Learning effective study skills is one of the best ways to succeed in college. Even if you were one of those kids who could easily get As in high school with little studying, you’re likely to find that college classes require a whole new level of concentration. Studying doesn’t have to be tough though. These tips will get you off on the right foot.
1. Seek advice. Many universities have tutoring and academic support centers who can help you get off on the right foot. Tip: College tutoring isn’t just for students who are struggling! Many high-achieving students seek out tutors to help them excel in college.
2. Block out study time. This is when to get serious about studying. Make a weekly calendar and block off quiet times to study. If you keep with your schedule, there’ll be no need to cram for that next big test.
3. Recognize distractions. If you get off track, think about what it was that pulled you away from studying and find ways to avoid that trap in the future — whether it’s turning off your cell phone or studying in a spot like the library where there’s less around to distract you.
4. Take good notes in class. Be sure to write down anything the instructor wrote on the board. At the end of class, think about the key points your instructor was trying to make. Do you have adequate notes about each of these?
5. Stay focused. During class, use your laptop exclusively for note taking. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by texting with friends or checking your Instagram account.
6. Make notes in your textbook. It’s helpful to review key chapters before class. Highlight anything you don’t understand so you can make note of it during the lecture.
7. Review your notes frequently. Retype your notes or reread them after class or the next day. Research shows that reviewing new material within 24 hours of hearing it helps you remember it.
8. Participate in class. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re confused about a topic. Your instructor should be able to elaborate on the topic or provide an example to help you better understand it. If you’re still struggling though, ask to meet with your instructor during office hours for more guidance.
9. Work as a team. Find a study partner or a study group. Talking through subjects and sharing notes can help immensely with your ability to retain the information learned in class. Plus if you have a regular schedule to meet, it’s tougher to slack off with studying.
10. Pace yourself. Schedule short breaks to stretch your legs and to get something to eat. This will help you stay on track in the long run.