College and University Blog

6 Tips on How to Study Effectively in College

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.