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7 Study Tips For College Students

Friday, August 20, 2021

When it comes to the rigors of college academics, there is little room for debate. College courses are hard — often significantly more difficult than high school classes, even college prep work. To do well, it is important to attend classes; ask questions of your instructors and classmates when you don’t understand something; and stay on top of all assignments, papers and projects. While you may have been able to pass exams in high school without putting in much time or effort, doing well in your college classes will require studying, and practicing good study habits in general.

We’ve compiled this list of study tips for freshmen college students, but these tips can be used to improve study habits no matter where you are in your college journey.

Study Tips for College Students Who Want to Succeed

Just as there are different learning styles, there are also different approaches to studying. What works well for one person may not work as well for another. Generally, though, the following college study tips and organization suggestions have been implemented successfully by many college students and graduates.

1. Use a planner or calendar. Remembering your course syllabus due dates for assignments, projects and exams can be difficult if you don’t adopt an organized approach to managing them. Use a planner or calendar (paper or electronic) to stay on top of deadlines and deliverables. This can help you see the bigger picture so you can stay on top of your responsibilities for each of your courses, as well as help prioritize and manage your work effectively.

2. Choose your study environment carefully. Whenever possible, try to study somewhere other than your dorm room or bedroom. Find a location where you can sit comfortably, with no (or minimal) distractions to study. It can also be helpful to alternate between two or three study spots. A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention and focus.

3. Determine when you will study. Time management is important for almost everyone, but it is arguably most important for busy college students. You will need to work your study schedule around your class schedule — and work your class schedule around your other responsibilities. Set aside specific time blocks for studying and completing homework, and put these in your planner or calendar. You will be less likely to skip study sessions when you’ve planned them. Before you know it, studying will be a habit.

4. Consider forming a study group. It may seem counterintuitive to study with other students because you are responsible for your grades. There can be significant advantages in partnering with other college students for study sessions. These can take place in-person on campus or at an off-site location such as a park or coffee shop, but you can also arrange online group chats with fellow students.

You can help one another understand the course material. Just be careful to make the focus of these gatherings your coursework/exam preparation rather than spending most of the time catching up on the latest gossip or entertainment news.

5. Take good notes in class. Taking thorough, accurate notes during lectures can give you important reference information that you can then use to study more effectively after class. Date your notes and keep them separate and organized. It can be difficult to organize your notes in an outline format during class when you are focused on paying attention and jotting down key information shared by your instructor.

After class, take the time to reorganize your notes. You may also want to consider making flash cards to help you retain key information. The act of writing down (and re-writing) your notes can help you retain what you’ve captured.

6. Preserve your health. The pressure to get good grades in college and to perform well on assignments, projects and exams can be high. It is common for college students to feel stressed and overwhelmed, especially during midterms and final exams.

Understand that this is normal, but be proactive about taking care of your mental and physical health. Take study breaks regularly to stretch your body and give your mind a rest. Be sure to also stay hydrated, eat nutritious foods and get enough sleep.

7. Don’t cram for tests. This is, perhaps, one of the most important exam study tips for college students. Many students think they need to pull “all-nighters” before exams, drinking coffee and reading over notes until the wee hours of the morning. You’re not likely to learn anything this way. You can improve chances of success by getting a good night’s sleep before your exams and reviewing your notes the morning of the test.

By using some or all of these tips to study better in college, you can improve your overall experience — and likely your academic performance. At Generations College in Chicago, we are committed to helping foster the success of students enrolled in our two-year associate degree programs. Of course, we expect students to do the necessary work and study course materials, seeking assistance from our student success center when needed.

Contact us today for more study tips for online college students as well as for traditional on-campus learners.