Commit to Study: Tools for Success

Science and math students at Sacramento State are committed--they have to be.  The rigorous, fast paced curriculum demands determination and a commitment to hard work.  The ability to succeed in science and math is not fixed, nor is it limited to individuals with an inborn talent; it grows with dedication and hard work.  We believe that every student who wishes to study science or math, AND who makes the commitment, CANsucceed.  We have created a collection of tools to help science and math students achieve their goals.  We ask every new student to connect with each of the Tools for Success as soon as you arrive, and to utilize them throughout your time at Sacrament State.

Meet with an academic advisor

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Practice the 8 Study Habits of Successful Students

Science and math require more study time than most students realize. Successful students study at least 25 hours outside of class each week (about two hours for each course credit). However, most high school students study less than three hours per week. This is not enough time in college, where students are expected to master lots of advanced material mostly by studying on their own outside of class. That is why we ask Sac State students to commit 25 hours per week to studying.

   Successful Students:

  • Study at least 25 hours/week
  • Work no more than 20 hours/week
  • Attend every class meeting
  • Go to class prepared
  • Rewrite class notes within 24 hours
  • Enter all assignments in a planner
  • Participate in a study group
  • Seek help when needed

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Improve my time management


In  this  exercise  you  will  create  a  weekly  schedule  and  complete  an  online  time-management tutorial. The purpose of the weekly schedule is to facilitate regular studying for classes while still including time for a personal life and a job. Remember, In order to be successful in chemistry, you need to study 3 hours for every 1 hour you spend in class. For a typical 3 hour chemistry class, this totals 9 hours per week studying for chemistry.

Creating a weekly schedule will allow you to see what hours are already dedicated to your daily activities and will show you blocks of time which you can dedicate to studying for chemistry and other classes. In addition, the time management workshop will help you to identify time-wasting activities and to identify strengths and weaknesses in your study habits and time management skills.  The goal of this exercise is to help you be successful in classes while reducing the stress involved with making time for studies. The skills you learn while completing the workshop and keeping a schedule can be applied for years to come, both in your college classes and in your future career.

Part I: Making your weekly schedule

Use the following instructions and a printout of the “Blank Schedule for Week of      ” to make your schedule for the upcoming week:

  1. When are you most alert and able to accomplish the most work in the least amount of time? Make a note of your most productive hours by placing an asterisk (*) next to the appropriate times in the first column of your schedule.
  2. Block out weekly activities, including classes, work, etc.   Check all of your class syllabuses and write any exams and deadlines for projects and papers for the week.
  3. Block out study time for each of your classes during the most productive hours of your day.
  4. Block out time for co-curricular activities such as college clubs, church, etc.
  5. Block out time for sleep, including the time it takes to prepare for bed and any naps you take during the day.
  6. Block out time for personal grooming: shower, dressing, makeup, etc.
  7. Block out times for meals.  Include the time it takes to prepare the meal, even if it’s the night before.
  8. Block out travel times for commuting to and from work, class, and errands.
  9. Block out time for personal chores and errands such as cleaning, yard work, and groceries.
  10. 10) Block out time for family, friends, and to be alone.

Part II: Online time management tutorial at Virginia Tech

Complete the Virginia Tech online time management tutorial.

  1. Read the Introduction and then continue on to the page labeled Activity. What are your top five time-wasting activities?
  2. Take the Time Management Quiz. What is your score? Does it indicate that you are using your time effectively?
  3. Read 4 Steps to Improved Time Management and the next four pages related to creating, assessing, adjusting and evaluating a semester schedule. Look back at the time management schedule you made in the first part of this activity. If there is anything you forgot to schedule, go back and fix it now. If it all looks good, continue the workshop.
  4. Complete the Where Does Your Time Go calculation. How many hours are left for studying?
  5. Read What Do I Do Next? How many hours per week do you need to spend studying for chemistry? For all of your classes combined? [Because chemistry tends to be a difficult course, it is strongly recommended that you devote a minimum of 3 hours of studying per week for every 1 hour that you spend in class.]
  6. Do you have enough “time remaining” (according to the Hour Calculator) for your studies? If not, what activities can you shorten, cut, or otherwise modify to make more time to study?
  7. Read Making Your Schedule Work. What are three strategies that you think are the most important and that you can do starting today to help you improve your study skills for the rest of the semester?
  8. After reading the Recap, move on to Goal Setting.   What are one or two ways you could still improve your study skills?


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Improve my study skills

Visit Dr. Jeff Paradis’ Study Skills Resource page  

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Get help from my peers

Learn about PASS advising

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Get help from my professor


Chemistry Help Office: Sequoia 502

Physics Tutoring Center: Sequoia 124

Math Lab: Brighton 118

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Connect with extracurricular activities in my field of study

Find a club

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