Study Tips for College Students: 7 Habits for Success

It’s possible you easily conquered tests and quizzes with little to no effort when you were in high school. I can’t even tell you the number of people I know who studied the night before or didn’t study at all and somehow aced the exams. That even happened for me a couple of times.

However, the stakes are much higher once you reach college and waiting until the last minute or not studying at all can lead you to disheartening consequences. You chose college, you worked hard to get where you are and you are paying for the classes you take. It’s so important to take pride in your work and not let studying fall by the wayside.

Studying can be an intimidating task. Trying to uncover the tips and tricks for yielding successful grades can be a tiring process, I know.

Below I have compiled a list of  study tips for college students that will surely put you at ease the next time you sit down to study for an exam or quiz.

Before You Sit Down to Study…

Manage Your Time

I can’t stress this one enough. One of the first steps in managing your time is to figure out how you want to spread your studying throughout the week.

  • I recommend splitting it into a couple days. This way you don’t have to spend hours upon hours at a time looking at the same material. Consider spending one hour reviewing one section of the material per day until the test. Or maybe split the material up into two days. Plan it in a way that works well for you and your schedule.
  • Also, never wait until the last minute. Cramming all the information into your head is only going to harm you come test time. Plan ahead in order to give yourself an adequate amount of time.

Go to Class

The best (and seemingly obvious) way you can introduce yourself to the material and process the information is by actually going to class.

  • Take copious notes.
  • Listen to what the teacher is saying. Oftentimes they will give you hints for the exam.
  • If the teacher puts up the class notes online, consider printing them out before class. This will help you follow along.

Skipping class or not paying attention is only going to hurt you and force you to fall behind. This is really the easiest step you can take toward studying in the right way.

Get Enough Sleep

It isn’t necessary for me to drown you in statistical facts regarding sleep and the sheer importance of it. Just be aware that lack of sleep can cause you many difficulties when it comes to do doing well in college.

When You Sit Down to Study…

Brainstorm Multiple Study Locations

Chances are you have locations that work for you in mind. Maybe you are an avid library studier or you prefer working in your dorm. Having a nice list of possible locations will help you veer away from potential boredom but will also give you options in case your usual place might not be the best place in the moment.

For example, you may usually spend your time studying in your dorm. You sit down to begin studying on a Monday night and discover that your roommate decided she needs to watch The Bachelor. In order to study successfully, you must free yourself from distractions.

Having multiple options are perfect when you find yourself losing hold of your normal study location.

Formulate Study Groups

This is a great way to liven up a study session. Sometimes studying by yourself just doesn’t work. It helps a lot to get the input of others. Not to mention, I’ve come to notice that I am able to retain certain facts just by something someone said. Everyone has different and fun ways of remembering certain things so it’s good to get in on it.

Create Flash Cards / Practice Tests

Flash cards are great for studying especially if you have to learn a lot of terms or names. Creating them may seem like busy work but you will actually get a lot of studying in just through the process of writing them out.

Another thing I like to do is create practice tests. Again, this is another great way to study while you create a tool for studying later on. Sometimes teachers will offer practice tests as well. Don’t just toss those to the side!

Free Yourself from Distractions

As mentioned before, don’t find yourself losing concentration because your roommate is being loud or because you decided to pop on Facebook in the middle of a study session. Try to avoid TV, the internet and friends who don’t have studying to do themselves.

Don’t waste your time by becoming distracted. If you set aside the time to focus on studying only, you will be much more successful.

Studying can be a tiring process, but it’s so worth the good grade in the end. If you find yourself having difficulties even after following the above tips consider the following:

  • Take a break. Go for a walk, run or do a small task that you need to get done during the day.
  • Turn on some voice free music in the background. Silence doesn’t work for everyone.
  • Ask your teacher for help. If you are seriously struggling on something, just ask for assistance. Part of managing your time early is so that you can ask for help if it’s needed.
  • Reward yourself. Allow yourself to catch up on last night’s episode of your favorite show if you study for an hour or buy yourself that cupcake from the shop down the street. Knowing there is something good at the end is a great motivation tip.

Try your best to avoid getting stressed out and use these tips to help you out. Studying is a major part of college and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Find out what works best for you and stick with it. Good luck!

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Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman is a senior at DePaul University working toward an English degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing. She also has a minor in Digital Cinema. Molly especially enjoys spending time with loved ones, listening to music, watching movies/television and playing with her dogs. She also has a passion for antiques, crafts, animals, photography and the great outdoors.