Category Archives: Student Success

Studying for Finals? Consider this 4-day study plan!

Final exams and final projects are quickly approaching in your summer term courses! Follow us on the ELIfe Social Media channels for tips for successful finals prep. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The ELI Success Coaching Team is here to help support you and provide study tips. You can contact them at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Studying for an Exam Day 1: Communicate with Your Instructor, Find a Study Partner and Organize

1.    Ask your instructor what type of test it will be. Multiple choice? Essay? That will make a difference in how you prepare.

2.    Ask your instructor for a review sheet/study guide if he/she has not already given you one.

3.    Find a study partner — set up dates to meet to include the night before the test if possible – even via phone/Facebook/Skype.

4.    Print and organize your notes, old quizzes, textbook, assignments and handouts from the units being tested.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions (for example: cell phone, TV, instant messenger, etc.)

2.    Organize handouts, past tests, and other information according to dates. Make note of anything you are missing. (Where’s the vocab quiz from chapter 2?) Pay special attention to the questions that you missed and spend extra time studying those questions.

3.    Rewrite or type your notes. Creating an outline of the information you need to know will help you understand how the material covered in the class is related.

4.    Review the material you have. Go through the review sheet to determine what material will be covered. Read through your quizzes/handouts/notes and study questions from your book’s chapters.

Studying for a Test Day 2: Course Review, Review and Apply the Material to Better Understand 

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Communicate with your instructor to clarify areas you didn’t understand and request any missing items.

3.    Ask if there will be a review before the test and continue to review on your own and review with your Study Partner (if time permits). If there will not be a course review, consider organizing one – you can reserve a study room and meet in a campus or local library.

When Studying:

1.    Create flashcards with a question/term/vocab word on the front of the card, and the answer on the back. Quizlet is a free website/app that will help you design flashcards, practice tests and quizzes. The website/app also has pre-made flash cards (a favorite app by many students).

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes, and review everything on the review sheet that you don’t already know using mnemonic devices like acronyms or singing a song. Also, apply the material to your life in ways that you can remember and understand. When the timer goes off, take a 15 min. break and revisit your review sheet. Study again, setting the timer if it works well for you.

3.    If you are not using the Quizlet App, put your flashcards in your purse, backpack, or car so that you can review them when you are not busy.

Studying for a Test Day 3: Review and Apply the Material, Create Practice Tests

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions

2.    When you have any free time, review your flashcards and ask yourself questions (when you’re waiting for class to start, at lunch, during study hall, etc.)

3.    Confirm a study date for tomorrow night.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes again. Go back through your flashcards and review sheet, learning/applying material (especially reviewing areas that are causing you some struggles). Take a 5-minute break. If necessary, set a timer for 45 minutes again and continue if you’re still unsure of any material!

3.    Create a few “practice tests” for yourself and your study partner (you can create your own, use study guides or visit your textbook website for practice tests).  A practice test should include questions about key terminology, facts, and concepts that are likely to be on the test.

4.    Be sure to have your flashcards (Quizlet App) ready for review again tomorrow.

Studying for a Test Day 4: Review, Study/Quiz Self, Confirm Meeting Time with Study Partner

1.    Throughout the day, pull your flashcards out and review.

2.    Confirm your study date with a friend or classmate.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Again, review your flashcards paying special attention to the remaining material that was giving you some struggles.

3.    Quiz. With your study partner, take turns asking possible exam questions to each other. You will learn the material better by alternating asking the questions. Stop once you’ve been through the questions a few times and get a good night’s sleep.

Be sure to check out free online workshops by Student Lingo. If you need additional review, you can use ELI’s free online tutoring service through Smarthinking. If you are using a campus testing center, double check testing center hours and if possible, do not wait until the last day – emergencies can come up and in many classes, you will not be able to take the test late.

If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact the ELI Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Student Lingo Workshop: Testing Anxiety

Does your heart start pounding when a test is placed in front of you? Do you know the material but your mind goes blank? These are just a few of the common challenges students face when taking a test.

As your final exams are quickly approaching, we strongly encourage checking out the Student Lingo recorded workshop entitled, Taking Tests Online: Strategies For Successtest anxiety

How often do you feel like you know the material like the back of your hand, but when you get into the testing situation, you freeze? This workshop discusses various strategies for test preparation and coping skills for situations that provoke test anxiety. The presenter does a great job describing scenarios in a testing situation that can easily lead to test anxiety in addition to our internal messages and how best to control them. She also discusses external circumstances that contribute to test anxiety and how to keep them at bay before you enter the testing situation.

The presentation also contains strategies for taking different types of tests ranging from multiple choice to true/false to essay formats. The presenter’s emphatic style and her understanding of issues related to test anxiety keeps you engaged and hopefully, when you take your exam, you will feel more confident and at peace after viewing this presentation!

We also encourage you to look back at a previous ELI Student Blog post to help you prepare for your exams.

As you prepare for your exams, make sure you know your testing location and policies. Whether you are going to a NOVA campus testing center, using a local testing center, or using ProctorU, make sure you have all the updated information including testing center hours.

If you need assistance locating helpful study resources, contact the ELI Student Success Coach at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or  703.764.5076.

Ten Quick Steps to Email Your Instructor

Need to email your instructor and not sure where to start? These ten easy to follow steps will help you get that email written and the send button hit in no time!4805341351. Use your NOVA student email account to send your email. All correspondence relating to your courses should come from and go to your NOVA email address. Email messages originating from other email addresses may go directly to your instructors SPAM folder and go unnoticed.

2. Make your subject line meaningful. Your instructor likely teaches multiple courses and may even teach on other campuses. Include the course and section number along with a quick description of why you are writing your instructor.
An example might look like this:
Subject: PSY 200-E05W, Question about grade calculations

3. Briefly and politely state the reason you are writing. Be sure to include all of the relevant information pertaining to your question and leave out anything that does not relate directly to the situation.

4. If you are writing your instructor because you have a problem, include a proposed solution in your email. The instructor may or may not agree with your suggestion. Regardless, it does demonstrate to your instructor you are taking the initiative to actively work towards resolving the situation.

5. Sign your email with your complete first and last name along with your student ID number.

6. Read through your email to check for spelling and punctuation errors. Make sure all of your sentences are complete and do not contain any abbreviations or other modified text that is used in text messaging.

7. If your email is lengthy, have a second set of eyes proofread your email for clarity. This will be an opportunity to make sure you have clearly articulated what it is you wanted to say.

8. Send your email.

9. Allow adequate time for a response from your instructor. Many ELI instructors also teach campus based courses so they are not always sitting at their computer in their office. Often you will find information in the syllabus relating to how soon you should expect a response from your instructor.

10. Once you have received a response from your instructor, acknowledge it. A simple “Thank you” may be all that is needed. If your instructor asks you questions in their response to your email, be sure to answer all of them thoroughly.

This post was adapted from www.wikihow.com/Email-a-professor by the ELI Success Coaches to help you develop skills to effectively communicate through email to your instructor for the February focus on communication. ELI Success Coaches can be reached at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.764.5076.

Written by Laura, ELI Success Coach

Where are my grades?

You should be reviewing your grades on a regular basis in the My Grades area of Blackboard. Each Blackboard course site has Blackboard Tutorials available to help you navigate blackboard. This tutorial will help you monitor your grades in your Blackboard course site. For more – follow this link!

You can see grades for all of your courses or one course at a time.

To view grades for all of your courses, select the arrow next to your name in the upper-right corner. In the menu, select “My Grades”. You can sort your grades by All Courses or Last Graded. If your work hasn’t been graded, grade status icons appear. Select an item’s title to view details.

To view the grades for the course you’re in, select the “My Grades” link on the course menu or on the Tools page.

Your instructor controls which links appear on the course menu, so if you don’t see if there, click on “Tools” and locate My Grades.

Make sure you are monitoring your grades and your instructors feedback. This is very important to your success in the course.

Once your course ends, check your final grades in your Student Information System (SIS). Your grades will be posted in the “other academics” drop down in your student center.

Tutorial provided by Blackboard Help. Use these tutorials to help you navigate your Blackboard course site. Contact ELI’s IT Helpdesk (24/7) with any questions – 703.764.5051. ELI’s Student Success coaches are available to help you navigate Blackboard. Reach out to them at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

Wrap up from the advising week blog series!

That’s a wrap for our Advising Week blog series, but that doesn’t mean it’s over! Still have questions about summer or fall registration? Let us know!

Take some time to reflect on what you have learned this week. Go back and review past posts to dig a little deeper. Missed any of the live sessions? Request a recording.

Here are a few tips to help you move forward:

coffee break

Use the Student Success Planner to build your academic plan and compare your plan to program requirements.

Take a moment to facilitate a time study. Summer sessions will run at an accelarated pace, so make sure you are planning your schedule around the shorter session length availability. For fall, you have different options for session length (16, 12, or 8 weeks). Make sure you have enough time to devote to the courses you take on. What has worked in the past? What hasn’t worked? Check out StudentLingo and ELI webinars on time management.

Review your Advisement Report. Access NOVAConnect to run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.

Take a moment to reflect upon your career planning. If you need more information about career options or would like to learn about a resource to help you build a career plan. Go back and review past blog posts to help you Focus on Career Planning, and take advantage of Free Job Search Tools!

Communicate with your advisor about your academic and career goals. Be sure to take a moment to review your plans for both the summer term (registration is occurring now) and the fall semester. Plan to have your academic plan,  advisement report, and/or career plan handy when communicating with your advisor.

If you have not declared a program of study or are not pursuing a specific program at NOVA connect with an academic counselor or advisor for assistance.

Ready to enroll? Follow this tutorial to help you add your courses in NOVA Connect.

Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

Where does the time go?

Do you know where your time goes? It seems that the older you get, the more responsibilities are put on you. Take this brief quiz via Virginia Tech’s website to determine just how much time you have to dedicate to your studies.

If the time left over is not equivalent to at least twice the number of credits you are enrolled in, you do not have enough time allotted for your studies. But, there are things you can do; such as reducing the time spent on some activities/responsibilities, adjusting your work hours, or adjusting the number of credits you take in a semester.stepbros

When one can’t reduce their time on activities or responsibilities or work; that leaves the number of credits one should take in a semester. Many students I talk with want to be able to do it all – work full-time, go to college full-time, take care of their family, etc.

Course load is often the only factor that can be manipulated; but students do not want to delay their educational goals. This is certainly admirable; but, if one does not have enough time to complete their course work accurately and on-time, and study effectively for exams; one’s grades will suffer and it can take longer to reach your goals. Take a look at the weekly study time chart to plan out your schedule.

I encourage you to take the quiz to see where your time goes and ask yourself: confused man holding question markDo you have enough time in the week to dedicate to your studies?

Are you using the time efficiently?

Do you find you do not have enough time?

What can you reduce or eliminate from your schedule to make more time?

Watch the Time Management: Strategies for Success video by StudentLingo to obtain some great tips on managing your time effectively!

-Written by ELI Counselor, Kim Burkle

Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

It’s Advising Week

Advising Week is offered every fall and spring at NOVA as a time for students to reflect upon their academic goals and career development in preparation for planning and evaluating their schedule for next semester. Advising week for Summer and Fall 2017 will be held this week – April 3 – 7.

Get the most out of Advising Week by following the steps below:

  1. Attend the Advising Week Webinar Series: Getting Ready for Your Next Semester webinar will be held on Wednesday, April 5 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm. Learn more about the webinar and register for the session.
  2. Use the Student Success Planner to build your academic plan and compare your plan to program requirements.
  3. Review your Advisement Report.  Access NOVAConnect to run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.
  4. Take a moment to reflect upon your career planning. If you need more information about career options or would like to learn about a resource to help you build a career plan consider attending part two of our Advising Week Webinar Series: Focus on Your Career Planning webinar on Thursday, April 6 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm. Learn more about the webinar and register for the session.
  5. Communicate with your advisor about your academic and career goals.  Be sure to take a moment to review your plans for the spring semester. Plan to have your academic plan,  advisement report, and/or career plan handy when communicating with your advisor.

If you have not declared a program of study or are not pursuing a specific program at NOVA connect with an academic counselor or advisor for assistance. Open registration for the summer 2017 term began on Tuesday, March 28.  Priority registration for continuing NOVA students for the fall 2017 semester begins on Monday, April 3.

This Advising Week Series will focus on academic planning, connecting with your advisor, and preparing for your upcoming terms. Throughout Advising Week the ELI Student Blog will provide you with tools to plan effectively, resources to help guide your decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions throughout the process. Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

Get ready for advising week

Advising week is almost here! To make the most of the interaction with your advisor there are a few things you can do to prepare. Are you ready

Participate in the Advising Week Webinar Series: Getting Ready for Your Next Semester webinar will be held on Wednesday, April 5 from 12:15 – 1:00 pm. Focus on Your Career Planning webinar will be held on Thursday, April 6 from 12:15 – 1:00pm. Learn more about the webinars and register for the series

Verify your program of Study:  First it is important to verify your student record reflects the program of study you intend on completing here at NOVA. Visit the Academics section of your Student Center in the Student Information System to verify your plan. If your plan needs to be updated make contact with an academic counselor or advisor to determine which plan is the best for you based on your goals.

Run an Advisement Report: Once your program of study is accurate there are several tools you can take advantage of to see your progress towards your plan’s requirements and the courses you have left to complete. You can run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.

Review program requirements: Now that you’ve run your advisement report, review the report to see how the coursework you have completed has been applied towards your degree requirements and what you have left to complete.

Plan your semester: You can use the Student Success Planner to create a plan, allowing you to map out when you will complete your remaining courses. As you plan out these courses semester by semester, strive for balance in your course schedule. Use these tips to help you strategize. Don’t delay in taking courses that are challenging for you, especially math.

Request to meet with your Advisor: Once you have our courses mapped out in the Student Success Planner you can even send a meeting request to discuss your plan to your advisor.

This Advising Week Series will focus on academic planning, connecting with your advisor, and preparing for your upcoming terms. Throughout Advising Week the ELI Student Blog will provide you with tools to plan effectively, resources to help guide your decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions throughout the process. Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

Are You Ready for Advising Week?

Advising Week is almost here!

Advising Week is held every fall and spring at NOVA to help students prepare for their next semester and create an academic plan that works for them! Advising Week for summer / fall 2017 will be held Monday, April 3 – Friday, April 7.  College Student Having Meeting With Tutor To Discuss Work

Follow this ELI Student Blog next week as we help you prepare to get the most out of Advising Week.

Things to watch for to help you prepare for Advising Week:

  • Creating a schedule that works for you.
  • Connecting with your advisor.
  • Communicating effectively with your advisor.
  • Taking time for yourself.

Questions to ask yourself as you prepare for Advising Week:

  • What is one change I can make to my schedule to be more successful next term/semester?
  • When would be a good time for me to connect with my advisor?
  • What questions do I have for my advisor?
  • What is one thing I can do this week to help manage stress?

Pay attention to the tuition deadline so you are not dropped for non-payment. Contact Financial Aid with any questions.

This Advising Week Series will focus on academic planning, connecting with your advisor, and preparing for your upcoming terms. Throughout Advising Week the ELI Student Blog will provide you with tools to plan effectively, resources to help guide your decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions throughout the process. Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

Summer Registration opens today!

Open registration for summer courses begins today, March 28, 2017!

To review a list of available couses, please click here (Select ELI under Campus/Center).

If you need assistance, we are here for you:

Do you need help registering for the course?  For step-by-step online registration instructions, please click here.  If you need additional assistance, please contact us at 703.323.3347 or ELISuccess@nvcc.edu.

Do you need help with course selection? If you have not been assigned a faculty advisor you can contact an ELI Counselor at elicounselors@nvcc.edu for assistance with course selection. If you would like to schedule a phone call with an academic counselor, please include your contact information. Use your VCCS student email and include your student ID# when emailing.

Are you a visiting/transient student? If you are attempting to enroll in a course at NOVA for which you believe you have successfully completed (a grade of “C“ or higher) the required prerequisite(s) at an accredited college or university, you will need to work with an advisor before being permitted to enroll in courses at NOVA. More information at the Visiting and Transient Student webpage or reach out to a Virtual Advisor at AcademicAdvising@nvcc.edu.

Are you new to ELI?  We encourage you to attend an ELI Orientation webinar! The ELI Orientation will focus on answering key questions to getting started. For more information and to register for a session, click here.

Do you have questions about Tuition and Payment? For payment due dates, methods, and online payment instructions, please click here. Make sure to have your tuition paid or financial aid in place before the deadline, so you are not dropped from your courses.

If you are looking for additional resources to help you achieve academic success, the ELI Student Services Team is here for you! You can access free online tutoringwebinars, and free online workshops to help you succeed in your ELI courses.

We also encourage you to take the SmarterMeasure assessment to gauge your readiness for online learning.

You can reach us at 703.323.3347 or visit us at http://eli.nvcc.edu/