Tutor profile: Christine B.
Subject: Study Skills
I have trouble focusing and sitting down to study for my exams - do you have any tips?
It can be tricky to focus, especially if it's a difficult subject. First, set a timer. This timer can be for 5, 10, or 20 minutes and it's how long you're going to focus on this material for. After you've set your timer, write a list about what materials you need to know (i.e. chapter 1-5 in the textbook) and any practice problems you have. Then you can either work chronologically and study the materials in the order you learned them, or you can work by order of difficulty and study materials that are hardest/easiest first. After you've made your list, put boxes next to each item. Try to break each item on your list into the smallest possible pieces. So instead of "Chapter 1" you can write the subheadings "1.1" and "1.2". This way, when you finish a section, you can tick off the box. This can make studying feel less daunting and you can see your achievements! However, this might be intimidating for you. So if you're finding that you're overwhelmed, try separating the items onto different lists or keeping with a more general list like "chapter 1" or "chapter 2" instead of separating these into smaller steps. For studying, you can listen to instrumental music or videogame background music to keep you motivated and engaged with the material. Music with lyrics can be distracting, so try listening to music without lyrics first. Again, set a timer and study for that length of time. Then take a break, again using a timer so you don't get distracted and spend too much time on the distractions. Using these tips will help keep you organized and on track to study for tests and exams.
How can I structure my essay paragraphs?
I like to use a structure called PEEL. The P stands for Point, so you can start your paragraph with a clear topic sentence that describes your first point in your argument. The E stands for Evidence or Example. Here you can use a quotation or evidence from research that supports your point (making sure to cite this material as outlined by your teacher or professor). The next E is Explain. Evidence and examples are not self-explanatory, and an explanation is your chance to show your thinking. Here you can elaborate on how your evidence supports the point that you are making. You can explain why it relates to your topic sentence and your thesis. The last point is Link, which means you can finish your paragraph by linking the point to your thesis. Linking lets you talk about how your evidence and point now connect to your overall argument.
What can someone do to help their confidence in communicating in presentations?
If someone has a big (or small presentation), it can be intimidating! Here are some tips that can help. 1. Make sure you are prepared and familiar with the material. This first step will help you be confident in knowing your material and give you some internal confidence. 2. You can bring some typed or handwritten notes with you. Keep in mind that it can be distracting if you are reading off your paper so make sure you know your material well. These notes are there to act as a reminder about what you're going to talk about and provide a reference in case you need it. 3. Remember to breathe! Breathing helps keep you calm and it allows you to project your voice so everyone can hear you. Focus on breathing before starting your presentation.
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