Effective Study Habits
A lot of students don’t realize that college study habits are a lot different than high school habits. College classes are a lot harder, exams are worth more, professors might be less involved, and the readings are more intense. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still do well!
With a few changes to your study habits, you can develop productive habits that will result in higher grades and give you greater confidence in the classroom. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your study time:
Pay Attention in Class
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you must pay attention and take good notes in class! The notes you take in class will be the foundation of your studying. If you come to class prepared, having reviewed the required lecture or reading material, you will be able to take better notes on the key concepts reviewed by the professor.
Reviewing your class notes before each live class will help you feel prepared for each session. Hearing the information repeated back to you will also help you better retain and understand it. During class, write down the high points of each lecture so you can remember what was said when you go to study the material later.
If you have handwritten notes, but perhaps not the best handwriting, spend a few minutes after each class typing them into your computer. This will help you when you review the information again and make sure that you have a legible copy on hand.
Study a week or two in advance of the deadline. This will help you feel prepared ahead of your test and allow you to cover everything you have learned.
If you start studying the night before your test, you are placing yourself in a high-stress situation and could end up doing much worse on the test. Allow yourself to study early, as you will be able to build your confidence over time.
Studying early also allows you to figure out what you don’t understand early on. This will give you time to go to your professor’s office hours or your TA’s help session where they can answer your questions. They will be impressed with your desire to do well in their class, as well as offering you ample time to understand the material before the exam.
Create an organized schedule for what you are going to do. Set time restrictions for each study activity so you can keep yourself on track. Do this on the same day of each week to keep yourself organized.
Have a planner where you write down your goals and assignments for each class each week. You can add in important dates, such as tests, quizzes, or projects to allow yourself enough time in advance to prepare. Google Calendar is a great online tool for keeping track of your assignments, classes, and exams!
Start each day with a plan. Organize your day and find time for meals, activities that are de-stressors, time with friends and family, and studying hours. This will help you start each day off on a productive foot.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Working and reworking old exam problems are very helpful. These help you understand what kind of questions you may be asked. In some courses, practice questions may be more important than reading the textbook.
When you utilize practice problems, you are forcing yourself to apply the material in a new way. An understanding of the material has been fully reached when you take that knowledge and apply it to a problem without needing to check your notes.
The Internet is your friend here! Find practice problems for courses like yours at other universities so you can train yourself to answer all kinds of questions on the class topic. Quizlet is a great resource for finding practice questions.
Talk Out Loud
Pretend as if you are tutoring someone else in the subject. Explain the material out loud as if you are talking to someone who knows nothing on the subject. This will allow you to figure out where you are confused and provide you with an opportunity to learn more information.
Do this with your notes in your hands. You might need to rely on your notes at first to explain the material, but eventually you will be able to say everything out loud without your notes! Studying with this method can help you understand how prepared you truly are.
Create a Study Group
It might be hard with COVID-19 to find opportunities to meet in-person, but virtual platforms have given us great opportunities to connect. Use Zoom, Skype, or Facetime to your advantage and create an online study group.
Find some classmates and set a specific time each week to meet online and do practice problems, quiz each other, or teach the material to one another. This will force you to review the class material often and place you in the position of teaching others. These study sessions can be very helpful and allow you to find answers to questions you may have, too.
Change Your Surroundings
Grab your laptop and notes and find a quiet place to study somewhere on or off-campus. You could find a quiet picnic table, the library, a local coffee shop, an unused classroom, or a common room in your dorm.
Know when and where you study best, as well. If you are a night owl, use that time to your advantage and make yourself be your most productive at night. If you are a morning person, set aside time to eat a full breakfast so you feel rejuvenated for your busy morning.
Changing your study spot can help if you discover that a study spot no longer works for you. You might find yourself distracted in one particular area but extremely focused in another. Spend time finding the perfect study spot and this will help a lot!
Offer Yourself Breaks
It is very important to both your physical and mental health that you allow yourself to take breaks from schoolwork! Schedule time for a walk, run, TV break, or time with family and friends. This relaxation time will help you feel rejuvenated and encouraged.
Don’t let yourself stress out too much. Doing schoolwork during a pandemic is very stressful. Your classmates and teachers are experiencing stress as well, so boost others up when you can. Be kind to yourself and everyone else around you as well.
Eat Brain Food
Eating good food before, during, and after your studies is great for your body! Make sure to eat nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day to power your brain. You can’t study well on an empty stomach.
If you are going somewhere to study that isn’t near your home or dorm, take snacks with you! Allow yourself to take a study break to eat fruit or a granola bar. Eating will help you feel more energetic and allow your studying to last longer.
Get a Good Night of Sleep
Be sure to go to bed at a decent time the night before your exam. Staying up late stress-cramming the material will not help you do better. Going to bed and sleeping for 8+ hours will help your brain feel refreshed in the morning. You will find that you are better able to recall information when you are well-rested.
After a hard few weeks of studying, you have earned this. Take the night before to relax, de-stress, and go to bed with the confidence that you know this material.
Head into your exam feeling confident. You have put in the time, energy, and effort required to do well on this test. Your professor has seen the hard work that you put in and they know that you are a dedicated student. You got this!
For more tips for college students and information on the marketing world, be sure to check out our other blogs. Best of luck in your future studies!
Author: Payton Hoffman