As exciting as college life can be, it is important not to let your academics fall by the wayside. Here are 5 great study tips that can make your transition into college smooth and successful.
1. Start Early.
Ask most people, and they will tell you that working up to a big exam is much easier when you start early. If you begin studying 2 weeks before a scheduled exam, you could study in 20-30 minute intervals each day. How is this not better than downing two energy drinks that look like acid, studying from 9pm-5am, getting two hours of sleep, going to the test, probably get a bad grade, and the next day forget everything?
In many cases, my attention span will not last more than two hours, and that can even be stretching it. I do not know how people can cram the night before exams.
2. Know Your Schedule.
A good piece of advice that I got a while back was to add all of your exam and due dates to your planner upon receiving your syllabus. That way, you can see from week one what your hell weeks are going to be, and what weeks look like pretty light. So, if you have four exams in one day, and that has happened to me before, obviously you are gong to have to work out some kind of schedule when to study. In this situation, doesn't starting early look much more attractive than cramming?
3. Consider Flashcards.
Flashcards have always been a great study tool for me whenever I really have to nail vocabulary or tough concepts. Writing them out in itself is a good way to study. Once you have them, it only takes a few minutes, deepening on how many cards you have to run through a whole stack and figure out which items you know well, and which you do not. Using flash cards can be better than simply reading, because you can't cheat, and you really need to be able to come up with an answer in your head.
4. Maintain a Good Note Taking System.
Every student is different, and each one must discover what note taking system works for them. I can't tell you what system will work for you, but I can tell you some that probably won't. They include:
- Sleeping in class
- Not taking any notes
Outlining is popular, and I kind of do that. Here is my system, which is a bit time consuming. Maybe it can help you.
I keep a yellow legal pad for each class. I bring that pad to class and take extremely rough notes of basically everything the teacher said in order to be sure I have all of the material covered. People think I'm nuts. It's awesome.
Later on, I will use either a spiral bound notebook or Microsoft OneNote to recopy the notes in a more legible outline format that utilizes underlining and highlighting to indicate important material. This has proven very successful for me, as recording the notes in itself is a method of studying, and reviewing them later on is simple and organized.
At the end of the day, the goal is to establish a system that will help you easily study, understand all key points, and above all, help you learn efficiently.
5. Consider Recording Your Classes.
I am surprised that so few students take advantage of this. On basically every smart phone, there is a voice recording application. You can bring your phone to class, sit your phone on your desk, and simply hit record when the class begins. When the class session is over, you have your professor's entire discussion in a handy audio file. Go back and listen to it. You will be surprised how much of it you didn't catch in class. This is an amazing study tool.