Ways that you can help yourself

General Strategies

  • If you know that you have a learning disability, provide the Office of Student Affairs with recent documentation about your disability that includes a list of recommended accommodations.
  • Learn about Section 504. Be aware of the accommodations and support services Wilmington University offers.
  • Increase your knowledge of the nature of learning disabilities, specifically your own.
  • Make sure that your commitment to university is deep and genuine; it should be a high priority in your life.
  • Take fewer classes each semester and balance easy classes with more difficult ones. Plan for the possibility of more years to finish your degree.
  • If you require classroom accommodations of any kind, schedule an appointment with your instructor early in the semester to discuss your needs.
  • If you need to tape record lectures, ask the instructor for permission before doing so. Explain why you need to tape the lectures and that the tape will enhance your learning.
  • Get your course syllabi and purchase text early, if possible.
  • Avoid back-to-back classes and classes with meeting times which exceed your attention and concentration stamina.
  • Take notes while tape recording. Indicate questions in margins.
  • As soon after class as possible, listen to the tape, rewrite the notes, and highlight main concepts.
  • Get a study partner and compare notes.
  • Apply the following principles of effective learning when you study:
  • Attend all classes. Hearing the lecture may be a critical factor in learning new material.
  • Preview new material and review the previous lecture before each class.
  • Set up a study schedule that changes little from week to week.
  • Study in a quiet, distraction free setting.
  • Sit toward the front of the class so you can hear and see well and be more easily recognized if you have questions or want to participate in the discussion.
  • Review notes as soon after class as possible. Keep a glossary of important terms, list key concepts, major events, contributors and their theories, or formulas.
  • Keep a master calendar. Make sure it is large enough to enter assignments, social events, and appointments.
  • Work backwards from due date on long-range assignments. Build in extra time.
  • Before beginning an assignment, make sure that you understand it fully. Schedule an appointment with your instructor early on to make sure that you are on the right track.
  • Sometimes the hardest part of getting work done and keeping up with a workload is getting started. Make a commitment of 30 minutes and gradually lengthen the study periods.
  • Because some college students with learning disabilities have trouble recognizing and correcting spelling errors, it is important to use a spell checker to identify misspelled words. Because some words will not be identified by a spell checker, have someone else proofread your papers and assist you in error identification and correction.
  • Meet with instructors frequently, even if it is just to say hello.
  • Reach out for assistance early! If you begin to get confused or fall behind, schedule an appointment with your instructor. Do not wait until you are in danger of failing the course.
  • Get help from tutors early. Use the free tutoring services available from the Student Success Center.
  • Deal with writing problems early, as writing demands are heavy.
  • Be aware of Drop-Add deadlines. Use them to your advantage.
  • Plan down-time daily.
  • Become active in student organizations on-campus.
  • Find out about support groups for learning disabilities.

Memory Strategies

  • Review class notes frequently and regularly throughout the semester.
  • To strengthen your visual memory of the material, color code, enlarge, underline, and highlight your notes.
  • Copy your notes over again.
  • Listen to tape recorded lectures throughout the day.
  • Rehearse material to be mastered orally or in writing. Write out notes in full. Read notes silently or aloud. Paraphrase or explain concepts to a friend.
  • Review frequently and commit material to memory using strategies that aid recall such as listing, categorizing, imaging, revisualizing, alphabetizing, devising, acronyms, and associations.

Test Taking Strategies

  • Find out what format your instructor will use for tests. Ask to see if practice tests are available and take as many as possible.
  • If no prior exams or questions are provided, and if essay type exams will be given, try to anticipate the questions that will be asked on the exam. Write out your answers to anticipated questions.
  • Take notes during exam reviews. Make a study sheet or index cards from the notes.
  • Be sure to go into exams well rested.
  • At the beginning of the exam, write down any specific formulas, dates, names or terminology that you have committed to memory, so that you may use the information later in the exam.
  • Read directions very carefully and follow them precisely.
  • Answer the easiest questions first and go back to the difficult questions after you have completed the easy ones.
  • Pace yourself.
  • If you come to a question that you do not understand, paraphrase it for the instructor/ proctor to confirm that you understand it.

Self-Confidence Building Strategies

Building self-confidence is not an easy task. Many people benefit from the assistance of a counselor, psychologist, therapist or support group. You may want to explore such options. In addition, the following strategies may help:

  • After preparing as much as possible for an exam or presentation, tell yourself that you will succeed and are well prepared, rather than that you are going to fail.
  • Identify a realistic goal and work towards it. When you succeed, identify what helped you to succeed. Building self-confidence is a step-by-step process.
  • If you do not achieve your goal on the first attempt, sit down with someone and review your strategies. Identify new strategies that will better prepare you to achieve your final goal.
  • Develop a time line to accomplish each goal. Build in extra time for the unexpected. Take a long-range perspective on your life, rather than focusing on just one semester.
  • Keep a list of your past successes and accomplishments and read it over frequently.
  • Take credit for your achievements. Learn to accept compliments with a "thank you". A compliment is like a gift. When you reject a compliment, you are rejecting not only the compliment, but the person giving it.
  • Identify your strengths and keep expanding the list of what you do well. Identify your talents, develop them and enjoy them.
  • Keep letdowns in perspective. One "D" in a class does not mean that you will fail the class. One "D" in a course does not mean that you will be dismissed from the University.
  • If you do poorly on a paper or an exam, find out why rather than condemning yourself. Chalk it up to experience. Mistakes are often the best teachers. By analyzing what went wrong, you will be better able to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
  • Dress for success. If you are not sure about the appropriate attire for a specific event, check ahead of time with a knowledgeable person.
  • Smile. Smiling makes a person appear more self- confident.
  • Look at those who have expressed confidence in you, provided you with opportunities, and given you responsibilities in the past. These people know you well, have observed your past performances, and have confidence in you. As you accept new challenges, keep these people and their confidence in you clearly in mind.