Time-Saving Studying Strategies From Personal Experience

In college, you’ll be spending an incredible amount of time studying. That’s  a fact. If you’re like me, studying is not your preferred way of spending your precious time.

I struggle with studying.

I do it, but I hate spending hours and hours staring at my textbooks, memorizing notes, and trying to cram a quarter’s worth of information into my brain before a test. It’s stressful, tedious, and boring.

After a while I find myself distracted and frustrated by the material. Over the course of my freshman and sophomore year of college and through trial and error, I eventually figured out how to study efficiently and strategically.

Today, I study smart instead of simply studying hard.

Lesson #1 – It’s Impossible to Do It All

The first thing I learned is that it’s impossible to do it all. Taking multiple college courses while having to balance other responsibilities means that you won’t be able to read every single word from every single textbook you own. You won’t be able to write down every word that the professor says. You may not be able to attend every lecture.

The mistake I made early on was trying to do just that. When I read over every word for one class, I was sacrificing the time I could use to go over material for another class. It can vary from professor to professor, but it’s usually more important to have a firm grasp of the big ideas and how they connect instead of trying to retain minute details.

Lesson #2 – Pay Attention in Class

Instead of trying to make the impossible happen, I learned to save time by paying attention in class. Get enough sleep the night before so you’re awake and alert during class, and get rid of any distractions that may stand in your way while in class. It’s hard but putting away your cellphone and Facebook page for 1-2hrs can really make a difference.

When you pay attention in class, the concepts become easier to retain and recall, meaning that you won’t have to study for as long. I also take as detailed notes as I can. I don’t always get every word, but I get enough so that my bullet points aren’t too vague for me to understand, saving me the trouble of going back through the lecture slides.

Lesson #3 – Collaborate with Classmates

Finally, I learned that collaborating with others is an easy and effective way to save time while studying. I’m a big fan of having a study partner or a study group, because you can put your notes together to reconcile any discrepancies, teach each other, and have a more comprehensive set of notes at your disposal.

In one of my study groups, we split up the different sections of the study guide for each person to research in full, then met up to teach each other the section that we had studied. It saved me the trouble of having to go through the whole guide by myself, and allowed me to process what I had learned by explaining it to others. Try to find a study buddy or study group as early on in the semester/quarter as possible. It definitely helps!

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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