Study Tools and Strategies

Our learning specialists have developed helpful resources to support your learning. We’ve organized these tools and strategies based on their purpose so that you can select the resources that work for you.

Assess the Demands on Your Time

When you have a lot to do, it’s helpful to assess the demands on your time on various scales.

Manage Your Priorities

While calendars and scheduling tools are helpful, successfully managing your responsibilities requires setting goals and prioritizing tasks.

Clarify the Expectations and Align Your Study Strategies

Work to understand the expectations of each course, create a plan for each assignment and exam, and realign your strategies based on feedback.

Realign Your Strategies After Feedback

Seek Support for More Effective Learning

We encourage students to utilize peer study groups, office hours with faculty and TAs, drop-in and weekly tutoring, and appointments at the Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing. University Life has also identified essential Support Resources for all students and the Grad Center highlights specific Resources and Support for graduate and professional students. We would be happy to discuss these resources with you during a learning consultation.

Stay Up on Strategies

Looking for more strategies? Weingarten Center Posts and our monthly newsletter offer unique and personalized insights into study strategies, organization and productivity, and a variety of tools and resources that can help you meet your goals and find fulfillment in your work.

Cartoon of two students asking questions and using flash cards and one student looking confused with a question mark next to her head.

How to Use Practice Questions

Part Two of our two-part series on Practice Questions covers how to supplement practice questions, how to use practice questions, and where you can find practice questions. How do I supplement practice questions? Look for online resources like video explainers. Always look for specific topics. As you watch these resources, try to

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The word "Questions" on a bulletin board surrounded by sticky notes with questions marks drawn on them

Why Use Practice Questions?

Part One of our two-part series on Practice Questions covers why to use practice questions, when should you start using practice questions, and what is an efficient way of using practice questions. Why use practice questions? Professors tell us that, in STEM courses, practice questions are one of the

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Example of note-taking in Notion

Notion: A Game-Changer for Penn Students

Notion is an all-in-one workspace that allows users to create a personalized digital environment to enhance productivity and organize their academic journey. In this blog post, we will discuss how Penn students can be successful by using Notion. We have even included a sample Notion page! You can duplicate this

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Ayoung Lee, learning specialist, holding two books

Active Reading

One of the most frequently asked questions at the Weingarten Center by undergraduate, doctoral, and professional students alike is: “How do I manage the ungodly amounts of reading I am assigned?” Many of us have internalized the narrative about ourselves as a “slow reader” while others seem to have somehow

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Useful Software

Well-designed software can support many aspects of our study, work, and communication. Below, you’ll find helpful software for working in teams, mapping course content and ideas, note-taking, managing references and citations, and expanding knowledge in STEM subjects.

We also recommend consulting the Penn Libraries Software Search for additional resources and utilizing Penn’s access to LinkedIn Learning for all students, faculty, and staff for hundreds of courses and tutorials.

Learning Management and Engagement

Canvas is the central learning management system at Penn. It’s easy to access via a web browser, but also has a great app.

Zoom is the primary video conferencing software used for synchronous instruction. The Penn Libraries guide is very helpful.

Panopto is a video creation and storage platform that integrates with Canvas. Consult the Penn Libraries guide to become an expert.


Coggle allows users to diagram information to support collaboration, project management, report writing, or just brainstorming.

SimpleMind turns your device into a brainstorming, idea-collection, and thought structuring tool.


OneNote is web-based, collaborative software for gathering notes, drawings, screen clips, and audio. Offers excellent features for organizing and reviewing notes. Check out the immersive reader function for focused review. Available to all Penn students, faculty, and staff through PennO365.

 Notability allows you to create, illustrate, outline, annotate, record, and capture photos. Great functionality with tablets.

Resources for Reference Management and Citation

Before selecting a reference manager, we recommend consulting the Penn Libraries Overview of Citation Management Tools.

Mendeley organizes references, research, and enables collaborative discovery of the latest research. Great integration with Microsoft Word for cite-as-you-write features and bibliography/reference list generation.

RefWorks allows users to create a personal bibliographic citation database using this web-based bibliographic management tool.

Zotero helps you organize online resources, bibliographies, blog posts, PDFs, and other web content in one place.

Resources for Reference Management and Citation

Wolfram Alpha is a free open source tool, allows users to submit mathematical and computation queries through a text field. Wolfram Alpha computes answers to user queries and displays relevant visualizations that make the answers easy to comprehend and apply to other problems of similar nature.

Khan Academy is a free educational resource that offers video tutorials on a wide range of subjects including mathematics, history, physics, general and organic chemistry, micro and macroeconomics. Khan Academy allows users to develop a personalized dashboard to tag favorites and the most commonly used tutorials.

Molecular Workbench is a free open source portal that allows users to launch and customize concepts at atomic and molecular levels in physics, chemistry, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

Scanning Apps for Uploading Problem Solutions and Converting Notes/Documents

Office Lens is a great option for O365 users. The app trims, enhances, and makes pictures of whiteboards and documents readable. Office Lens converts images to PDF, Word, and PowerPoint files, and you can save images to OneNote or OneDrive. This is particularly helpful for students who need to make high-quality scans of handwritten solutions for problem sets.

Adobe Scan allows you to easily capture and convert documents, whiteboards, and handwritten solutions for problem sets into high-quality Adobe PDFs.