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4 Tips on How to Study in College

by Ava-Rose Calderon

Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses Is Crucial for Doing Well

You may think that, since you made it to college, you know how to study and do well in your classes. Unfortunately, however, college classes operate on a completely different level than you may be used to — meaning that even the best students often have to learn how to study all over again. So just what should you consider when trying to figure out how to study in college?

1. Think about How You Learn Best

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Try to think about the times when something has clicked for you. Do you learn best by seeing things? By listening to things? By doing them yourself? By doing them with others? Are you able to focus more and retain more information if you have music or the TV on — or if you are in a quiet location? If you aren’t sure, ask essaywritercheap.org for assistance, or try studying in a variety of ways and take notes afterward about what learning style worked best for your brain.

Did you learn more by listening to a lecture? By talking about the material later with a study group? By going over your lecture notes quietly on your own? Or by working with a lab partner? Your brain likely prefers one way of learning over another, and figuring out how to make it easier for your brain to study and learn new material will make your college life much, much easier.

2. Think about Where You Learn Best

You may like hanging out in your room because people stop by and it’s comfortable on your bed, but that may not be the best place for you to study when all is said and done.

Think creatively about where else on campus you can study and see what clicks. Be open-minded, too; the places you think might be nonproductive just might be the perfect place to get some quality studying done. For example, studying in the library may sound boring, but if you can get more done by spending an hour in the library than you would by spending 2 hours in the campus coffee shop, that library hour is probably your best bet.

3. Figure Out What You Need to Know

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Once you figure out how and where you best learn, you’ll need to figure out what to learn. After all, spending time studying the wrong material can be just as detrimental as not studying in the first place. Before any major (or even minor!) study session, take a few minutes to:

  • Look at the syllabus. What material did your professor cover in class? What did you need to know last week? What did you need to learn this week? What do you need to be aware of next week? What kinds of things can you focus on how to make studying for any upcoming exams, papers, lab reports, etc., easier later?
  • Look at your notes from class. Whether your professor made them available online or you took them yourself, your notes from class are likely a strong indicator of what material your professor finds most important. What has been emphasized? What key concepts were covered? What didn’t you understand? What do you feel comfortable with already?
  • Talk to your professor during office hours. It may sound intimidating, but stopping by to talk to your professor during office hours can be immensely helpful. In addition to getting to know your professor a little bit, you’ll get some insight into what material you should focus on. The 10 or 20 minutes you spend talking to your prof. can save you hours of fruitless studying later — and possibly help your grade along the way.

4.  Figure Out How Much You Need to Study

Say it takes you 2 hours to go over and study the material in each new chapter in chemistry. And say you have 4 chapters to review before your midterm next Friday. Since you’ll need a good 8 hours to study and learn the material, make sure to allow enough time in your time management system between today and exam day. It may be an hour a day or several multi-hour chunks, but at least you’ll know how much time you’ll need and can then plan accordingly.

Make Study “Appointments” with Yourself – and Keep Them

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One challenge of college is that there is nearly always something exciting going on somewhere on campus. So while it can be tempting to head off and do something else while you’re supposed to be studying, remember that there will always be something fun to do but that you’ve made a study appointment with yourself that you must keep.

Treat your study sessions like you would doctor’s appointments; they might be a little inconvenient and a pain in the brain at times, but they’re important for keeping you productive and on track. Keeping appointments with yourself should be held as one of your top priorities given the investment you’re making in yourself during your time in school. After all, if you don’t prioritize your academics during your time in school, who will?

Increase Your Chances of Success in College

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Getting into college is great, but how can you make sure that you stay in? All that hard work in high school, studying late at night, working on college applications, and nervously prying open the admissions letters will be for naught if you don’t graduate!

Demographic statistics can play a role in graduation rates. For example, on average, more women complete a bachelor’s degree in four years than men at a 43.8% rate to a 32.9% rate for men. Generational differences are also important, as only 27.4% of first-generation college students graduate as opposed to 42.1% of students whose parents have college degrees.

But there’s little one can do to change their sex or their family history, so the question remains: how can you help yourself to play the odds at being more successful in your college education? Below are some tips that can stack the odds in your favor:

  • Live on campus for at least the first year of college. Students that spend time with other students on campus in the midst of the activity can help them to remain focused if they’re the type that works well in a collegiate atmosphere.
  • Be proactive about college admittance. Many schools will allow for early admission decisions if you apply in the correct manner and by the correct date. Statistically speaking, the early bird gets the college degree!
  • Do your research. Those that research the colleges they plan on attending in advance stand a better chance of successful graduation. The interest and attention required to perform meaningful, steady research bodes well for the future college students that engage in it.
  • Participate in clubs. Looking into various college clubs with an eye for attending at least some of them improves graduation rates. Participating in activities within the school fosters a level of interest that often carries over into classes and studies.
  • Manage college costs. Students that pay attention to college expenses and choose the school that best fits their interests and budgets can be a great help in making sure that undue financial strain does not hamper a promising college education.
  • Think about graduating and getting a job. The statistics favor those that take an active interest in their eventual graduation and the rates of graduates from various colleges obtaining desirable positions in the workforce. There’s nothing quite like the future to instill a sense of motivation!

Perhaps the most important factor involved in seeking the right education and applying to college is to plan for success. The money, time, and admissions process mean little if the degree is left uncompleted. Do your best to ensure success before and during college.