Welcome to Learning Strategist Services

What does a learning strategist do?

A learning strategist can help you develop study skills, learn effective time management, prepare for exams, and more. Available for one-on-one appointments, the learning strategist can help you take a detailed look at your learning and find an individualized approach toward success.


Seton Academic Centre, Room 346
166 Bedford Highway, Halifax, NS




Book an Appointment

Meet the Learning Strategist

Hello Mount Community! My name is James Jollymore – I am the MSVU Learning Strategist and Student Success Coordinator – a part of the Centre for Academic Advising and Student Success (CAASS).

My personal philosophy, for work and life, is flexibility and introspection; with recent global events and our educational institutions varied responses, we are in an interesting place of reflection and (re)discovery of what it means to be part of a post-secondary community, and a learner in general.

20 years working in education as:

ESL Assistant, ESL Teacher, Direct Care Worker for Adults with Disabilities, Accessibility Consultant, Math Tutor, Student Success Specialist and currently: Learning Strategist, Student Success Coordinator, & Supplemental Instruction Supervisor.

Life-long learner:

Acadia alumnus: Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology, Masters of Education in Counselling, as well as a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Western Ontario. And in 2015 became Life Skills Coach certified through George Brown College in Toronto.

My work and training have focused on supporting individuals with disabilities, mental health issues, diverse learners, and building inclusive designs for learning. And as a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, I personally strive to foster an inclusive environment in the work I do each day. I am dedicated to supporting learners and finding innovative ways to ensure not only academic success but a flourishing educational experience, learning isn’t limited to the classroom – physical or virtual.

On a personal note: I have visited 24 countries, which is just over 10% of the planet, a statistic I hope to improve upon soon!

Student Success Workshops

Student Success Workshops 


In this workshop we will explore various methods of note-taking, including the Cornell Method, with the added feature of doodling and the benefits of creating visuals.


We will explore ways to maximize the effectiveness of study time, the importance of planning/scheduling, prioritizing tasks, and estimating the time required to complete course objectives.

SINGLE-TASKING: “No More Multi-tasking!”

This workshop will explore the benefits of Single-tasking. “How to focus on one thing at a time, get more done, and feel less stressed.” Article by Jory MacKay Rescue blog: 10/27/20


This workshop will dive into the importance of Self-Care and the benefits of sleep, eating well, movement and being kind with yourself.


Getting ready for exams by exploring a variety of study tips, organizing notes, and using tools such as Mind Mapping.

Helpful Links

Tips for Exam Preparation

Take time to make a plan:

  • Use strategies such as calendar blocking and to-do lists to plan your week

Check your knowledge:

  • Start your study session by writing everything you know on a piece of paper to determine the gaps in your knowledge. Use this to decide what to study first or where to spend more time.


  • Use the traffic light method to organize your material (Red=study first, Yellow=study second, Green=study last/review)

Use effective study strategies:


•      skim the test and before answering any questions

•      write down as many things you can recall about the topics

Read each question CAREFULLY:

•      underline key words

•      reword when necessary (e.g., turn a negative (-) statement into a positive (+) one

Go through the whole test once, in order.

•      Answer the questions you’re sure of.

•      Mark those you find difficult.

Return to any unanswered questions.

•      Still not sure?….make an educated guess.

Take your time: –

•      stop,

•      close your eyes,

•      focus on your breathing (20 secs) to re-focus/re-centre yourself.

Exam Planner

Note Taking Strategies

Cornell* Notes

Divide the paper into 3 sections:

  • Draw a horizontal line about 5 or 6 lines from the bottom.
  • Draw a vertical line about 2 inches from the left side of the page.
  • Draw a dark horizontal line over the top line.


  • Write course name, date and topic at the top of each page.

Write Notes

  • The large box to the right is for writing notes.
  • Skip a line between ideas and topics.
  • Use abbreviations and shorthand as much as possible (not complete sentences).
  • Review & clarify

Review the notes the same day.

  • Pull out main ideas, key points, dates, and people and write them in the column on the left.

Write a summary of the main ideas in the bottom section.

Reread your notes in the right column.

  • Spend most of your time studying the ideas in the left column and the summary at the bottom. These are the most important ideas and will probably include most of the information you will be tested on.

*This strategy is based on the strategy presented by Pauk, W. (1997). How to study in college (6th ed). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Learning Toolbox. Steppingstone Technology Grant. James Madison University, MSC 1903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807

7 Sleep Myths — Busted


Hitting the hay at the end of a long day should be something we look forward to. Yet for many of us, sleep is full of stress and anxiety. What if I can’t get to sleep? How will I function if I don’t get 8 hours rest? Are siestas actually a good idea?

Mistaken beliefs around sleep don’t help the situation. So we’re here to set some common sleep myths straight — helping you separate fact from fiction and ease your worries around sleep issues.

Myth #1: If I can’t sleep, I should stay in bed

Reality: It may seem counter-productive, but the best thing to do if you wake at night and you can’t get back to sleep is get out of bed. This means your brain won’t associate your bed with wakefulness, and you’ll get tired more easily. So if you’re not asleep in 20 minutes, it’s important to get out of bed until you feel sleepy. Try reading or listening to some relaxing music.

💤 Listen to our Sleep Music playlists while you’re waiting to feel sleepy again.

Myth #2: I can catch up on sleep at the weekend

Reality: When you haven’t been sleeping well during the week, sleeping in at the weekend feels like an easy solution. But it can actually make things worse. Your body functions best with a consistent sleep pattern so try going to bed and getting up at the same times every day (even at weekends). It’s one of the best ways to regulate our circadian rhythm and maximize sleep.

💤 If you have trouble drifting off at the same time each night, try playing a Sleep Story when you hop into bed to help you fall asleep.

Myth #3: If I nap during the day, I won’t sleep at night

Reality: Napping at the right time and for the right duration won’t affect your ability to sleep at night. In fact, it may actually improve your chances of drifting off to dreamland. That’s because being over-tired can make it harder to fall asleep. To get started, try a short, 30-minute nap in the early afternoon.

💤 Doze off with one of our Nap Stories. They’re designed to be just the right length and will wake you gently with birdsong at the end.

Myth #4: I must get 8 hours sleep per night

Reality: The amount of sleep we each need is unique. Most of us feel best with somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Some of us can get by with 3-4 hours while others require 10-12 hours of sleep. Find out how much sleep you require by checking in with your energy levels — if you wake up tired or you need caffeine to feel alert, you’re likely not getting the sleep your body needs.

💤 Gauge where your body’s at with some mindful movement. We recommend Morning Wake Up on Calm Body.

Myth #5: I’m just a bad sleeper

Reality: While some of us may be blessed with stronger sleep systems, we all have the ability to sleep well — we simply need to learn how to let our body do what it’s naturally built for. This means committing to helpful habits both during the day and in the evenings. That takes awareness and consistency but you’ll be rewarded with deep rest.

💤 Cultivate the essential tools for sound sleep with the 7 Days of Sleep series.

Myth #6: If I can’t sleep, I must try harder

Reality: The paradox of sleep is that it comes when you’re not trying. Instead of getting frustrated, focus on becoming less reactive and concentrate on relaxing instead. Meditation can turn down the volume on busy thoughts and worries, and induces a state of relaxation, which helps you slip into slumber.

💤 Try a guided meditation for sleep like Deep Sleep or Drifting off with Gratitude.

Myth #7: Setting up for sleep starts in the evening

Reality: While a soothing bedtime routine is important, the pathway to better sleep begins during the day. Try drinking water instead of coffee when you wake up and get 15 minutes of sunlight (preferably while exercising) to support your body’s sleep rhythms. A regular meditation practice during the day also primes our minds for non-reactivity, which helps us sleep.

💤 Listen to our Sleep Better Masterclass for practical tools that’ll help optimize your sleep.

Calm Blog – March 21, 2021: https://www.calm.com/blog/7-sleep-myths-busted?utm_medium=email&utm_source=lifecycle&utm_campaign=newreleases_10242021&utm_content=blog


SQ3R is a reading comprehension method named for its five steps: survey, question, read, recite, and review. Follow the steps below:


Gather the information necessary to focus and formulate goals

Read the title – Help your mind prepare to receive the subject at hand.

Read the introduction and/or summary – Orient yourself to how each chapter fits the author’s purposes, and focus on the author’s statement of most important points.

Notice each heading and subheading – Organize your mind before you begin to read and build a structure for the thoughts and details to come.

Notice any graphics – Charts, maps, diagrams, etc. are there to make a point. Don’t overlook them.

Notice reading aids – Italics, bold face print, chapter objective, and end-of -chapter questions are all included to help you sort, comprehend, and remember.


Help your mind engage and concentrate

Turn the heading for each section into as many questions as you think will be answered in that section. The better the questions, the better your comprehension is likely to be. You may always add further questions as you proceed. When your mind is actively searching for answers to questions it becomes engaged in learning.


Fill in the information around the mental structures you’ve been building

Read one section at a time with your questions in mind and look for the answers. Recognize when you need to make up some new questions.


Retrain your mind to concentrate and learn as it reads

After each section, stop and recall your questions and see if you can answer them from memory. If not, look back at the text again (as often as necessary), but don’t move to the next section until you can recite the answers from the previous one.


Refine your mental organization and begin building memory

Once you’ve finished the entire chapter using the preceding steps, go back over the questions you create for every heading. See if you can still answer them. If not, look back and refresh your memory and then continue.

7 - strategies for a 7-week course:

1.    Know the course. Read the syllabus thoroughly, so you are familiar with the course topics, materials required and outcomes, and as soon as the information becomes available (professors may open the Course Moodle before the course starts!).

Think about: How to prioritize the course content to ensure you meet the outcomes.

2.    Get (and stay!) organized. Remove distractions. Singularize your focus. And prioritize school, work, and life obligations. Have your resources (e.g., textbook, course materials, online materials) in place and at hand.

Think about: How can prior learning/knowledge support the current course.

3.    Don’t miss class. Get to know your classmates and professor from the start of the course. If you miss something during class you will have a back-up. Ask questions and provide comments during class; in-class engagement will help you to stay focused and help the information stick!

Think about: Building connections with classmates before and after class.

4.    Schedule out of class course work. Readings. Research. Assignments. Practice questions. Find different ways to engage in the course content (e.g., videos, discussions, podcasts, etc.) which will help solidify the new knowledge.

Think about: Using small chunks of time to review chapters and class notes.

5.    Feedback. Feedback on your progress in the course may come early (sometimes within the first week). If not, ask for feedback on your work and review any comments the professor provided. Look for clues from the professor (in-class and online postings) regarding possible test/exam questions.

Think about: Does the feedback align with your own self-assessment.

6.    Ask for help. Do not wait for clarification or connection to happen over time. If you are uncertain or unclear about a topic, ask for clarification sooner rather than later. Use the university services: Writing Centre, Learning Strategist, Accessibility Services, Counselling Services, IT&S for any tech issues.

Think about: The best way to connect with the professor, when needed.

7.    Take a break. The brain needs time to build connections and process new information. Schedule regular breaks from the course content to allow this processing to happen and to re-charge so you are ready to focus again on your studies.

Think about: Self-care activities you can easily engage in.