How to Prepare for Your SI Session

How to Succeed with SI

Our SIs work with your faculty members to increase your chances of academic support. SIs help you retain and break down content covered in your classes and in your text books, but YOU are ultimately responsible for your knowledge and success! SI is NOT for remedial purposes—it’s for everyone in the class.

In order to get the most out of weekly SI sessions and cut down on study time outside of class and SI sessions, students are encouraged to complete the following steps before, during, and after an SI session.

Being prepared for your SI sessions can lead to:

  • Better academic grades (higher grades!)
  • Less study time outside of class and SI sessions
  • Better understanding of content and material

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Before Your SI Session

  1. Engage with the materials from your class. This includes:
  • Reading the chapter your professor outlines in the syllabus
  • watching/attending your lecture
  • Reading Powerpoints, handouts, and articles your professor posts on Canvas
  1. Take notes during lecture and have PowerPoint slides accessible to follow along.
  1. Take notes while you read and engage with the reading materials.
  • Taking good notes while reading can also help you cut down on study time before exams and will help you keep your ideas and information organized
  • Effective note-taking while reading looks like:
    • Skimming the chapter and reading titles, section headers, introduction, and conclusion
    • Reading short secions at a time and writing things down by memory
    • Writing directly on th text (underlining, circling, highlighting, writing in the margins with symbols, abbreviations, summaries, and questions)
  1. Complete homework or try 3-5 problems.
  • This will help you pinpoint where you are having trouble with the concepts in your class.
  • You will go from "I don't understand anything" to "I got stuck on this step and on this concept here."
  1. Come to SI prepared with at least 1-2 questions.

During Your SI Session

  1. Take helpful notes and engage in the session.
  • Don't write down every word your SI says. Instead, write down key steps, words, and concepts.
  • Complete the activities that the SI presents in class (mind-maps, outlines, etc.)
  • Learning how to take better study notes in class:
    • helps improve information retention and understanding because it ensures you are actively listening
    • requires you to think about what you are writing
    • helps you make connections between topics
    • serves as a quality review material after class.
  1. Engage in the session and attend as many sessions as possible.
  • Speak up and participate in the activities.
  • Take responsibility for your learning.
  • Be respectful of your SI and others (don't interrupt, turn your camera on, use the chat).
  • Minimize external distractions (no phones, no TVs, no work, etc.)

After Your SI Session

  1. Review the materials and your notes from the SI sessions.
  2. Review your notes and reading materials from class.
  3. Rewrite your notes from class, reading, and SI and try to draw connections and simplify the concepts. Outline, highlight, circle key concepts that are difficult for you.
  4. Use the activity examples from the SI sessions to review the materials from class.
  5. Finish the homework you did not complete before you attended the SI session.
  6. Continue attending lectures and use your professor's office hours to ask specific questions.

Additional Resources

If you still have questions or you are having trouble with materials:

  1. Contact your professor and attend their office hours
  2. Make an online appointment with a Learning Commons tutor (you SI is a tutor, as well!)
  3. Use Smarthinking (free online tutoring available 24/7)
  4. Keep going to SI!