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Good Scholarly Habits

It is expected that each graduate student is an active learner, is interested in the subject matter, can learn independently, and can complete the assignment at hand in the specified amount of time. In comparison to undergraduate courses, graduate courses usually cover more material in a shorter time and in greater depth. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep up with all assignments and text readings. As an undergraduate one may have been successful even though assignments were completed at the last minute. In graduate school this is almost impossible. As such, the following is a list of helpful hints to aid in one’s academic success.

  • Stay current with all text readings. Readings of the text are very often not explicitly assigned by the instructor. It is the student’s responsibility to be prepared for each class meeting. When a text is difficult to read, consult other related texts for an alternative point of view.

  • Review class notes regularly. Try to clarify difficult concepts covered during the week. Consult with other classmates, professors, or texts. Ask yourself core questions about the subject and find the solutions.

  • Begin assignments and projects early. Multiple assignments are often due on the same day. An early start allows one to work on several tasks at once, and doing so facilitates bringing each to completion.

  • Work in groups when permitted. Study groups are often encouraged by the instructor. Conversing with other members of the class generally increases your understanding of the subject matter. However, solutions to problems should be written up individually. Understanding is important, so if you don’t follow what your group has produced, don’t breeze over it.

  • Seek instructor assistance. Office hours are posted for each faculty member. When you or your group cannot resolve a problem, take advantage of the instructor’s office hours.

  • Fill in gaps in knowledge. In learning a new subject, you may come to the realization that there are certain “holes” in your knowledge base. Fill these holes on your own. If the holes are too big, consult a professor for assistance.

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