We may still be on summer break, but here at Society19 we believe it’s never too early to prepare to have a great start of the school year. Even though it’s nice to live in a world of lazy mornings spent tanning by the pool and partying until dawn, August 20th (first day of classes at USC) will be here before you can say “Fight On!” Sometimes it’s hard for us to come back to reality and start on the right foot from the get-go, but with some careful preparation and dedication it can be done. From prepping for big exams to getting organized right at the start of the semester, we have all the tips and tricks you need to make the most of your time in the classroom at USC. Here are some tips to help you study!
1. Create a system for your notes
Have you ever gotten that sinking feeling when you’re sitting in a lecture and you find yourself getting left behind the pace of the notes? Well you’re in luck, because often the solution to all of your note-taking problems is simpler than you’d imagine. Create your own organizational note-taking system where you separate information in the most practical and natural way for you. Whether it be through color coding or filled with diagrams and sketches, devising your own system is a key piece in staying on track in lecture hall. This is one of the best tips to help you study!
2. Have a quiet, clean workspace
Often times it can be hard to find your own secluded corner of campus to catch up on some class readings or to work on a powerpoint, but finding that ideal workspace can be a big factor in improving your focus. If you plan to do a lot of your studying in your own room make sure your desk isn’t cluttered and that you have plenty of free space to spread your work out on. If you’re studying in public a lot, in the library for example, I recommend bringing headphones and sitting at the emptiest tables to block out the outside world and optimize your focus time.
3. Work in small increments of time
Staring aimlessly at the computer screen or practically drilling holes into the textbook with your eyes — we all know what it’s like to study for hours and still feel as if you just wasted 3 hours and didn’t grasp any new material. Instead of pushing your brain to the max and studying for extremely long periods of time, study for smaller chunks at a time and take little breaks in between. A great focus tool that I use on my computer is Tomato One, which is essentially a timer that you set for each round and it gives you a timed break at the end. It’s super easy to use and definitely helps with effectively managing your focus time. This is one of my favorite tips to help you study!
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4. Find the memorization tools that work for you
Everybody’s brain is different and we all thrive in different situations, so finding the right tools to help you with memorization before a big exam is really important! There are many study help options out there whether you’re more of a visual learner or you’re more hands-on. Tools like Quizlet allow you to make online flashcards and master the set through review challenges, while you could always go the old-fashioned route and copy the key points of your notes on a separate piece of paper to refresh your memory. Just remember figuring out what works best for YOU is the first — and most important — step!
5. Put your electronics on airplane mode
For our final tip we have something that may seem like common sense, but is much harder said than done. Taking a break from social media, text notifications, and just glancing at your screen is essential if you really want to be productive. Something that works for me is putting my phone on the other side of the room or in a drawer, so it is less accessible and easier to stay off it! Definitely use this as one of your tips to help you study!
What are some of your tips to help you study? Let us know in the comments!
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Erica Hur is a student majoring in Communication at the University of Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys food photography, bullet journaling, and going on trips to Disneyland.