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6 Tips on How to Study Effectively in College

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Studying. This word can be such a foreign concept to many students in college who didn’t quite anticipate the workload they would stumble upon.

Unfortunately, their remedy for lack of adequate study is a cram-packed study session in the late hours of the night and a half-conscious appearance in class. Does it work for some? It might. Is it wise? Absolutely, it is not.

Students go to college often forgetting the purpose for why they are there, and they substitute responsibility with reckless fun as a result of their new found freedom. They disregard the establishment of good habits, and as fast as their imprudent actions take them reeling, it all comes crashing headlong to the ground.

Though I do not mean to paint a dejected picture of a college student by the previous example, I do mean to heighten the importance of good study habits. It has occurred to me that many, many students just don’t know how to study and then gloss over the consequence of not studying enough. These are some basic tips that might point you in the right direction of studying habits if you find you are one who neglects their academic function:

1. MOTIVATE

Motivation can be thought of as the starting point for all actions, granted, there are exceptions. When you regard its definition, “to stimulate interest in or enthusiasm for doing something,” you understand that in order to be an effective studier, you have to be motivated, and in order for you to be motivated, you must find a way to drive yourself, push yourself, gain enthusiasm for the work that you are doing.

Some might say the solution for motivation is to form goals to strive toward. I agree wholeheartedly. In order to move forward you must have something to move forward to.

Start off by forming simple, easily achievable goals and work from there but have goals. Remember the money that will be lost, the opportunity that will be lost if you abandon your responsibility academically.

2. EDUCATE

The word “privy” is one of my favorite words, and when I get the chance to use it, I do. Allow yourself to become educated, privy to the information that is being passed on around you and to you. Read the material, pay attention in class, and take useful notes.

3. STUDY RESOURCES

I once read “colleges hold your hand, let ’em.” It is true. Colleges want you to succeed. That is why they accepted you. They chose you to be apart of their register because they felt you had potential to do well and thrive in the workplace as a result of your education at their institution. That is also why they offer a great deal of study/help resources to make sure you do not fall behind. However, it is your job to take advantage of such resources.

Study groups, TA (teacher assistants) review sessions, TA/professor help during office hours and many more resources can be available. Not to mention, your professor is looking out for the student who has gumption enough to consult a weak area in his or her studies and seek help.

4. PRIORITIZE

Seeking a balance in college living is, perhaps, the hardest thing for a young adult, but they can expect failure if they do not try to find symmetry between their social, rest, and study life, all of which are important. The question is which is most important? Are you there to learn or socialize? Would you really spend tens of thousands of dollars, uproot yourself from the comforts of home just to have fun with friends? That doesn’t really make sense, does it. You are there to learn, to educate yourself, which makes your studies the most important aspect of your college experience. (I do not negate, however, the importance of a social life, but your social life should NOT trump your studies.)

Prioritize your time to rest. Your body needs rest to function. Allow yourself time to sleep and feel well-rested. Your body produces a hormone called melatonin which robs the brain of consciousness when your body wants to sleep. How beneficial was your late-night cram when you can hardly stay awake to take the test? Your brain just cannot function on little sleep, and caffeine is not a substitute. It will make your body more chemically dependent and thus, more tired.

5. ORGANIZE

Organization can be as simple as a little calendar you keep in your purse or bag pack. The idea is to become an expert on deadlines, assignments, tests and other activities so that you might be able to manage your life appropriately. Keep books, notes and papers in order; know what to expect in your next class; and being on top of things by maintaining organization can alleviate stress-related anxieties.

6. STUDY TECHNIQUES

Appreciating the vast differences of people made me realize that some study habits might not work for others. While this may seem fairly obvious, a gentle reminder never hurts. Start with the basics in learning for yourself a study technique: are you an auditory learner? Are you a visual learner? What triggers your memory: color, lists, or hearing words? Adjust your habits according to how you receive and soak in information.

Next, find a place to study where you can be free from distraction. If you picture information like drops of rain penetrating your skin, picture a distraction like an umbrella. Noise, music, TV, Facebook, commotion of any sort can and will detract you from soaking up all the particulars from your study.


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tccj over 4 years ago tccj


Hello, I think your post is correct, however I think it is worth pointing out that very few colleges actually give the extra help you have mentioned here. Most colleges expect you to be independant and have very little time to help students. I personally think the point about making sure you attend class is only accurate to some extent, yes in high school too many student skip class and this should be avoided, but not all teachers are good enough, therefore at a higher level it is worth thinking about whether going to class is the best way to use your time. I did not go to any of the classes in my last 2 years of school because my physics teacher was pregnant(she was constantly running to the loo sick), maths was not putting in effort as he was due to retire, chemistry had family issues and biology what overburdend with all the other staffs inefficiencies. I had to do the work my self, which I found soooo much fun, I did 2 chapters of one of the endorsed textbooks each day and instead of travel time I could do papers. I gained more not going to class than going to class. I found these study methods powerful: 1. fix a schedule, - state the times you will sleep e.g. 12-6am -30 minutes before bed read a few notes. -get up and read your notes for 30 minutes - read the text book once, then re-read and make notes. Do all the text book questions in the chapter, then read that chapters notes later. FOCUS ON ONE AREA AT A TIME. - then you remember more. 2. for motivation to work rather than stay in bed, think of each day as a stepping stone, one thing done today is one one thing learnt. I also found the army method of removing all distractions permananly made me work, e.g. donate t.v and ipod to charity. Remove all beding exept for one pillow and one blanket, so you will be warm enough to sleep; but not to cozy so you can't get up in the morning. 3. Change study method every hour, whiteboard, then chalkboard, then notes, then making diagrams, then expain to someone else your learning, then typing and saying the material aloud.

code153 almost 6 years ago code153


Hello, I agree to all of your techniques there, but it didn't answer any of my questions, what I mean is that I already know everything listed above, but I just want to know how to absorb knowledge faster than average can do.

Nobby almost 8 years ago Nobby


Hello Dear, I completely agree with the techniques which are mentioned above, but along with the techniques there should be ways to initiate and improve these techniques in ourselves. I request you to suggest me how can I improve my skills so that I can study for long times. Thanks and Regards, Nobby.