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Study Effectively

How to use your course outline

Course outlines are an essential component of any course at the University of Guelph. They not only contain information about the structure of the course and its requirements, but also a number of important clues about what your instructor expects you to learn during the course, and how you will be expected to demonstrate that knowledge.

Suggestions for using your course outlines:

  • At the start of the semester, record your test and assignment dates from all of your course outlines onto one calendar. This will help you see when your busy times of the semester are.
  • Some students also record daily readings from all course outlines in a planner in order to create one place which houses all relevant assignments. However, other students find that this method is time-consuming to keep updated. 
  • Record instructors' and TAs' office hours and locations in your planner so you can easily see when you can visit them.
  • Review the course objectives or learning outcomes on a weekly basis to help you recall the content and see the big picture. The outcomes or objectives can also help you identify main themes for studying when you prepare for exams.
  • Pay attention to whether you are expected to complete course readings before or after lecture. You should complete readings before lecture if you instructor expects discussion during lecture time. If lectures are very content heavy, it can also be helpful to complete readings ahead of time to help you know what to focus on during the lectures.
  • Note the difference between required and recommended textbooks. You are not expected to purchase recommended textbooks and can often borrow them from Course Reserves in the library.

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