Tips & 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 12 free, full online courses in subjects ranging from Biology to Visual Design. 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.