STEM Success Strategies



Sample Syllabus (pdf)


The goal of this course is to introduce tips and techniques that will supplement and expand your existing repertoire of science/math problem-solving skills. The material covered here will complement your other science and math classes, helping to maximize your performance in those courses and, more importantly, aid in your development as a confident learner and future expert in your subject. All of this will be embedded within a focus on metacognition, a fancy word that essentially describes how you actively monitor the progress of learning. It involves steps like planning your study approach, monitoring the effectiveness during the process, reflecting on and evaluating the success of the strategies that were used, and adopting a “growth mindset” to provide a positive outlook on learning, to put both failure and success in context.
Becoming an expert in your chosen subject area takes experience and practice, which won’t end at the conclusion of this course or even when you graduate from UCSC. This course will boost your learning skills, helping you get the most out of your UCSC education and laying the groundwork for success as a life-long learner.


We aim to keep the workload as light as possible, while still providing sufficient depth to maximize your skill development. There will be a short reading for most weeks; you should read the article before the class and consider how the content relates to your experience or could be applied in your other courses. We will spend the first minutes of class discussing the reading. The rest of the meeting will be devoted to developing and practicing your learning skills. All we ask is that you be engaged in the material and put in a sincere effort during your participation in class and thoughtfully and carefully complete all homework assignments. The time spent on all class activities should average ~ 6 hours per week but may be more or less in some weeks depending on the topic.

Course learning objectives

  • Students will understand how their brains learn and how to design study habits to take advantage of that.
  • Students will develop and practice effective strategies for solving science and math problems.
  • Students will learn time management skills and how to study effectively.
  • Students will learn basic critical reading and writing skills



  • Time Management
  • Evidence-Based Study Techniques
  • Growth Mindset
  • Source Evaluation & Evidence-Based Arguments
  • Problem-Solving
  • Practical Data Organization
  • Reviewing & Critiquing Research
  • Test-Taking Strategies
  • Long-Term Goal-Settig & Sustainable Strategies for Achievement


Academic Support

Learning Support Services:

Modified Supplemental Instruction:

Academic Excellence: