Tips for Remembering

MemoryDo you have trouble remembering people’s names after you meet them? Are you wondering how in the world you are going to remember all of the terms for your upcoming test?

By using some simple techniques you can help improve your memory. Here are some tricks:


  1. Learn to understand the information you must remember.  Understanding the information will allow you to recall the information easily.
  2. Form associations: between the information you must remember and an object, body part, place, or emotion.
  3. Recite or rewrite the information you must remember several times.
  4. If you must remember a large body of information, try to break the information into smaller pieces.  Then work on remembering the information in each category separately.
  5. Mentally organize the information you must remember.  It is easier to remember information that is organized than to remember information that seems to be scattered all over the place.
  6. Try to bring a personal touch to the information you must remember.  Relating the information to something about you will make it easier to remember.
  7. Form a mental image of what you need to remember. Pictures are powerful tools for remembering.
  8. Apply what you need to remember. For example, if you are trying to remember the meanings of new vocabulary words, use the words when you speak or write.
  9. Test yourself.  By creating sample tests for yourself or creating flash card.
  10. Try to make remembering a fun activity by creating games using the information you must remember.

This post was modified from by the NOVA Online Success Coaches. If you have questions or would benefit from additional strategies, reach out to a NOVA Online Success Coach today by calling 703.323.3347 or From test taking strategies to time management, we are here to answer your questions and help you access resources that will empower you to navigate the semester and pave your way to a successful academic journey.

Working through Test Anxiety

Tests have a way of working people up into a serious frenzy. The stakes are much higher around exam time and the pressure becomes almost palpable without the right preparation. There are a number of strategies to help you prepare yourself mentally and physically for an upcoming exam and lower the anxiety around test-taking. Here are some quick tips that may be useful for you in the future:

Change how you view the test. Often our performance is impacted by our perception of the task at hand; if you look at the test as an impending doom, you will respond to it that way. You can conquer anything and you will not be defeated by a little test J. First things first, think of it as an “assignment” (because that’s essentially what it is, it just covers more course material) to take away some of its fear factor.

Create a simulated testing experience for studying. Try to create a studying environment that is as close to the actual testing environment as possible to get used to what taking the exam will really be like on exam day. How can you do this? Try these simple strategies:

If taking the exam in a testing center

Visit the center ahead of time to observe the atmosphere. Is there a lot of people, will you be sitting next to someone, is it cold in the room, etc.? Making note of these things will help you recreate the setting at home when studying.

Try doing practice tests with a timer in front of you to make it easier to perform with a timer when you take the exam. Exams in the testing center are often timed and the timer appears as a countdown on the computer screen during the exam.

If using ProctorU

Do all studying in the spot where you will be taking the test on exam day. This can help your memory because the environment will serve as a cue to help you recall information.

Create practice tests. Look at the textbook publisher’s website to create practice tests. You can also check out Flashcards+ and Quizlet to make flashcards to help you study.

Practice relaxation techniques before and during the exam. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you are to recall the information you’ve studied. On the day of the exam, check out the Omvana app for quick meditation exercises, listen to your favorite song and dance to it to release any physical discomfort (really get into it!), or anything else that calms you. Here is a strategy you can try when taking the “assignment”:

Take relaxation breaks when you hit benchmarks on the exam. For instance, once you have completed three questions/problems/ scenarios, pause, sit up straight with a soft smile on your face, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and slowly rotate your head in complete circles in both directions. Rotate your shoulders to the front in slow circles and again in the opposite direction. Do as many rotations as necessary. Return to the “assignment” when you feel calmer. You can do this exercise after any number of questions you choose and as often as you need.

Do not worry about those around you; do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. If at any time during the test you feel tense, return to the relaxation exercise. Pace yourself and take problems one at a time; do not jump or look ahead. And remember, you always know more than you think you do! You will do great! Namaste.

Written by NOVA Online Success Coach, Jennifer. If you have questions or would benefit from additional strategies, reach out to a NOVA Online Success Coach today by calling 703.323.3347 or From test taking strategies to time management, we are here to answer your questions and help you access resources that will empower you to navigate the semester and pave your way to a successful academic journey.

Trick your Memory into Remembering!

Memory TricksWith mid-term or final exams right around the corner, you may be struggling to remember all of the terms you have learned this term. Or, you may be putting off studying for your exam because you can’t remember all the details.

Perhaps some of these memory tricks from Reader’s Digest will help you remember and prepare for your exams.

1. Pay Attention – When you see or read something you are going to need to remember.

2. Visualize It

3. Create Memorable Associations – Mentally associate a person or thing with another person or thing you know of with a similar name.

4. Make Notes – For example, when you are trying to remember someone’s name, make notes on the back of business card specifying what they looked like.

5. Retracing the Track(s) – Mentally or physically.

6. Turn it Into a Routine – e.g. Every time you think of the term ‘Acute’, mentally associate it with a ‘cute little girl’.

7. Sing It – Create a corny song if you have to.

8. Try Mnemonic Devices – e.g. ROY G BIV

9. Use Your Body – Remember multiple things according to major body parts. Start at your feet and work your way up. For example, if you have to remember 5 types of stones, think: Feet = Flagstone, Legs = Limestone, Torso = Terazzo, Arms = Agglomerate, & Face = Fossilstone.

10. Go Roman – Using rooms of association. Associate rooms in your house to what you need to memorize.

11. Rhyme It

12. Practice your ABCs – If you are drawing a blank, say the alphabet aloud or in your head. When you get to the first letter of the word you are trying to recall, it should dawn on you.

13. Read it, Type it, Say it, Hear it – The more interactive you get with the material, the more you will be able to recall.

14. Color Coordinate – Use hi-liters, colored flash cards, etc. Colors are mind triggers.

15. Make a Mental Map – Imagine an intersection, place a word, fact or number on each street corner.

Post provided by NOVA Online Student Success Coaches. If you have questions or would benefit from additional strategies, reach out to a NOVA Online Success Coach today by calling 703.323.3347 or From test taking strategies to time management, we are here to answer your questions and help you access resources that will empower you to navigate the semester and pave your way to a successful academic journey.

Plan your Fall Schedule!

Thinking about an online class for Fall 2016? Fall Registration is open for all students. The online catalog is available in NOVAConnect now – search the online catalog to see what options you have for online courses.

NOVA Online offers courses that begin on August 22, September 12, 26 or later. Enroll today!

Computer screenReview & Understand your NOVAConnect Account

Plan ahead – Have any holds? Need to update your contact information? Request a final transcript or view your final grades? Run your advising report before working with your advisor? Log into your Student Center account (in NOVAConnect) for more information.

Be cleared of any prerequisites (if needed)

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 another regionally accredited institution, you need to visit the Visiting and Transient Student webpage and follow the instructions on the page.  Any questions? Reach out to a Virtual Advisor at

Get Ready to Start your courses

Each course has a course site in Blackboard. Students are given access to the course specific link on the first day the course is scheduled to begin. Once you have access to your course in Blackboard, make sure to thoroughly review the course syllabus and course calendar (Overview of Assignments) to map out a plan for the course. Summer courses run at an accelerated pace, so make sure you plan ahead and stay on track.

Understand online learning through NOVA Online

Participate in the live NOVA Online Orientation webinar to get off to a strong start. This one hour live online instructor session will focus on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services. The NOVA Online Orientation is highly recommended for students who are new to online learning. Register or Request a Recording Today!

Make sure you know your course start date and critical enrollment dates! Don’t miss your first assignment due date!

If you have questions about making your tuition payment, visit NOVA’s payment information for details. You can also call the NOVA Online Hotline at 703-323-3347 for assistance.

Take the Smarter Measure assessment to see how your personal learning styles will work with online courses.

Establish a Routine! All online courses, regardless of session length, are based on the full 16-week course material, 12 and 8 week courses will move at an accelerated pace.

If you need assistance with your course selection, NOVA Online Counselors can be reached at,

2017 VALHEN Scholarship Program

Applications are open for the 2017 VALHEN Scholarship Programnull

Scholarship awards are for one year and will be paid directly to the recipient’s college or university to cover tuition, books, and/or fees.

Application Deadline:
October 3, 2016

Application available at:
Valhen Scholarship Program

Awards Ceremony
Date:  Friday, March 3, 2017
Event: VALHEN’s 2017 Encuentro
Place: Hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University

For additional information or questions, please contact: or visit

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be of Latino/Hispanic heritage;
  • Live in Virginia;
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale);
  • Be a graduate of a Virginia high school and either have been accepted to, or be already enrolled as a full-time student in, a degree-granting public or private Virginia college or university;
  • Be able to demonstrate leadership through involvement in school and in the community, government, non-profit organization, work/job duties, or in another manner not mentioned here.
  • Important Note: An essay of 300-500 words is required of all applicants.

Finalists will be required to submit:

  • An official transcript
  • Contact information for three references: 1) a teacher; 2) a peer; 3) a non-teacher (but not family member). References will be contacted by VALHEN.
  • An interview may be required.

Winners will be contacted by VALHEN, and will be:

  • Present at the March 2017 Encuentro Luncheon to receive the award. Winners will receive complimentary ticket for parent or guardian.

Winners will be required to sign a waiver allowing VALHEN to post his/her bio and photo on the VALHEN website and to use this information in a Press Release announcing the scholarship winners.

The Virginia Latino Higher Education Network

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Tuition Deadline – Fall 2016

Tuition is currently due by 5pm the following business day after enrollment. NOVA Online’s first fall session started on Monday, August 22 and for many courses, additional sections are offered starting September 12, 26, or later. Check the full list of fall 2016 courses here.

If you registered for fall 2016 courses and haven’t submitted your tuition payment or have your financial aid in place, you must do so by 5pm the following business day to avoid being dropped from your courses!

If you have questions about payment, visit NOVA’s payment information for details. You can also call the NOVA Online Hotline at 703-323-3347 for assistance.

For more information about Financial Aid at NOVA, you can visit the Financial Aid Support Center or review the Financial Aid Video.

Updated: 9/9/2016

First Day – Attendance Reminders

If you are starting an online course today, it is important to keep in mind attendance and participation in your NOVA Online courses are very important. In fact, your attendance and participation are not just important, they are required. It is crucial to ensure you have completed and submitted your first assignment prior to the First Assignment Due Date to avoid being administratively withdrawn from your course.  This has several outcomes of concern including:

  • Reduction in class load and possible change (if less than 12 credits) from full time to part time status (both potentially affecting financial aid).
  • Loss of tuition (yes, an administrative withdrawal will cause you to lose the money paid as tuition for this course).
  • No record of the class or letter grade on your transcript.

As soon as you have access, log into Blackboard and explore your course Blackboard. Locate and review your course syllabus and assignments tab thoroughly. This will give you a chance to see what you will be responsible for throughout the course. In addition, this will also allow you sufficient time to plan your time appropriately, making certain you will be able to complete your readings, assignments, projects and tests in time for their specified due dates. To that end, take a moment to record all of the assignments in your paper or online planner. Once you have recorded all of the assignments, you will need to break them down into daily manageable tasks.

It is crucial to ensure you have completed and submitted your first assignment prior to the First Assignment Due Date to avoid being administratively withdrawn from your course. 

If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, please contact the Success Coaching Team at or by calling 703-764-5076. We are more than happy to answer your questions, as well as refer you to useful resources and services that will support your online learning experience.

Women in Search of Excellence (WISE) Mentoring Program

The Women in Search of Excellence (WISE) Mentoring Program seeks to address the challenges facing women in higher education by fostering healthy relationships and providing support, guidance, and encouragement to help overcome obstacles and achieve personal, professional and academic growth.

wise_001With support from their mentors, WISE students set academic, personal and career goals; learn how to make informed decisions; identify resources and pathways to successfully achieve their goals; cultivate strong relationships with women in business and academia, and develop leadership and self-improvement skills.

WISE is open to any female enrolled at NOVA-Woodbridge who is committed to the mission of the program.

The program objectives are to increase persistence/retention, grade point averages, and self–esteem for female students on campus. The program will officially launch August 31st. For more information email




Conquering Math Stress

For a lot of us, math can be a cause of anxiety! You can easily lose perspective if you don’t stay on top of assignments and exam preparation.

Below are some tips for coping with the math funk – the period of time where you may be growing discouraged by the increasing difficulty that your math course is presenting, when you are beating your head against the wall memorizing theorems and tying it to the larger purpose of getting a good grade, all the while, trying not to drown in the complex terminology and detailed strategies of working the problems.math stress

  • Remember and reinforce the “whys” behind the reasoning for your math courses: Do you need these courses to graduate, for your degree plan, for a prerequisite? If you need them for your degree plan, the bigger picture may transform from I need to get a good grade in this course to I need to be able to apply these skills and generalize them to scenarios in my work environment. If you merely need them as a general education requirement or prerequisite, remind yourself that you need to master this course in order to excel to a more interesting class for which you have prerequisites.
  • Do not fall into the math quicksand – I call this the period of time that you forget much of the information you have learned either for a test or in preparation for future math lessons, the result being that when you approach the next lesson, the cumulative learning that took place beforehand is all but lost. Hence, you may find yourself quickly trying to re-memorize the previous theories all over again in an effort to rapidly catch up to the current one or the fast approaching cumulative exam.
  • Avoid blaming external factors for math not being fun – Let’s face it; math may not be the most “entertaining” and engaging material for some folks. However, rather than blame your lack of interest on the dryness of the material, find unique ways to apply the concepts to your life. Word problems are a great example; the ones that involve calculating percentages, totals and sale prices can go a long way in planning how to budget your next trip to the grocery store! When I think of memorizing something as simple as multiplication tables, it may enhance my memory of future numbers like phone numbers or my driver’s license number, if I left it at home – yikes!
  • Plan accordingly and practice effective time management – Remember to access your calendar or planner daily, weekly and monthly to plan out your assignments and even carve out some time to review notes and prepare for the next assignment or lesson. Even insert time for diversions like studying a different subject or going for a walk when you start to feel yourself burning out.
  • Find the humor in math – Believe it or not, math can be funny sometimes. When you are practicing that problem for what seems like an eternity; then, you get feedback or discover how the correct answer came to be. Substitute the feeling of frustration with one of “that textbook showed me” – and learn to laugh at your mistakes. Any epiphanies that you discover along the way can serve as lighthearted moments – where the “how did they get that answer? – can be humorous in and of itself before your resume the “serious” task of trying to re-work the problem to get to the correct answer.

All in all, don’t give up. When you find yourself losing momentum, take a break or divert your mind to another subject area. One suggestion for combating frustration is to keep a journal close by to jot down the following: what kind of problem it was, why you got it wrong, how did you feel at the time and what strategy are you taking to empower yourself so you bounce back. Then, evaluate how this strategy helped. This might even involve taking a break first and returning to the problem, noting how the brief interlude might have changed your perspective.

Many students view math as overwhelming and scary—but it doesn’t have to be.  Learn how to study more efficiently for mathematics and apply relaxing techniques to reduce your anxieties by participating in the NOVA Online Student Success Coach’s Tackling Your Math Anxiety Recorded Workshop! You can also view on-demand workshops from Student Lingo.

This post has been modified from the squarecircleZ, math blog. For more information on this topic, visit this link. Contact the NOVA Online Success Coach Team at or 703.764.5076 for resources and references to help you have a successful semester.

Happy studying!


The Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship Program

picThe purpose of the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship Program is to increase access to higher education and to develop student leadership potential for graduating high school seniors who will be attending a Virginia Community College for the first time  in Fall 2016.

One ($3,125) scholarship will be awarded for the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters.  The Student Financial Aid Committee will select the recipient in July. The recipient will be notified by August 2016.  The following criteria will be used to award the scholarship:

  1. Commonwealth Legacy Scholars will be students attending Northern Virginia Community College for the first time in Fall 2016.
  2. Selections will be based on merit.
  3. Scholars will demonstrate academic excellence during high school.
  4. Scholars will demonstrate a willingness to promote community college education and the Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship Program.
  5. Scholars will demonstrate a willingness to mentor future scholars.
  6. Scholars will demonstrate a commitment to developing leadership potential.
  7. Students must be full-time, associate’s degree seeking students with plans to graduate from a Northern Virginia Community College.
  8. Scholars must agree to an interview with the selecting committee to be considered.
  9. If selected, recipients agree to participate in the annual Student Leadership program.

 Applicant Materials

  1.  Complete on-line  application.
  2. Official High School Transcript (upload to on-line application).
  3. One letter of recommendation from high school faculty written on official school stationary- (upload to on-line application).