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Advising Interactive Worksheet: Academic Skills & Improvement

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Many students find that strong academic performance at Stanford requires making some adjustments to the study habits that were used successfully in high school. It is very common to want to improve academic skills (time management, study skills, etc.) at some point in your time at Stanford.

Adjusting to a new set of academic expectations—in addition to college life in general—takes time and effort. The change in study skills or learning style from high school to college is significant; some modifications may be subtle and can be easily incorporated into your study habits while others may require some practice and take effort to incorporate. 

Among the resources to consider are Academic Skills Coaches. These coaches can meet one-on-one with students to help with specific concerns, such as a preparing for exams for a particularly challenging course, or more generally, with skills such as time management or general study tips. 

Other resources to consider using to improve academic performance or hone your study skills are: 

Office Hours (both TA and Faculty)

  • Faculty often tell us they wish more students would come to ask them about material. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions during office hours--this is precisely what they are for! 
  • Use office hours to get assistance with course content, to get to know your instructor, and to allow your instructor to get to know you. 


  • This is a good way to learn challenging material, or simply become stronger in a topic with which you already are familiar. 
  • Many Stanford students were tutors in their high schools or communities; some then find it difficult to be the one receiving tutoring. But as you know, receiving tutoring is no flaw. Rather, receiving tutoring shows strength and wisdom. 

Review Sessions

  • These should be used to test and reaffirm your understanding of course material along the way during a quarter, and are sometimes offered specifically as a way to review material before an upcoming exam. They can be helpful to check on or solidify knowledge of course topics, seek better understanding of lectures or readings, and review material with your instructor that you haven’t seen for several weeks. 
  • You can join a study group, or arrange one yourself—but be strategic. Don’t just plan to get together with a group of people; plan what you will do when you are together and set expectations. You may even want to assign tasks before the group session so that each person has responsibility for both teaching and learning from others. 

Be creative. Some academic skills improvement will come from outside help, like tutoring. But other improvement will come from your creative strategies like study groups and review sessions. Remember, improvement is not always just about studying harder, it’s about studying smarter

Download our Interactive Worksheet

Academic Advising is a planning process that helps students to approach their education in an organized and meaningful way… 

—National Academic Advising Association 

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