Keys to Academic Success

Originally, I wanted to write about study tips and tricks to help you get through exams, but then I thought, “self, consistent learning and understanding is what really matters”, and so I decided instead to meet with Cathy from Learning Skills Services and have an in-depth discussion about the services they offer, and the advice that they give to new, and not-so-new, students.  I walked away from that discussion with what I believe are two of the most important keys to academic success as a mature student:

  • Learning takes time. Learning Skills Services suggests that for every in-class hour, you allocate an hour and a half to two hours of study time at home.  With mature students, in particular, they suggest that rather than studying at home (you know, where kids, spouses and even pets can become a distraction) you choose another location (my two favs are Scott Library and my local Tim Horton’s).
  • Learning is not about memorization, but rather, understanding. As mature students, we can reflect on life experiences to help us with our learning.  The goal of post-secondary learning is to create a deeper understanding and enhance critical thinking skills so that we look at the world in new ways, not simply being able to recite Foucault’s thoughts on ‘Power’.

Learning Skills Services:

Located in Scott Library in Room 203G, Learning Skills Services provide a range of services geared toward helping York students gain the skills necessary for academic success.  Learning Skills Services is open to all York Students and not just to those who may be in academic distress.

In addition to some drop-in services, Learning Skills Services offer a number of workshops throughout the school year, many of which can be very helpful to mature students (particularly worlearning-serviceskshops such as time management, reading, & note-taking and exam prep).  Each month, Learning Skills Services publishes a schedule of events that can be accessed here: you complete eight or more different workshops, you receive a certificate and add it to your co-curricular transcript.  For more information on the ‘Passport to Success’, please visit:

The Learning Skills Services website provides a wealth of useful information and links to various online resources like academic success videos and academic skill building information, including the 10 secrets of academic success (which really shouldn’t be kept a secret, should it?). These ‘secrets’ provide a great foundation for post-secondary learning, and combined with the skills learned in the Learning Skills Services’ workshops, they can help you achieve your academic goals.

If I can offer just one more piece of advice: use the services offered by York. From academic writing services to those offered by Learning Skills Services, they are there to help you be the best student you can be.  Although many of us already have the time management skills (juggling our schedules along with those of our kids, spouses, aging parents, etc.), commitment and motivation to set us up for academic success, the services offered by Learning Skills Services are simply there to help us hone those skills and give us the best chance at success.

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