Going off to college for the first time can be a daunting ordeal for many students. Leaving home, being away from family and friends and sharing a room with someone you have never met before is all a lot with which to deal. In addition to those stressors, you now need to focus on the increasing academic challenges of college classes
Below are 10 study tips to help you manage your new life in college.
1. Balance work and life. While studying is an important aspect in college life, you do not have to devote all your time to hitting the books – in fact, it is unhealthy to do so! On the other, hand you should not spend every evening out partying. It is necessary to achieve a healthy balance between work and play. Allow plenty of time for work, but also make room for time to do the things you enjoy doing. Set work goals and then, after achieving them, reward yourself with “me” time.
2. Plan, plan, plan. College life is going to be very busy! Where in the world will you find the time to attend classes, study, make new friends, play sports, eat and sleep? While all of this sounds overwhelming, if you can sit down and plan it all out, you will soon realize that you have more time than you think.
3. What motivates you? One of the reasons college students drop out of college in their first year is due to lack of focus on academics, including too much partying. That is why it is important to focus on what you want to get out of college. If you know your goals for college, it will help keep you focused and on-track to meet those goals, and less likely to be distracted by the temptation to party excessively.
4. Seek study resources. Make use of all the study guides and resources available both on and off campus. Take advantage of tutoring sessions and ask your professor for help and clarification on any points of which you are unsure.
5. Study with others. Find other students in your class with whom to study. Research indicates that students who study with other students make better grades, and studying with others is motivating, since you are all sharing the same experience. Teaching a concept to another person also reinforces your understanding of the material. Be careful, though – studying can turn into socializing, so remember to stay focused and not let your study partners become distractions.
6. Establish a routine. Your study area should have a desk or work table, a comfortable chair and good lighting. This area needs to be free of distractions and not an area where you do other things, like sleep or watch TV. Allow some time during the same day of the class to review the material presented in class. Plan on spending at least one hour studying, maybe two, for each hour you spend in class.
7. Make notes each week. Summarize a week’s worth of notes at the end of each week. This will help you to refresh your memory on each week’s material. When studying for your exam, you can then go back and study your weekly summaries. This will save you time and alleviate cramming for an exam. Consistent preparation and studying is much more effective and stress-free.
8. Begin with the easiest. If you begin studying for your worst or hardest subject, you will become stressed and frustrated. By starting with the subjects you feel most comfortable with, you will gain confidence and increase your motivation. The same logic applies to taking an exam – start with the questions you find easiest and progress to the more difficult ones.
9. When are you most productive? Some find they study better in the morning, while others find they study more productively in the evening. Find the time that is best for you and plan your time accordingly.
10. Remember to take a break! When studying, take a break for 5-10 minutes every hour to rest your brain and stretch your arms and legs.
Resource: Top 10 Study Tips for College Freshmen this Year by Julie Samuel