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Academic Study Skills

This guide can assist you to increase your understanding of course material, improve your marks, and make learning a little less stressful. Here you will find strategies for time management, reading and note-taking, study skills, and test-taking.


When studying from home, it is important to plan for certain events in order to maintain your mental-well being. Re-create your routine every morning, create and maintain a workspace at home, plan regular breaks, and socialize in a positive way on the internet. By creating a sense of normalcy, you will have the metal stability to focus and succeed with your studies.


When working and studying from home, you need to intentionally adjust your schedule and workspace in order to help yourself focus on the task at hand.

Recreate your Rhythm: Make time to recreate your rhythm in order to get into the ‘school’ mindset each day.

  • Go to ‘school’ in the morning by setting up your workspace at the beginning of the day: sit down at your desk, get your cup of coffee, and open up your laptop and textbook.
  • Go ‘home’ at the end of the day by closing up your laptop, stacking your books and pushing in your chair.

It is important to disconnect from your work at the end of the day so that you can enjoy your leisure time.

Your Workspace: What do you need in your workspace in order to get your school work done efficiently?

  • Take time to keep your workspace uncluttered.
    • Do you need a bookshelf or filing cabinet to keep your papers and textbooks organized?
    • Do you need a box to hold your headset, wires, & mouse?
  • Set up your workspace beside a window or use a lamp to make sure you have enough lighting.
  • Use a comfortable chair, and add a cushion or a blanket to make sure that you can sit comfortably for an extended amount of time.
  • It is important to visually connect with others so take some time to consider the background others see during online meetings.
  • For more information about setting up your workspace watch this LinkedIn Learning video about Creating a productive workspace.

Personal Care

Sometimes when you study from home you may be tempted to stay in your pajamas all day; however, you will be more emotionally prepared to face the day if you add some self-care to your morning routine. You want to feel good when you look in the mirror.

  • Make sure to take a shower, get dressed, and brush your teeth every morning.
  • Get out of your pajamas and put on your favourite sweater so that you feel ready to face the day and tackle your planned tasks.

Taking a Lunch Hour: When you were on campus you would have taken a lunch hour between classes; now that you are studying from home, you should do the same.

  • Plan a nutritious, tasty meal for lunch. You can even make it ahead of time!
  • Plan enjoyable tasks during your one hour break just like you would have on campus:
    • Chat online with a friend or visit social media.
    • Walk outside or exercise inside.

After a one hour break, you will feel rested and rejuvenated, ready to meet your scheduled afternoon tasks.

Taking Regular Breaks: When working from home, time can sometimes get away from you. Make sure to schedule regular breaks into your routine.

What should you do during your breaks?

  • Leave your workspace, so your brain can switch gears.
  • Walking, exercising, meditating or other happy tasks will reduce stress.
  • Chat with a friend online so you feel more connected.

After taking a refreshing break, you will be more focused when you return to studying.

For more information about taking breaks, watch this LinkedIn Learning video: Plan meaningful breaks.

Mental well-being: During this time of uncertainty, you may feel many different emotions during the day: happiness, sadness, frustration, or hopelessness. Monitor how you are feeling and try some activities to help balance out your mood.

  • Stay active: do yoga or exercise videos with an online friend.
  • Call a friend using a video platform to see a friendly face.
  • Do something meaningful for someone else: volunteer online, arrange for food delivery for a friend, or make a gift.
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness, to have an attitude of gratitude.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

  • Use a mindfulness app to add mindfulness practice to your daily schedule. Try 10%Happier.
  • Read about Mindfulness on the ASC Student Blog.

Leisure Time

During social distancing we need to intentionally make time for leisure activities and to spend time with friends.

Socializing: Plan time in your schedule to regularly “see” your friends so you can feel connected.

  • Use video chat to meet-up with friends.
  • Exercise together using a video chat.
  • Visit online while eating a meal.
  • Use online network games to have a games night with friends. Examples are: Drawful or Kahoot

Hobbies: Now is a great time to develop a hobby and learn something new, so you’ll have something to look forward to everyday. You can:

  • Learn to cook: Grocery stores are open and there are many how-to videos on YouTube.
  • Order materials online: knitting, sewing, wood carving, singing, or playing an instrument.
  • Learn new skills: LinkedIn Learning videos to learn Excel or Google Calendar.

News and Social Media Sites: Sometimes it can be overwhelming to spend a lot of time on news and social media sites. Hearing about negative information can affect your mood.


Bregman, P. (2010, May 20). How (and why) to stop multitasking. Harvard Business Review.

Cuncic, A. (2020, March 27). How to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic. Very well mind.

Goldfuss, A. (2020, March 11). Work in the time of corona. Alice Goldfuss.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Mindfulness exercises. Mayo Clinic.

Weingstein, Y., & Smith, M. (n.d.). Learning how to study: Using spaced practice. Learning Scientists.

Yates, J. (2020, March 14). COVID-19 and social media: Limit the spread of fear by changing online behaviour. CBC.