Tips and Tools


Early in the term, ask yourself which one or two of your classes seem most challenging. Are you studying a field for the first time? Even in the Science Core, or subjects within your major, are there a lot of new concepts or unfamiliar language? This is your signal to look for extra, preventive help.

  • Review the section on Time Management for advices and tips for balancing your schedule.
  • study group may help you achieve your best in these classes. There may be a study group in your dorm or ILG: ask around. If not, start one yourself. Ask your TA or Lecturer if you can pass around a sign-up sheet in class to recruit three or four teammates for a group. 
  • Go to lectures and recitations.
  • Go to office hours. Your instructor and TA are there just waiting to help you. Keep asking questions until you understand the material. After all, you are paying for these services: you might as well use them.
  • Make wise use of online resources, including:
    • Use MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) for practice problems, previous exams, video lectures (sometimes by another professor), and background material. Don't try to watch all the lectures or work all the psets: just zero in on topics giving you trouble. 
    • Khan Academy offers solid, brief video talks on both science and HASS topics. Use these before class to start learning a topic, and after class or before an exam for review. In HASS subjects a video may give you ideas for a paper or project.
    • Further afield, Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative offers online courses. Here again, use course outlines and the search function to focus on relevant material: the last thing you need is to take another course, even if it is online. 
    • Search for more information on topics you don't understand using the standbys Google and Wikipedia, but with caution: compare two or more sources to make sure you're getting accurate information.
  • Access tutoring resources and support.