Study Spots: Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics (PCPSE)

The south view of the contemporary expansion of the Ronald O. Perelman Center. (Photo: copyright Adrien Williams, courtesy of KPMB) https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/new-perelman-center-looks-future-while-preserving-past

If you are a lover of historic art deco architecture and are in the hunt for a new study spot, look no further than across from the Penn Bookstore at 36th and Walnut. Inaugurated in 2018, the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics (PCPSE) is the latest addition to the School of Arts & Sciences, which rehabilitated and significantly expanded the circa-1925 West Philadelphia Title and Trust Company building at 133 S. 36th. Enter on 36th street through the set of glass doors in the new addition across from Cosi Cafe:

Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics https://www.facilities.upenn.edu/maps/locations/perelman-center-political-science-and-economics

The main lobby is airy, and if you enjoy studying under natural light, it should be the perfect locale for you, especially when the days are long and it’s sunny outside. Upon entering, you will find student lounges, with various types of seating, on either side of the escalators:

If you’re looking to do group work in art deco-meets-futuristic style, your team will feel energized and motivated to collaborate utilizing one of their six group study rooms, which can be reserved online:

“One of the most important roles of a great university is to encourage open dialogue, the free exchange of ideas, and civil and robust expression of divergent views, on our campus and all around the world,” Gutmann added. “This building will be a place to do just that.”

https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/new-perelman-center-looks-future-while-preserving-past

So give the new PCPSE a try and let us know how you enjoy it! And don’t forget to step outside and cross-over to the conveniently located and newly revamped Penn Bookstore Cafe to refresh and replenish in between your study sessions!

By Staff Writer: Min Derry, Learning Fellow

Study Spots: Penn Law School

jpalumbo@law.upenn.edu

If you are looking for some variation to your usual study spots at Penn, consider Penn Law School. The study and collaboration facilities at the Penn Law School offers choice, versatility, support, nourishment and ecological access. It is located at 3501 Sansom StreetPhiladelphiaPA 19104. While you can typically gain access to the Law School with a Penn ID, please check for any changes to access for non-Penn Law School students during special Law School schedules, including final exam times, etc.

The Law School is comprised of four interconnected buildings surrounding a central courtyard (Map of Law School Complex): Silverman Hall, Gittis Hall, Tanenbaum Hall, and Golkin Hall, with Silverman being the most traditional, and Golkin the most modern. You can take a  Online Self-Guided Tour of the Law School Complex.

First, let’s pause to admire the beauty of the combined architecture styles, where the original, old and traditional co-exist fluidly with the new, contemporary and modern:

Now let’s hunt for your desired type of study space based on your preferences or mood for the day:

Biddle Law Library

This library is great if you prefer absolute silence.

Outdoors

Rooftop Terraces

Lounge Spaces

Gathering Spaces

There are enclosed rooms too. First check protocols for reservations, if applicable.

Relax and Nourish

And there is much, much more! If you’re looking for a change of scenery, and would appreciate an array of choices, versatility, nourishment and/or outdoors spaces – all in one complex – we hope you will explore the Penn Law School as a possible study spot for you!

Staff Writer: Min Derry, Learning Fellow, Weingarten Learning Resources Center.

 

 

 

Study Strategies: Dos and Don’ts for Reading Days

How many times have you said, “I’ll get this done during Reading Days?” I know I have said it at least ten times this semester. This semester’s reading days are Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27. Reading days (and the weekend before finals) are a great time to get prepared for your final exams and papers, but those two days go by very quickly. In this post, I’ll share some dos and don’ts for Reading Days success.

DO create an action plan. As soon as you can, look at all of your syllabi to get a better understanding of what exactly you have to do for your final assessment for each class. Do you have a final paper? How long is it? What kind of outside research does this paper require? Do you have to do a presentation about your paper in class? Do you have a final exam? Is it cumulative? Is there a study guide? Create fake deadlines for yourself before the actual deadline by bringing your paper or study plan to the Weingarten Center or by taking your paper to the Marks Family Writing Center. Making an appointment will create an accountability measure for yourself.

DON’T start the day before. The worst time to start looking at exam material is a few hours before you take the test. If you create a plan and familiarize yourself with your professor’s expectations for the final, then you will know how much time you must devote to studying for that particular exam. Similarly, starting your paper the day before the deadline won’t yield the best result. You may need to get books from the library or interview someone to complete your assignment, so advanced planning is critical when completing these papers.

Do prioritize. The end of the year comes with lots of fun activities that may get in the way of your exam and paper preparation. You are encouraged to balance work and fun, and the best way to do this is by putting all of your activities, fun or not, onto a calendar. We have April-May calendars in the Weingarten Center that are perfect for this activity. Once you see when everything will be taking place, you can make some choices. Perhaps choose one fun activity to do during the weekend before finals, and sandwich it between study/work sessions for your exams and papers.

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Don’t try to cram. Depending on how much time you have to study before your exam, you will have to make some choices about what you study. If you are short on time, focus on reinforcing the material that you know well and reviewing the topics that you can easily learn, rather than getting held up on the most complicated parts of your coursework. This strategy is the best way to get through as much as possible in a short amount of time.

For more tips on making the most of your Reading Days, visit us at the Weingarten Center! We’ll be holding two “Study Hacks for Reading Days” workshops on 4/23 and 4/24. Additionally, we are open for 50-minute appointments or shorter walk-ins if you would like to consult with a learning instructor individually.

Best of luck on your final exams and papers!

By Staff Writer: Cassie Lo, Learning Instructor and Research Fellow

Student Voices: Creating Positive Environments

College is advertised as a place where students can learn, grow, and interact with their peers. The college setting is known for bolstering interpersonal relationships in virtually every setting, including college dorms, dining halls, and even group study rooms in open spaces.

Before coming to college, both of us had imagined a college experience that would challenge us to explore the unknown, meet unfamiliar faces, and succeed academically. This image of the perfect college experience soon became dependent on the people in our immediate surroundings. From the friends with whom we became acquainted, to the professors with whom we interacted, these key relationships provided a strong and positive foundation for our now flourishing college careers.

Interpersonal relationships are an important part of students’ academic success. We have found that surrounding ourselves with the right people, inside and outside of the classroom, is an essential component of achieving academic success.

From Chieme:

Chiemela Ohanele

At Penn it is easy to be consumed by the daily pressures brought on by academics or extracurriculars. However, Rani and I have found that the constant positive reinforcement of a persistent friend or a model mentor can make these daily difficulties easier to withstand. Whenever I am concerned about a class or overwhelmed with responsibilities, I can turn to Rani to encourage me to get the job done and to put my best foot forward even if I am burnt out and ready to give up. Through my friendship with Rani, I have learned how essential it is to have these constant cheerleaders in my life. Not only have these motivators given me the courage to persist through adversity, but they have also given me the confidence to know that I am capable of achieving the goals that I have set out to accomplish.

From Rani:

Richardson_Rani_HeadshotApril2017

Our relationships outside the classroom are critical for thriving academically, but the attitude we have toward our coursework plays a role as well. Contrary to what we had expected, sometimes, campus culture can also include negativity about schoolwork. It is normal to hear people around you discussing how pointless the class is and refusing to do the homework. During exam week we hear people saying how they are going to fail the exam, and it affects not only their focus and productivity, but it affects others as well. It can be very difficult to do well in a class if one internalizes this type of mindset.

Chieme and I have adopted an attitude of positivity. When we have classes together, we sit near each other and our comments on the coursework classroom material are usually positive and hopeful, if there are any at all. In classes where I don’t have friends like Chieme to foster a positive attitude, I try to sit with quiet people or those who also have a similar outlook on the material. Surrounding oneself with positivity seems to supply the courage and energy necessary to attack the material in a more productive way.

* * *

Overall, we have enjoyed our college experiences. Our friendship, work ethic and positive outlook have gotten us far along our respective paths.

  • So, try to find people who push you towards the goals you have set for yourself.
  • Try to find those constant motivators who will encourage you to think beyond the campus culture and to embrace positivity.
  • Look for ways to create constructive friendships and in-class interactions that will promote academic success.

Contributed by PENN Students: Chiemela Ohanele and Rani Richardson

Study Strategies: What does this problem want me to do?

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Solving problems in STEM courses often requires identifying the correct procedure for solving a problem. If, under the time pressure and stress of an exam, you jump right at a problem, you may choose the wrong procedure to solve it.

To train yourself to look before you leap, when working on problem sets, ask and answer the questions, “What does this problem want me to do? How will I give it what it wants?” for each problem.

Rashmi Kumar, Ed. D., STEM Specialist at the Weingarten Center, consistently teaches her undergraduate and medical students to ask these questions before they jump at the problem, so they are more likely to pair it with the right procedure:

What does this problem want me to do?

Define the goal of the problem

It might make the work a little more fun, and you will be faster and better at problem-procedure pairing on the midterm:

How will I give the problem what it wants?”

Identify the procedure that should be paired with the problem

Imagine…

Susana is about to solve a STEM problem. She asks herself,

What does this problem want me to do?

She answers,

Hmm, it wants me to calculate the torque at a perpendicular force.

Then she asks,

How will I give it what it wants?

And answers,

First I have to convert the units into the expected format. Next, I’ll need to identify the right equation. Then I’ll be ready solve the equation.

Simple and easy, right?

Practice it until it is an automatic habit and you will do it under pressure.

And for added fun, try saying “problem-procedure pairing” ten times fast!

By Staff Writer: Nicholas Santascoy, Learning Instructor

Study Strategies: Making It Stick!

What has Research about the Science of Successful Learning taught us about Making It Stick?

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Brown, Roediger & McDaniel (2014) identified 6 Research-based Principles and Strategies for committing information to long-term memory and increasing the probability of retrieving it as applicable knowledge:

➔  (1) Rereading text and massed practice are ineffective.

➔  (2) Instead, active retrieval interrupts forgetting.
➔  (3) Create a mental model for new knowledge that connects to larger context and prior knowledge:

A conceptual approach to active information processing and retrieval helps interrupt forgetting and deepen your understanding. Conceptual Mapping helps you:

  1. Synthesize the big picture,
  2. Do a deep dive where you need to be more granular,
  3. Establish simple-complex relationships and hierarchies,
  4. Identify gaps, and
  5. Try a variety of Conceptual Mapping tools:
Concept Map Anywhere!

All you need is any blank “canvas”: scrap paper, notebook, white board, etc.

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Concept Map Online: Search for a Variety of Free and Subscription Software Apps

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Try this Free Online Concept Mapping Tool by Google: Coggle

download

(Click icon above to watch introductory video)
➔  (4) Space out practice and interleave subjects

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There is a minimum of 3 levels of time management for the semester:

  1. Semester: Major Deadlines
  2. Week: Logistical
  3. Daily: Individual Tasks
Think strategically before, during and after coursework

Include:

  1. Office Hours: Professor and Teaching Assistant
  2. Sleep
  3. Meals and Snacks
  4. Breaks
  5. Self-Care Activities (e.g. exercise, therapy/counseling, health care, etc.)
  6. Extra-curricular, volunteer and social activities
➔  (5) Extract underlying principles that differentiate problem types to prepare for unfamiliar problems/situations

As you prepare weekly problem sets for class, recitation or online submission, OR before you compare your sample prior exam answers, step back and take time to:

  • Evaluate and differentiate types of problem by concept categories: 1) Conceptual Problems or 2) Algorithmic Problems.
  • Try problems before being taught solution
  • Allot an equivalent/appropriate amount of time by rigor/complexity level.
  • Pin point conditional problem scenario terms, such as: ALL, NOT, EXCEPT, BUT, AND, IN ALL CASES, etc.
  • Review ETS’ GRE Problem-Solving Strategies 
  • Review our prior Blog on 6-Hours Per Week for Solving Problem Sets

Make It Stick

By Staff Writer: Min Derry, Learning Fellow & Instructor

Study Spots: Institute of Contemporary Art

secret-1142327_960_720 In need of a new study spot? 
Bored of the same old?

Search no more! 
Presenting…

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If you are a sensory-modal, visual learner, and/or share a love for the arts,  you will love our newest Super Secret Study spot: UPENN-ICA

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Location: 118 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Phone: (215) 898-7108

Museum Hours: 

Elixir Coffee Bar: 

Admission: FREE for ALL

ELIXIR COFFEE BAR

As soon as you walk into the ICA-UPENN, you will notice the essential Elixir Coffee Bar to your left:

THE MEZZANINE

Grab your favorite caffeine fuel or otherwise, gourmet pastry, and head up the stairs to your left alongside the mega glass walls to the museum’s mezzanine:

 

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Your long-awaited soft-landing will be a brightly-lit mezzanine area flooded in natural light from two adjacent walls:

Depending on the configuration of the space, you may find different types of table set-ups, but typically, you will have the option of at least 3 small tables with chairs on all sides, enough to support 1 person to a group of 3-4 people:

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TUTTLEMAN TERRACE

When the weather is nice outside, you can head out to the Tuttleman Terrace, and enjoy the elements:

Studying + Sunbathing = Bliss!

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So next time you find yourself needing a little pick-me-up, try a change of scenery…

Notes:

  • Galleries are currently closed for installation, but the Elixir Coffee Bar and Mezzanine remain open regular hours.
  • Winter Opening Celebration: February 2, 2018.
  • Winter Exhibit:
Cary Leibowitz: Museum Show
FEBRUARY 2–MARCH 25, 2018

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So grab your FREE ICA-UPENN Museum Membership, and enjoy your Super Secret Study Spot!

Secret Concept

Staff Writer: Min Derry, Learning Instructor