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Successful University Study

Tips and tools to streamline the study process.

Strategies for success at university

Attend classes

This may seem obvious, but attendance can start to slip as the semester progresses. If you are transitioning from high school, it might be difficult to get used to learning independently and setting your own schedule. Here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of your lectures and tutorials.

  • What is a lecture? Lectures are the main component in your studies and give you the best opportunity to develop a clear understanding of the subject content. Good note-taking and listening skills are important. Have you ever watched a movie but missed the beginning? If you have then you will know that it takes precious time to catch up with the storyline. Lectures can be the same!
  • How do I prepare for lectures? In some subjects you will be expected to read specific information (readings) before the lecture. The readings will give you a clearer understanding of the topics being discussed in each lecture, and encourage your familiarity with the language of that subject. These readings will be located in your course outlines and in Blackboard. Be sure to take good notes during your lectures.
  • What is a tutorial? Tutorials provide a means for you to enhance your learning, acquire new information, clarify points and be analytical and express your ideas. While tutorials are often conducted in formal settings such as specific tutorial rooms in the University, you may find that the atmosphere in some tutorials is less formal than other study environments. Tutors expect active participation in tutorials. This may include:
    • Small group activities
    • Brainstorming
    • Presentations
    • Discussions
  • How do I prepare for tutorials? Tutorials usually require pre-reading so that you can discuss topics with an informed opinion. These readings will be listed in your course outlines and in Blackboard.
Ask questions

If you do not understand something, ask! There are probably lots of other students with the same questions. Lecturers and tutors expect questions from students, either during a session or afterwards. If you don't feel comfortable approaching them in person, send an email. Also remember to:

  • Access your University email account regularly.
  • Make a habit of reading notices on Blackboard, and checking for announcements in your email.
  • Contact your course coordinator regarding any absences.
  • Let the University know when you change your address or other contact information.

Throughout your communication with University staff, please make sure you apply professional rules of etiquette – be polite, be clear and include your student number. See the link below for guidance on how to write a professional email.

Know the tools

The University provides many tools for communication, planning, and research. It's important to get comfortable with using them as they'll save you time and keep you aware of what's going on.

  • The Student Centre is the place where you can view your personal information, current enrollment and academic history, including your grades.
  • Blackboard contains all your course content, including readings, assignments, and assessments.
  • Allocate is where you choose which tutorial session you will attend.
  • University email is the primary mode of communication at Notre Dame and should be checked regularly.
  • The Library provides access to the scholarly information you'll need for all assignments. You can visit the library in-person or access the information resources from anywhere online.
Research and study tools

Learning how to research and study at university are skills that you'll get better at over time. Remember that the Library staff are trained to assist students with the research process, and staff at Study Centre will help with academic skills. Follow the links below to learn how to:

Build a network

Remember to take time to join clubs and explore personal interests while you are at University. The people you meet will form a support system and expand your horizons. Notre Dame provides many ways to get the most out of campus life, including: