Starting college can be a difficult transition for some people. The workload and pace of college courses is often more intense than those in high school. Having good study habits is an invaluable skill to have once you reach college. Here is a list of tips on how to study in college so that you ace you classes.
1. Use Flashcards
Using flashcards to study for exams and classes is one of the oldest study tricks in the book. This classic study method is both simple and incredibly effective. Flashcards work best for memorizing terms, but can be used for any class. From a chemistry class to a course on American history, flashcards will help prepare you for your tests. Some added benefits of flashcards are that they are easy to bring with you in your backpack and they don’t require technology at all. This means that you can review your study materials on the go, or if your phone dies. Try using flashcards to study while on the bus or while waiting for a class to make the most efficient use of your time.
2. Go to Office Hours
Going to office hours is a great example of how to study in college. When you begin college, at least four different people will stress the importance of going to the office hours of your TAs and professors. Although this reminder can become redundant fairly quickly, it is truly sound advice. Visiting office hours is an opportunity to have one on one time with your instructors that can be rare in college, especially in a lecture with 200+ students. Having a direct dialogue with a professor about something that is confusing or challenging is much more helpful than simply listening to a lecture. Visiting office hours also helps build relationships with teachers which is useful. Your professors will be more likely to be understanding of an issue if they have met you and seen that you are engaged in their class.
3. Use Quizlet
The online flashcard tool Quizlet is a great option for how to study in college. There is a free version online which allows you to create your own flashcard sets and play helpful study games to memorize the material. There is also the option of searching for study sets that past students have made for the same class, which will make your life as a student even easier. Quizlet is free and online so sharing your study sets with friends or fellow classmates is easy. Your peers will appreciate the fact that you shared your flashcards, and using the different features of this website will help you be prepared to ace your exams and classes. This is a great alternative to flashcards for those who don’t own flashcards or prefer using their computer.
4. Find a Quiet Space
Being focused on your studying is imperative to acing your college classes. One of the most important tips on how to study in college is to make sure you study somewhere where you won’t be distracted. Being successful in college is all about understanding the way you learn best, and part of that is identifying which things in your life distract you from your studies. For example, if you know that you’re likely to get sidetracked in your dorm because you and your roommate get along too well, set aside time to go the library or your favorite coffee shop and study there instead. College is a lot of fun, but in order to keep having that fun, students have learn to prioritize school.
5. Form Study Groups
Another tip on how to study in college is to form study groups with other members of classes you’re taking. Having multiple perspectives on course material and being able to bounce ideas off of your peers is helpful when studying. It’s likely that all members of a study group will benefit from studying collaboratively in some way, either academically or socially.
6. Use a Planner
Organization is essential to success in college. Depending on your class load, homework from all of your courses can really pile up over a while. Without a planner, it can be hard to fully understand everything you need to accomplish over a given week or month. Each semester, your professors will give you a course syllabus which often contains a list of every assignment and due date you’ll have for the entire class. Copying this information down in a planner allows a student to have a easy-to-read representation of what they need to prioritize. Using a planner is probably the most useful tip on how to study in college on this whole list, as it aids with organization and time management.
7. Ask Friends for Help
One of the most valuable tools for how to study in college is your peers. It’s likely that you will meet people during college that are either currently taking, or have taken classes that you are in. Getting help from a friend who has already passed your class is a super helpful tool, as it’s likely they could shed some insight on assignments. Being able to advocate for yourself and ask for help when you need it is an important part of being a student and an adult.
8. Incentivize Readings
Students in college are often assigned readings to do at home. At times several hours worth of readings can be assigned for a given night. It can be challenging to keep your mind focused on reading for that amount of time, especially when the readings are particularly complex or challenging. One way to make doing readings more enjoyable is to reward yourself with a snack for every page, paragraph or section you finish. You can adjust the length based on how hungry you are while studying. Some great snacks to use would be crackers, gummy-bears or pistachios, really anything small that motivates you to keep working.
9. Take Good Notes
This tip on how to study in college may seem like a no-brainer, of course you should take good notes. However, taking detailed, organized notes each class provides you with a comprehensive study guide for final exams. Using color-coding, drawing helpful sketches to provide visual representation, and making sure you have a separate section in your notebooks for each class are the best ways to ensure your notes are high quality. Adopting the practice of detailed note taking also provides you with the inadvertent benefit of being engaged in class, which will improve your comprehension.
10. Take Breaks
In college it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by school work. As useful as this list of tips may be, overly obsessing over your assignments can be a detriment to your grades. Prolonged stress can limit your ability to learn and worsen exam scores. While learning how to study in college, it is important to find the balance between being a successful student and taking care of yourself. Getting enough sleep, eating consistently and spending time doing things that make you happy are essential for your mental health and your academic performance. If you’re getting frustrated, allow yourself to take a break. Everyone who has ever been to college has struggled with their classes at one point or another.