Three law students studying in library

University Learning Commons

What is the ULC?

As part of the Center for Student Success, the University Learning Commons (ULC) provides FREE academic support through peer and professional tutoring in many subjects. Services are offered both in-person and on-line! Our tutors are typically upper-class students, who have excelled in the very courses/topics that they tutor. In addition, we provide workshop opportunities which are focused on study skills, time management, organizational skills and other skills to help support students of all grade levels as they work towards their educational goals. 

Center for Student Success
University learning commons tutors

What subjects do you offer?

  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry, General, and Organic
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Management
  • Math
  • PA Allied Health Sciences
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Speech
  • Statistics
  • Study Skills
  • Tax
  • Theology

Check out our Study Tips and Subject Tutorial Links on this page!

Office Hours

The University Learning Commons offers both in-person and online tutoring sessions  for the convenience of our students. Both options provide students with the support and confidence needed for academic success.  We look forward to assisting you on your educational journey!


9:00 am- 5:00pm (In-person) *last appointment 4:00 pm* 
6:00 pm–10:00 pm (Online)

9:00 am–3:00 pm (In-person)

6:00 pm–10:00 pm (Online)

Office Location and Contact

The ULC is located in St. Augustine Hall (Library), Room 103 next to Einstein Bagels.

Director: Alexandra Marquez

email: [email protected]

ULC email:  [email protected]


Additional Information

To make an appointment at the University Learning Commons, click

If you do not have an account, you must select “Register for an account” at the top of that page.

If you are interested in tutoring, come see us in the ULC (Located in St Augustine Hall, Room 103). You may click on the link below for an application, or you can pick one up in the ULC.

New Hire Application (PDF)

Is tutoring free?
All tutoring services are free for St. John's students.

Who will be tutoring me?
The tutors in the ULC are highly qualified. Below are some examples of our tutor's sucesses.

  • An accounting tutor is a member of the President’s Society.
  • A senior biology/chemistry tutor was awarded a full scholarship in the Ph.D. Neurobiology program at the University of Chicago.
  • A physics/math tutor has been admitted to the Stanford University Master of Science Degree program in Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • A senior tutor has been accepted into the Ph.D program in chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University
  • A senior biology/chemistry tutor has been accepted into the Ph.D program in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine.
  • A senior organic chemistry tutor has accepted a position in the Ph.D program in the Department of Chemistry at the Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as a Virgina Bartow Scholar. In addition, this tutor is a winner of St. John's University SHinE award (Students Honored in Employment) for excellence in tutoring.

All tutors in the ULC must have at least a 3.7 GPA and are required to submit two letters of recommendation from their professors in the subject area they tutor. Most tutors are upperclassmen students, but there are several graduate tutors.

How do I cancel an appointment?
You can cancel an appointment online (click on your appointment and click the "Cancel Appointment" tab at the bottom), you can call 718-990-1367, or you can drop in to inform us. It is important to cancel your appointment if you cannot keep it so another student can be helped.

What if there are no appointments available during the times I am available?
You may go on our "wait list." Go to the ULC appointment website. Choose your subject, and then choose a tutor in your subject. Click the clock next to the date. Choose the tutor you want and indicate the times you are available. You will receive notification if an appointment opens up. If the tutors are completely booked, you can stop in or call the ULC at (718) 990-6566.

How many appointments can I have per day?
You may have one appointment per day, per subject. (i.e. You can have an appointment for Theology 1000C AND an appointment for Chemistry 1120 on the same day, but you cannot have two Chemistry 1120 appointments.)

May I bring another student with me to my appointment?
Yes, if the student is in the same class as you and needs help. Most of the tutors in the ULC can accommodate up to four (4) students.

Must I have an appointment to receive tutoring in the ULC?
The ULC offers walk-ins depending on tutors' availability.

Study Tips & Resources

Our tips on how to manage your time:

  • Figure out where you are wasting time. Be honest with yourself. A big “time waster” for students is the time spent on social media and watching too many entertainment programs. Does this apply to you?
  • Use a Weekly Planner. To begin with, write down everything you know you must do every day: classes, clubs, time to eat, and other scheduled appointments. Once you see what you absolutely must do, you can more clearly see where you can schedule time to study.
  • Use a “semester” calendar. Get a large wall calendar for major events (family and social events should be included), project deadlines, and exams.
  • Make a “to do” list every day. Cross items off as they are completed. Rate each item according to urgency: “A” is something that must be done today, “B” should be done, and you want to do “C,” but it can wait.
  • Set a place and time EACH DAY for studying. It may be a different time each day according to your class schedule, but in a few weeks, you will have established a routine.
  • DON’T PROCRASTINATE!! For most students, procrastination causes a lot of needless anxiety. Many students overestimate the time and difficulty of a project or paper, and therefore put it off. In most cases, once you get started, the “pain” goes away! Break up large projects or papers into manageable pieces and complete them over a period of time. Don’t put it off! Life happens, and you may run out of time!
  • Attend all your classes. A huge amount of time is wasted trying to chase down what you missed in class….and a classmate’s notes are a poor substitute for taking your own notes.
  • Realize that college is a full-time job. A good rule of thumb is that for every credit hour for a difficult class, three hours should be spent on homework and studying. So, for a three- credit class, that adds up to nine hours per week (for that class only!).
  • Learn that you sometimes have to say “no.” Your classes and schoolwork are your priority and the reason you are in college. Social activities and a part-time job may be important, but not as important as your education and your future.


The best way to prepare for any test and to reduce text anxiety is to know the material thoroughly. Begin studying for an exam at least one week before the date of the test. If you have done this, here are additional strategies that will help you through the test:

  • Be physically prepared for the test. Get everything you need for the test the night before (pencils, pens, calculator, etc.), get a good night’s sleep, and have a good breakfast.
  • Look over the entire test before you begin, and develop a plan. Don’t get stuck on the multiple-choice questions if they are worth 25% of your grade and the essay questions are worth 75%.
  • On Multiple Choice Exams, make sure you read all the choices, then eliminate the choices you know are wrong. If you are not certain of the correct choice, make an educated guess. Don’t leave a question blank.
  • For essay questions, read all the questions, then begin with the one that is easiest for you. Answer specifically the question asked. Many points are lost on essay questions because students do not answer the exact question asked. Write neatly and coherently.
  • For true/false questions, if the question contains the words all, always, never, every, and none, there is a good chance the answer is false.
  • On Math tests, show all your work. Try to estimate the answer before you begin each question. Check your answers.
  • Always stay until the end of the test. Look over your entire test for careless mistakes. You may be able to correct one or several mistakes which will add points to your score. Don’t get upset if some students leave after a half hour. They may have been unprepared for the test and couldn’t answer the questions!


Taking good notes helps you get the most out of your classes and helps you do better on tests. Carefully selecting and writing down the important points of the lecture forces you to be an active learner.

  • Sit up front in class for optimal note taking. You’ll be less likely to drift off or check your phone if you are in full view of the professor.
  • Taking notes in your own words is much better than trying to copy down, word for word, everything the professor says. It helps you to process and understand the material as you are taking notes.
  • Develop a note-taking system that works for you. In any case, leave space between your notes and a wide margin on the left side if you need to add additional notes later.
  • Some students find it helpful to rewrite their notes from certain classes. It helps them to organize and to learn. If this pertains to you, do it!
  • Review your notes often - ideally, every single day. You will see where some information might be missing, and at the same time you will be reinforcing information for upcoming exams.


To get the most out of a college textbook chapter:

  • Read textbook chapters when – or before - they are assigned. It’s a great feeling – and a great advantage - to have a “head start” on the classroom lecture!
  • First, get a quick overview – a survey - of the chapter. Flip through and read everything in bold and italic print. Look at the pictures and charts, and read the review questions and the summary.
  • Read the chapter. Read at a moderate pace and take a break from reading about every 15 minutes. Jot down questions and take notes on concepts that are particularly important.
  • Review the chapter. Go through the pages again, reinforcing the main ideas. Make sure you can answer all the review questions.


Have a great attitude, and believe in yourself. Recognize yourself as a talented, capable person who works hard and will be successful.

  • Keep the “big picture” in mind. College can be overwhelming; you may wonder why you are here sometimes! You are here to get your degree and start a satisfying career. It’s helpful to remind yourself of this when the going gets tough.
  • Set small goals. When faced with a big project or paper, divide the big task into small, achievable steps. Completing each step gives you measurable satisfaction that you are well on your way to completing the overall goal, which helps you stay motivated!
  • Have a plan. Prioritize. Complete the most important tasks first. If you have an exam in a difficult subject, complete studying for that test first, and then move on to your other work. Getting a difficult task “out of the way” builds confidence and reduces stress….and helps you stay motivated.
  • Turn failures into successes. Everyone has setbacks from time to time. Use failure as an opportunity to see what went wrong and how it can be corrected. Remind yourself that you will succeed if you don’t give up.
  • Eliminate negative “self talk.” Instead of saying to yourself, “I’m awful in Biology,” replace it with “I’m intelligent and I can do this.”
  • Get support. Talk to your family and friends. They can give you a new perspective and encourage you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.


  • Discover your “Learning Style.” Complete the VARK questionnaire. Follow the suggestions based on the results and adjust your study habits based on the type of learner you are.
  • Find a quiet place to study, and if possible, study in that same area every day. Make sure you have everything you need and eliminate all distractions.
  • Make a study plan and get started. Decide what you want to accomplish in your study session and the order you want to do it.
  • Start with the most difficult subject first. * You will feel (and will be) accomplished and relieved after mastering a demanding subject.
  • Adjust your attention span.* You are used to getting short bursts of information instantly (ie, Instagram, Snapchat). In college, you need to pay attention for longer periods of time – both in the classroom and while studying. Learn to focus for 15 to 20 minutes when you study. Learning takes time.
  • Study every day.* In college, unlike high school, you are expected to study every day for long-term quality learning. Don’t cheat yourself by skipping a day or two. You’re only cheating yourself.
  • Study with a group. Sometimes your classmates have insights and suggestions that are helpful to you, and you may also have important information for your classmates. Sometimes two heads are better than one!
  • Seek out help if you need it. Go to the professor or TA with your concerns or visit the tutoring center (the University Learning Commons, Augustine Hall, Room 103) for free tutoring in most subjects.

*These suggestions are from The Secrets of College Success , 2/e, by Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman


Subject Tutorial Links

Click here to search KhanAcademy for your subject.