Study Tips For College: 5 Things That Make a Difference
Starting college is a big step and a daunting task. Whether you're taking classes on campus or online, the best way to start school on the right track is to learn good study tips for college students. Every student is different and you will develop your own study habits and pattern in time. Are you a day person or a night owl? Do you like to study alone or with other classmates? Do you prefer silence or music playing? These are qualities you will learn about yourself in time. For now, get started with these five study tips for college and you'll get off on the right foot.
Schedule Your Study Time
This is the best piece of study advice you can get. Don't just let your day or week unfold as it goes and plan to study when you can. This inevitably leads to wasted time that you could have spent studying and unneeded stress later when you run out of time before a test or paper due date. Look at your schedule and determine when will be the best study time for you. Each night after dinner? An hour at lunch? Maybe Sunday afternoon? Carving out time to study weekdays or weeknights is great because it doesn't leave all of it for the weekend when you will want to do other things. Make a plan to study 1-3 hours per day or accomplish a certain amount of reading each day. This can be as easy as sacrificing one hour of watching television each night, playing fewer video games or even getting up an hour earlier or staying up one hour later than normal. When you schedule your study time, you make it a priority and part of your daily routine.
Determine What Type Of Learner You Are
The key to remembering something is to make sure it goes from our short term memory to our long term memory. How do you accomplish that? The key is to adapt it correctly and quickly to your long term memory using repetition. The more times you review a formula, fact or concept, the better your chances of storing it in your long term memory. Visual learners store data best when they can see it written or in graphics, charts or other ways of demonstrating something for the eye. If you are listening to a lecture, make sure you take notes that you can read later. If you are reading or studying alone, highlight and make notes or charts of ideas or key phrases that you can look at later. Auditory learners remember material the best when they hear it. This is great when listening to a lecture, but when reading go ahead and read aloud or go over your notes aloud. Talk with classmates about ideas and information and even recite your notes as your record them. You can listen to them again later.
Create Study Guides And Shortcuts.
Some professors will offer study guides that they have created. If he or she doesn't, create your own—especially ahead of an exam. Write down anything you think might show up on the test along with formulas, definitions and facts you need to remember. Even the process of making the study guide will help you start to retain that information. Flash cards can also be helpful and are a quick way to review key concepts and math or statistics formulas. A good trick is to create songs, sentences or abbreviations that stand for information you need to know. For instance, make up a song to remember something important just like you did when you learned the alphabet. You can also use mnemonics to memorize information—just like music students learn "Every Good Boy Does Fine" for the E,G,B,D,F of the lines of the treble clef.
Study With Friends
You may prefer to study alone much of the time, but studying with other people can be helpful. If you have classmates on campus, make a study date to meet once a week or before exams. If you are taking classes online, make friends with a study buddy and meet once a week in an online study chat room. You can also create study groups this way with several classmates. This can be extremely helpful when trying to do lab work, solving problems or discussing ideas or opinions for essays.
Stay Rested And Take Breaks
It's hard to remember anything or focus when you are tired. This is especially true when studying for class. If you get enough sleep, you will be more alert, focused and ready to learn and absorb information when you study or attend class. Also, remember to take regular breaks when you are studying or writing papers. This allows your brain to absorb and process the information you are studying and will let you be more creative when it comes to writing.
Thinking about returning to school but don't want to start from scratch? View our Transfer-In Credits Guide.