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Successful study strategies for non-traditional adult learners

  • Proven time management skills are critical for an adult learner who is also juggling a family, a job and outside activities.
  • Remember that adult learners have an advantage of building on prior knowledge and life experiences when difficult material is presented.
  • Your first classes should include interesting entry-level courses in your major.
  • Find other adult learners on campus and create a support network of similar students.
  • When beginning the semester, set realistic goals for home and family. Don't try to keep to your old routine while adding the pressure of classes and studying.
  • Set your study schedule for the quiet hours when the children are sleeping or in school or use the library on campus.
  • Make time in your schedule for family activities and routines.
  • Use commuting time to review or play taped lectures while driving.
  • Don't hesitate to get help when you need it. Go see your professor, attend study sessions through Tutoring Across the Curriculum, and network with other adult students in your classes.
  • Do difficult tasks early in your day. Take advantage of quiet times between classes or when children have gone to school to tackle difficult study tasks.
  • Break your tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts that will more easily fit into your busy schedule.
  • Use your family as a resource when studying. Ask a child to help you study. Teach someone else in your family the material you are studying.
  • Spread out your study tasks over several days to allow you to schedule family obligations.
  • Ask your professor for a sample exam or an old exam to use for review. Reviewing sample exams will help you prepare for the types of questions to expect.


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