Course Strategies

Before Class

  1. Briefly review notes from past material.
  2. Look ahead and see what is about to be covered.

During Class

  1. Take good notes
  2. Ask good questions
  3. Rationalize lecture concepts

After Class

  1. Thoroughly review and rewrite notes.
  2. Knock down any open assignments. Canvas Exams are encouraged to be completed within 48 hours of being assigned
  3. Review past assignments. Keep knowledge fresh by periodically reviewing and practicing past material

Other Tips

  1. Do not wait until the last minute to do things.
  2. Learning is an active, perpetual process. Engage with course material regularly.
  3. Review regularly. Do not cram.
  4. Determine challenges and shortcomings early. Seek help (office hours, SI, study sessions, etc.)
  5. Follow directions.

Understanding Assignments

Assignments are prepared and given to promote learning.

Canvas Exams

These exams are given often, generally after each lecture (or two), and are hyperfocused on the concepts covered in that class. These exams generally consist of a few questions that should be able to be completed in a relatively short amount of time. They are crafted to promote immediate retention of the material in a low-stakes approach (unlimited attempts and two weeks to complete). One should feel comfortable attempting these exams early and often.

HW Exams

These exams are ‘take home’ exams that promote collaboration and community learning. They are comprehensive, by chapter, and tend to contain more challenging questions than those found in Canvas/Recap Exams. All work is required to be shown, promoting active learning and methodical thinking through the use of pencil and paper.

Take-Home Exam

This assessment provides the opportunity to take an exam in a real exam environment. You are required to take the exam as if it were an in-person, proctored exam. The exam should be taken within the allotted amount of time without any external aids. This will allow you to gauge how well you are understanding and retaining class material. However, you will have unlimited attempts to take the exam over the course of a few days. Answer responses will be given in Canvas.

Comprehensive Exam

All prior exams are meant to (over-)prepare you for this in-person, ‘on-your-own’, closed-book, high-stakes, traditional exam. This exam includes everything that has been covered in class at the time the exam is given. By the time the comprehensive exam is administered, one will have had the opportunity to sufficiently practice class concepts in a low-stakes environment. Disciplined approaches to practicing, studying, and reviewing lead to higher success on this exam.

Final Exam

The Final Exam comprehensively covers the entire course and is the last assessment given. This is also a high-stakes, in-person, closed-book, face-to-face, traditional exam.


Treat the exams (above) as stepping stones. Canvas Exams should prepare you for Recap Exams which will aid in the more challenging HW Exams. All of these assessments combined, if properly taken advantage of in a holistic approach to studying and learning, should more than prepare you for the higher-stakes Comprehensive and Final Exams.