Scheer Class

J&B: I’m nervous! How can I get a good start in grad school?

Dear J & B,

I’m not performing as well as I would like. I don’t attend lectures. I do spend 3 hours per hour of lecture watching media site. I’m a visual learner so I color code my notes. I then try to draw all the mechanisms. I’m studying all of the time, yet I never have time to do more than 1 pass through the material.

— Overwhelmed and Underperforming.

To see our answer … 

Attending class may be a more efficient use of your time, but to make the most out of lectures you need to preview the material beforehand.  Spend about 15 minutes per lecture just going over the slides. What are the topics?  What is the vocabulary that I am unfamiliar with? What are the objectives? Research has demonstrated that students who go into lectures with questions already formulated are better able to focus on the material.  Evaluate what you know and what you don’t know. Study what you don’t know.

Dear J & B,

I am panicked that I will fail. Some nights I don’t even sleep. Instead I spend all night making sure I understand every single detail. I read and re-read everything; however, my grades don’t reflect the time I have put into studying.

— Somatic Insomniac

In order to remember material you have to be rested. Everyone needs sleep, but some more than others. It sounds like you are worrying so much that it is impeding learning, and interfering with your sleep. If you are fatigued when you take your exams you may be doing better on your first set of exams or the first half of the test, but fatigue may set it and you will not be able to sustain the attention and stamina to succeed.

J&B are Touro California Director of Academic Support Dr. Jill Alban, Ed.D. and Learning Specialist Brigit Perez


To submit a question related to student success, write it in a comment on this page, or email us directly.

Jill Alban is the Director of Academic Support at Touro University California. She earned her Doctorate in Education and has been an educator for more than 30 years. She enjoys the challenge of helping students develop study strategies and improve their grades. On the weekend you can find her romping with her husband and Rose, her labradoodle, in Tilden Park or swimming laps at the Berkeley City Club. She is training to swim the Bosporus. Her dream is to swim from Europe to Asia. She can be reached at

Brigit Perez is the Learning Specialist at Touro University California. She earned her MAEd at Touro University and has had a passion for education since she learned how to speak English in Kindergarten. She believes that anyone who sets their heart and mind on a goal can succeed.  She is excited to work with Touro students and help them achieve their full potential and realize their dreams. On the weekends you can try and find Brigit with her husband and two daughters living life to the fullest while at family events, SF Giants baseball games, the beach or at Disneyland. She can be reached at


We here at Academic Support are happy to meet with you regarding study skills and strategies and appreciate your proactive approach. Please feel free to either swing by690 Walnut Avenue #200A and/or make an appointment. As noted on our campus website, here are some of the services we provide:

We look forward to meeting you!

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