Should You Change Your Study Routine?

Having a solid study routine is a great contributor to academic success! The right routine will not only help you effectively manage your time, but also will help you retain more information and improve concentration! However, routines can be too comfortable after a while, and can prevent you from reaching your full potential. Mixing things up has some surprising benefits to your overall productivity!

Becoming too used to your study routine can contribute to an inability to focus. An easy way to combat this is to change something! Consider rearranging your study schedule; if you normally work on your writing courses first, think about tackling your math first next time. Changing the order in which you study certain subjects might help you retain information better.

If you like your schedule and don’t want to change that, maybe you can think about changing up your learning style! For example, if you are a verbal learner, maybe you can try studying in an analytical style.

Even if you like your schedule and your learning style, and you consistently get good grades on your work, you can change your routine just once. If you are having a hard time writing a paper, maybe you can take some time away and go for a walk. Interrupting your routine, even for 30 minutes, to do something different can boost your creativity.

Changing your routine may not be something you want to do, but if you’ve noticed a drop in your grades or a plateau, it might be something to consider! If your routine no longer seems to be effective, you should give it a try! You may be surprised by the results!

How Talking Out Loud Helps You Study

One word that you might associate with studying is “quiet.” If you’re studying somewhere like the campus library or another common area, you—as well as the people around you—are probably not making a lot of noise. You don’t want to be disruptive to the people around you!

But maybe you’ve found that talking out loud is helpful when you’re studying. There’s a reason for that! Talking to yourself might look funny to others, but studies show that it improves your memory and information retention! By actually stating information out loud, it creates what experts call the production effect. Participants read a list of words, half silently and half out loud. When it came time to recite the lists of words later on, they were more likely to remember the words they had said out loud.

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Part of this is because saying something out loud helps to make it distinctive. In addition to having knowledge of seeing information in a book or in your notes, or hearing it in lecture, you also have a memory of yourself producing that information verbally.

Based on this, you might want to consider identifying the most important information in your course materials. Then when you are reviewing it later on, you can recite it out loud. Taking this extra step might help you on the road to academic success!

Meet ACP’s Dual Generational Pathways Program

At Adult Career Pathways, we have various initiatives and programs designed to provide additional assistance to our students. From programs designed to help veterans to those designed to help families, there’s help for every student who wants to make college a reality in their life!

One such program, Dual Generational Pathways, is designed to create a college-going mindset within families, and at partner sites. DGP focuses on lower-income families, and engages two or more generations simultaneously through college awareness, readiness, and success activities. The initiative works with children as young as four years old to seniors preparing for a second career.


Dual Generational Pathways aims to break the generational cycle of poverty through educational pathways that lead to living-wage careers. You can read more about Dual Generational Pathways on the ACP website or on Dual Gen’s blog HERE.

If you know someone who could benefit from Dual Generational Pathways or Adult Career Pathways, be sure to share this post with them! You can also direct them to our Facebook at and

Is Your Organization Interested in Partnering with ACP?

Adult Career Pathways is able to touch lives every day through the work it does with adult students in the Northern Virginia area.The ACP program is designed to serve adult students with demonstrated barriers to college access and success, including veterans, single parents, lower-wage workers, work-eligible immigrants and unemployed and underemployed individuals. ACP creates a pathway for adult students to earn a certificate, degree or other credential that may help them secure a better job with a path toward advancement and greater economic security.

Participants receive ongoing support and guidance through each step of their college experience. The key to ACP’s success is its student-centered model, which builds an ongoing relationship between students and their counselors, faculty members and peers. Best of all, the program is free to participating students!

In order to provide the best care we can for our students, ACP works actively with a number of public and private community partners. Some of our partners offer job or workforce training programs that allow their students to co-enroll at NOVA and receive college credit for their studies. Other partners are community-based organizations that are actively engaged in referring likely students to NOVA and the ACP program.


If your organization is interested in partnering with NOVA’s Adult Career Pathways program, please contact Jolene Virgo by e-mail at Together, we will continue to grow and shape lives every day!

The Science Of Study Breaks

When you’ve been studying for several hours already, you probably should plan on taking a short break soon! Studies show that reviewing too much information at once is not effective for long-term information retention.

Spending some time away from your books and computer can benefit your academic success, but some of the things you do on your break are more effective than others! For example, turning off your computer and taking a walk will not only get your blood moving; it will also work to reduce fatigue and improve your mood.


Studies have also shown that working for 90 minutes at a time with breaks in between increases productivity. When you take your break, it’s important that you find an activity that will prevent you from thinking about the subject. Be careful, though! You don’t want to get so distracted on your break that you stop studying completely.

Do you think you would benefit from taking a break from the books? If you find yourself struggling to focus, or you are tired, maybe you should consider taking a step back for five or ten minutes. At the very least, you can see if it helps you! Taking a break every now and then could contribute to your academic success!

NOVA Shuttle Schedule – Fall 2016

Attention ACP students! Are you looking for transit options to get to and from campus this semester? Consider taking the NOVA Shuttle! The shuttle is FREE for students, faculty, and staff when you show your NOVA ID card. This convenient shuttle makes commuting to and from campus easier than ever. Take a look at the schedule below for ride times and more information:
The following schedule will be in effect starting Fall 2016:
Route A – Annandale Campus / 7630 Little River Turnpike / Dunn Loring Metro
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5 PM
Route B – Alexandria Campus / Ballston Metro
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5:40 PM
  • No longer a stop at Arlington Center
Route C – Alexandria Campus / Braddock Metro
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 7:30 PM
  • Route will not run between 10:15 AM – 12 PM
  • Route will not run between 1 PM – 2 PM
Route D – Annandale Campus / Seven Corners Transit Center / Alexandria Campus
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5:30 PM
  • Route will not run between 12:45 PM – 2 PM
  • Manassas Route has been discontinued (MIP closed)
    • PRTC’s OmniLink Bus offers weekday service between the Manassas Campus and Manassas Mall
    • Route Info: OmniLink Manassas to NOVA
Route E – MEC Campus
Route F – Loudoun Campus / Whiele Metro / Reston Center / Signal Hill
  • In service Monday through Thursday until 5 PM
All NOVA students, staff or faculty can ride FREE by showing their NOVA Card! Shuttle tracking and updates are available real-time through the RideSystems app or online at
You can now Text “NOVA Shuttles” to 1-800-546-6141 to receive emergency alerts about the shuttles via text message.
Questions? Please contact Parking & Transportation Customer Support at 703-323-3123 or

Tips for Time Management

Did you know that managing your time wisely is actually good for your health? It’s true. Stress can have negative effects on your mind and body. We all know how stressful college can be, but there are things we can do to make it easier on ourselves. Time management skills are a great help in reducing stress and can even have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.

When you set aside time every day to study, you form a routine. Ideally, you could make sure to study at the same time every day to form a routine that is cohesive. However, due to an intense semester or a busy life outside of class, that’s not always possible. Sometimes it’s best to designate a specific time to study for each day of the week. Another important step to scheduling study time is by penciling in important dates, tests, and assignments as soon as you find out about them. It’s a smart idea to write down all the important dates for a class in your planner as soon as you get the syllabus. Whether you use a web-based calendar or pencil things in the old fashioned way, you’ll appreciate advance notice of big assignments!


When you make time every day, your mind and body will both get used to it and it will become a habit before too long. After you designate a time to complete schoolwork, be sure to stick to it! Sticking to your schedule might be hard at first, but as the semester goes on you will notice it getting easier and easier. It takes a different amount of time for different people to form a habit, so don’t give up if it takes you a while to feel like you’ve got it.

Keeping up with your to-do list is an important part of mastering time management. You don’t have to do work for the same courses every day, but knowing your priorities can certainly make your study time more productive. As you write your to-do list for the day or the week, make sure to rate the importance and timeliness of each item. This can help you set goals for which task you want to tackle first, and to keep track of when they need to be done.

At the same time, you have to make sure you aren’t overloading yourself. When you manage your time, you also need to assign time for resting. Allow yourself to take short breaks from time to time when you are studying. Some people swear by a routine of studying for 20 minutes and then resting for five minutes. Everyone is different, so try a couple techniques and see what works best for you. You might also find that getting up and walking around or stretching your body for a few minutes can help clear your head when you start to lose focus.

Here’s a big one – don’t let assignments or other schoolwork that could be easily tackled over time overwhelm you later on by putting them off and then trying to rush through them at the last minute! This can cause a lot of mental distress as well as affecting your physical health (as all of us guilty of last minute all-nighters know). By breaking upcoming big tasks into manageable chunks and assigning them to your daily to-do lists, you can save yourself a world of stress later on.

As a student, sometimes it can be hard to focus on your education when you have many other things going on outside the classroom. Managing your time productively not only helps you in class or when studying, but it also allows you to make time for all the other things in life as well.

Where Do You Study For School?

What defines a “good” study space?

Do you have a designated place where you prefer to study? Have you struggled to find a place where you can go and concentrate on your materials? You might be finding that your favorite study spot is only OK and that you could do better.

The library is generally a good place to study. When the weather is nice, many people take their books outside to get in some study time! Others still prefer to study at their kitchen table. Everybody is different, and that extends to their study preferences!


You might find a place with a lot of people—be it a coffee shop or the campus library—is too distracting. If you choose to study at home, you might have a hard time concentrating. For example, you might get distracted by housework that needs to be done. A family member might interrupt your study session by walking into the room and talking to you.

Just because a place is comfortable does not make it a study space. You might, for instance, become too comfortable and fall asleep. You might also fall asleep if your preferred study spot isn’t well-lit enough!

When looking for your ideal study space, you need to find a place that best suits your needs. Make it a part of your routine! When you get into the habit of studying somewhere specific, your mind will associate that place with studying and you will be able to get down to business more easily!

Where is your favorite study space? Let us know in the comments below! You can also share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page by clicking here.