Even students who have done well in high school math and science courses can find it difficult to adjust to the expectations that university professors have of them. Here are some strategies to help you meet the challenge.

College professors expect a high level of independent thinking. While high school courses and tests are largely factual in nature, tests in college focus on problem-solving. It isn't enough to know that a formula works; you will want to know why it works. It's the interconnections between facts that are important

In most science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses (STEM), you will need to study at least two to three hours a day per course. Also, there is usually less repetition in college homework problems, so focus on understanding the** ** **process**** **for solving practice problems.

College lectures repeat very little, and they are cumulative. You must concentrate fully during lectures, because if you miss something, the rest of the lecture may be incomprehensible. If you do miss something, find out what it was right after class, and review your lecture notes the same day. As one mathematician puts it, "Math isn't necessarily more difficult than other subjects; it's just less forgiving."

When taking lecture notes, write down all the professor's examples. Next to each step of a solution, write the professor's explanation of that step. When reviewing your lecture notes at home, fill in any part of the explanation that you missed. One trick is to try looking at the problem backwards.

In college, you will see things on tests you haven't seen before. In other words, you should not see new principles on a final exam, but you will see the material you've learned presented in new ways.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you study for STEM classes:

**Focus on understanding the salient concepts**: As you study, stop after each step and ask, "what principle did I apply here?" If you see something on a test that seems new to you, try to generalize from what you have learned.

Try this: When working math problems, don't substitute smaller numbers to work the equation. Stay with the algebraic symbols as long as you can, until you have "x=___ ," and then plug in the numbers.

**Work through as many problems as you have time for**. You will be tested under timed conditions. When you're first learning a new principle, though, it is better to work fewer problems and think them through carefully. Your first goal is understanding**—**you can't use what you don't understand. Your second goal is speed.

Find a study partner whose skill level is comparable to your own. If you can't solve the problem together, talk to your TA or professor. Here are STEM-focused study centers on campus you can use:

- The CLUE Study Center is open on school nights (remember - if there's school tomorrow, there's CLUE tonight) and offers 1:1 tutoring and space to socialize with other students studying for Math & Science courses.
- Biology Study Lounge & Drop-In Tutoring: Tribeta runs a free introductory biology tutoring service & study lounge located in the 4th floor lounge of Hitchcock, the building that also houses the intro biology labs.
- Engineering Academic Center: This is a place for students to hone the skills they need to succeed in fundamental Math, Physics, Chemistry or Engineering courses. Open to all Engineering students.
- Statistics Tutor & Study Center: The Statistics Tutor and Study Center is dedicated to furthering undergraduate statistical education at UW. Free drop-in tutoring is offered for all students enrolled in UW introductory statistics courses (any campus) and many faculty and TAs hold office hours in the Center as well.
- Math Study Center: The Math Study Center is a place for all students to come and work on their math homework. Students can work individually or in groups; the MSC has a number of tutors on staff (both graduate student TAs and advanced undergraduate students) to help.

- This Guidebook for Studying and Learning in STEM shares effective tools and tips to help you succeed in STEM courses.
- A list of recommended study channels and websites for STEM-specific courses.

Adapted from *Active Learning: A Study Skills Worktext* by Rory Donnelly (1990).