Studying is an essential skill in college. Too often, people form bad habits that leads to poor studying abilities. Here are 12 awesome study tips for college students.
1. Make a study group
When you have a big exam or essay coming up, there are likely several other students who are gearing up to take the same exam or essay. Team up and work together! This will allow you to share knowledge with others and hopefully learn something from them as well. When sitting in a lecture, even if you are an excellent note-taker, you are probably not getting 100% of the information. Working in a group allows you to share notes to make sure everyone has all of the information they need. Also, it allows you to explain to each other concepts that may not be fully understood.
2. Make flashcards
Flashcards are an easy way to get concepts mastered using the method of repetition. If you have to master vocabulary, flashcards are an exceptional way to learn a large amount of material in a short amount of time. Quizlet is an excellent way to make flashcards virtually, so you can always have them on your phone or computer. Or, if you prefer holding real paper flashcards, use those as well! Either way, flashcards will drill information into your brain and help you ace that quiz or exam.
3. Make a plan
When you have a huge list of things to study, it can quickly get overwhelming to the point of procrastination. Procrastination can be caused by anxiety, so when you are overwhelmed with a large to-do list, make a plan. One of the best ways to do this is to use a planner. A planner will map out all of the things you need to complete and/or study, and allow you to set time slots for each commitment. This will cut down on anxiety. By seeing everything mapped out, it will make it much easier to tackle it.
4. Change environment
Trying to be productive in your dorm or bedroom is a lot to ask. Trying to get things done in the same space you sleep in likely means not much work is getting done. Changing your environment is a great study tip that can allow you to be more productive. Relocating to a place that encourages productive behavior like a library or coffee shop can cause that productive energy to rub off on you. So, if you are one who tries to study in their bedroom but always ends up watching Netflix or falling asleep, consider relocating to a different environment.
5. Eat before you begin a study session
An empty stomach is the biggest distraction to a study session. The achy, empty feeling can often upend any plans to get things done. Likewise, eating while studying can make it much harder to stay concentrated. Eating before you begin studying in one of the most important study tips. Not only does a full stomach fuel your mind, but you are saving yourself from future distractions. A balanced meal prior to a study session will guarantee a productive session. This is one of the most important study tips on the list.
6. Get rid of distractions
If you’re like me, a smartphone is a huge distraction while trying to get some studying done. Do yourself a favor and find a way to get rid of your phone. One of my favorite ways of doing this is to leave my phone in my car when I’m going to a coffee shop. That way, my phone is still available in case of an emergency, but it’s just far enough out of reach so that I’m not tempted to go grab it. So, find a way to hide your distractions. Out of sight, out of mind!
7. Start with your most difficult concepts
If you studying for a big exam, start with studying the toughest things to understand/master. Early in a study session, your mind is sharp, so use that energy on the things that will require more energy. This is one of the study tips that have saved me so much time and energy!
8. Study in short bursts
When you have a big exam coming up in 2 weeks, use those 2 weeks to study in short bursts of time. Even if you are spaced-out and not totally focused in, it’s better to have multiple shorter study sessions (even those where you are not hyper-focused), than a late-night cram study session. By studying over a longer stretch of time, you are more likely to commit the concepts to memory. These study tips are much easier to use when you have lots of time!
9. Test yourself
One of the best study tips that will allow you to actually test your knowledge is to test yourself. One of the best ways to do this is via Quizlet. Of course, Quizlet allows you to study on virtual flashcards, but using the test feature, Quizlet will automatically turn your flashcards into a practice test. Take these tests frequently so that you know what you still need to work on.
10. Listen to calming music or sounds
Listening to dance music will likely make you want to get up and dance. This is obviously not ideal for a study session. Turning on calming music will keep your mind occupied on what’s at hand. There are several study music playlists on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube. Take advantage of these playlists to boost your productivity.
11. Get with teachers and professors to brush up on difficult concepts
If you are unsure about some material, try not to waste too much time trying to teach yourself, especially if you are completely lost. Instead, make an appointment with your teacher/professor to help you understand the said material. This will be much a much more efficient way of studying than trying to learn something on your own that is difficult to comprehend.
12. Take breaks
If you are someone who finds it difficult to study for hours on end, don’t try and force yourself to do something you know you can’t do. Take frequent breaks to clear your mind like going for a walk, getting food, or talking to a friend. Studying is not a race. Breaks can increase your endurance and ultimately allow for more efficient study sessions.