Every college student understands the struggle of finding the study routine that works for them. I remember staying in the library until it closed trying to cram for midterm and finals season. I’ve tried a variety of studying hacks, and I find these tips below have helped me succeed in college. While it can be overwhelming to throw yourself into college work, with this simple yet effective studying hacks you will see progress!
1. Organize Your Workspace
Organizing your workspace is the first step you should take when preparing to study during the hectic weeks of midterms and finals. Having your desk organized will give you space to use other studying hacks and leave you level-headed and prepared for the week. Keeping your desk and study space organized will make everything easier while you study, you won’t have to waste time looking for the things you need or being distracted by the clutter. I suggest making sure you have a space to store everything, you don’t want to sacrifice precious study time looking for a pencil! Practicing keeping your desk organized will also help you better remember important tasks, it is proven that decluttering your space also helps declutter your memory!
2. Keep A Whiteboard With Daily Tasks
I can’t believe I went without this studying hack before! In my freshman year of college, I could not stop forgetting assignments no matter how hard I tried. I attempted to use a planner, but it just wasn’t enough. Investing in a whiteboard allows you to visually see what tasks you have to do each day. Making a checklist is an easy way to reassure yourself you’ve done what you need to for the day. Hang it up on your door or over your desk assures you that you will see it regardless of how busy you are for the day.
3. Start It- Don’t Force Yourself To Finish
Although it does not seem like a studying hack to take a break from work, it’s actually beneficial to the quality of work you submit. Forcing yourself to finish work will hurt you in the long run. The more I force myself to keep working when I have brain fog, the quality of my work goes down. The best way to beat brain fog is to plan your work ahead in sections so you allow your mind time to rest. Personally, I like to set a timer with a set amount of time I am comfortable working without interruption. Once I have completed that time, I allow myself a break if I am feeling tired and come back to it. It may seem scary to take a break when you are rushing to complete piles of work, but it is necessary for your mental health! If you are feeling defeated by large assignments, sectioning of the workload will make it less of a hassle.
4. Try Cornell Notes
Once I learned about Cornell notes, my entire study routine changed. Cornell notes create an efficient way to display and study information. This study hack allows you to map out each section of your notes with bullet points of important things to study. You can find Cornell note templates for free on Google Docs and Microsoft Word, you can even download templates for free from Google!
5. Color Coding
Writing your notes out in different colors creates a coherent system that allows you to easily access information. By color-coding, you are able to organize your information by subject and content. This will make studying significantly easier, once you have all your key content mapped out. Color coding is also an efficient way to easily access information in your notes.
6. Study In Groups And Divide Tasks
This is one of the most helpful studying hacks I learned in college. Studying in groups changed my life in college! If you have a big test or project coming up, form a group and help each other out. In my experience, dividing the work between a group lessens the pressure and allows you to ask for help when you need it.
7. Change How You Study Depending On The Class
It can be easy to get into the same routine of studying once you get comfortable. However, it’s crucial to change it up depending on the class! There are different ways you can optimize your study sesh depending on the material. For English, try the Cornell note method mentioned above, for math classes try creating practice problems. I personally have found that experimenting with different routines is a great way to find out what works for you.
8. Make A Weekly Study Schedule
Setting and sticking to a schedule in college is the key to success. By sectioning your tasks off into smaller subdivisions, you are able to better manage your workload. Usually, at the beginning of the week, I will set myself a schedule dividing the work to be completed on certain days. Not only does this provide stability and routine for my chaotic days, but it also allows me to avoid feeling overwhelmed and frustrated halfway through the week.
9. Reward Yourself
Let’s be real, college can be a lot of work! You deserve to reward yourself after a long week of stress. I’ve found that allowing myself an incentive to get through the week motivates me to work much harder and gives me something to look forward to. Whether it be a meal at your favorite spot or a Target trip it’s important to reward yourself for working so hard. My favorite way to reward myself for working hard is to change up my study location and go to my favorite coffee shop. Reading over notes isn’t too terrible with a cappuccino.
10. Get Some Exercise
Incorporating exercise into your routine is an effective way to relieve symptoms of brain fog, lethargy, and stress. A quick and low-effort workout session can actually raise your endorphins and release some of the exam season stress! After cramming at a desk all day, it’s good for you physically and mentally to refresh with a light workout. You absolutely don’t need to push yourself! I’ve found that a nightly walk with my roommates can be just as effective in lifting my spirits as a hardcore workout.
11. Organize Ahead Of Time And Avoid The Stress!
Assimilating to the fact-paced lifestyle of University can be challenging. Trying to manage academics on top of work, your social life, and your family can leave us scrambled. It’s easy to find yourself relying on caffeine and late-night library study sessions. These studying hacks will make managing the fast-paced lifestyle of University achievable and stress-free! How do you prepare for a big exam? Share your favorite studying hacks below!