you’re in Cornell’s time zone, students may interact and study together on-line at hours that, let’s face it, make no sense to you as a parent/guardian. Talk ahead of time about how everyone might be able to minimize potential disruption and meet each other’s needs as best you can.

Emotional Space Needs

people talking

Students, whether they are new or continuing, are navigating their way and figuring out how this will work, and they’ll need support as well as some space to get used to this new set up.

Don’t forget, your students are still extraordinarily capable young people! They don’t need reminders about due dates, homework, etc., unless they specifically ask for your help.

Do expect your student to contribute to household chores like any other member of the family – just know that their schedule might be less flexible due to required coursework or other college activities. Set up a shared set of expectations for use and upkeep of common spaces (dirty dishes in the sink, we see you!).

y Para Familias: Aprendizaje Durante COVID-19

See Cornell’s Covid-19 updates page for useful updates and information.

Updated 10/30/2020