Tips To Help Students Become More Productive in the Lab

Tips To Help Students Become More Productive in the Lab

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  • Lab sessions intimidate many college students.

    Unfortunately, there are a ton of roadblocks in an intense study space like a lab that slow students down and make anxiety about productivity levels even worse.

    Here are a few tips to help students become more productive in the lab and overcome those hindrances.

    Keep Procedures and Instructions on Hand

    This tip is where that plastic sleeve on the front and back of your binder comes into play. Productivity in the lab is severely hindered when you can’t act with confidence.

    Working with machinery, unfamiliar computers, and expensive equipment is intimidating even for students with plenty of lab experience. After all, you want to stay on your professor’s good side and not break anything, especially the lab rules.

    Any materials you’re given at the start of the semester are good to keep on hand. For example, a quick glance over the lab attire section of the syllabus can save you and your professor some frustration.

    Even knowing your lab’s labeling system is crucial to protecting yourself and others, so it’s not something you want to forget.

    Stay Organized as You Analyze

    It’s important to try to stay organized as you complete the lab assignments. Clutter on a messy station slows down your work, both physically and mentally.

    For example, when you finish with a tool, take a short break to put it away. Not only does this make the tool available to other students, but it gives you one less thing to think about in your workspace.

    Adding an organization process to how you complete your work segments a task into easy-to-tackle steps, while also ensuring quick clean up when you’re done.

    Organization tools like schedules, agendas, and even color-coding methods also help you organize your work itself. Keeping track of notes and data as you work makes it easier to generate reports or presentations later. Not only does effective organization make navigating your notes faster, but it also cements them further into your memory for more rapid recall.

    Ask for Assistance Any Time You’re Stuck

    Finally, hesitance eats more time than anything else in a lab. If you have a question, ask it. Take advantage of the resources in your lab, from partners to peers to assistants to the professor. Start by re-reading the assignment, then reach out with a specific question so that you can get direct, immediate help and move your work forward. The goal is to learn, and asking for help is the best way to discover more.

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    Following these tips to help students become more productive in the lab involves planning ahead and overcoming some very reasonable challenges. If you find that the lab space is truly not a conducive learning space for you, work with your professor and advisors to see what’s holding you back. Often, alternative lab hours or study groups are the answer.

    Image Credit: by Adobe Stock royalty-free image #181493546

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