Study Tips For College Exams

Let me just come out and say this—college is much more difficult than high school academically. The content will be higher level, the workload will be heavier, the professors will be less lenient and exams will weigh much more on your grade.

In high school it was possible to be a “bad test taker” and still get decent grades by making up for that with homework and participation. In college this is much less likely because many college courses will only have a midterm and a final. If you don’t do well on a single test it will affect your grade in the class and your overall GPA.

Since exams are this important in college, it is crucial that you study for them to the best of your ability. Here are some tips to make your study habits up to par in college:

Don’t Cram

You will hate yourself during finals week if you fail to keep up with the class material all quarter. By putting off reading the textbook and going over notes, you are making the process of studying that much harder for yourself.

It is better to acquire knowledge on the subject rather than memorize information for a test and immediately forget it afterwards. In order to do this you should devote some time after each class to go over what you learned that day or week. That will break the information up into more manageable pieces and will keep your mind stimulated.

Go To Office Hours

Hit the ground running first quarter freshman year by utilizing every resource that is available to you. Teachers arrange designated office hours so that students can come get more personal assistance with any questions or misunderstandings that arise during class or from the text.

Do a good majority of your studying before the last office hour before your test. This way you can write down anything that you are unclear on and have your professor explain it to you during office hours.

Study With Friends

Planning a study group is one of the best ways to motivate yourself and your friends to study for an exam. If you plan to study with a group you will be held more accountable to actually follow through. The combined knowledge of everyone in the study group will ensure that most topics are understood and covered.

If you are struggling to understand the course material, a study group will be beneficial because someone can explain it to you in plainer terms. If you feel confident with your comprehension of the course material, a study group will also be beneficial because teaching is one of the best ways to learn. If you understand the material well enough to teach it to the other people in your study group you understand it well enough to do well on the exam.

Write It Down

This is one good study habit that I definitely need to adopt. I am the kind of student who only brings my laptop to class and studies off the computer come time for the exam. I will be the first to admit that this is not the best idea.

First of all studying on the computer is a recipe for procrastination because the Internet provides endless distractions. Second of all writing down your notes—even if this means copying them from your laptop onto paper—will help your brain remember what they said.

Study Elsewhere

Many people have a hard time buckling down and studying at home. There is no deadline pushing you to get things done when you are already at home. You will probably end up eating, showering and napping before you get around to studying.

It will help you study more efficiently if you go somewhere else like the library. Your mind will associate the library with studying and you will find yourself being very productive when you’re there. You can also set a goal of things to get done before you leave and it will push you to finish them.

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Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander

Natalie Alexander is a sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations. In her free time she enjoys traveling, dancing, exploring, swimming, laughing, shopping, napping, writing and spending time with her family and friends.
Natalie Alexander

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