Doing well in college really depends on developing a set of productive everyday studying habits. While in high school it was easy to get away with cramming before a test, the sheer amount of information in college would not allow it. Here are some tips on how to stay on top of things as an undergrad.
1. Schedule your study time
It will sound a bit too OCD for some, but this is a great way to make sure you get all of your coursework done properly and on time. Plus, it will allow you to enjoy the rest of your time without obsessing over assignments and reports due. Just think about it as a special class created specifically for you.
2. Use the syllabus
Many people underappreciate syllabi as study tools. However, they include a wealth of information from professors’ office hours to deadlines and dates of quizzes. A tutor I know actually included a week by week description of chapters that need to be read and materials that will be included in the tests just to give his students an advantage.
3. Take notes of everything
Your memory might be great, but you can’t rely on it exclusively. Having a planner might take a while to get used to, but it is something you’d be able to refer to anytime there’s confusion. It also allows students to have more free time for things they might want to get involved in. Pro tip: it doesn’t have to be a paper planner. Try the digital variety if that is more up your alley.
4. Set concrete goals
You won’t achieve anything if you don’t know what to achieve. Making goals will give you a sense of purpose as well as a quantifiable way to measure success. Whatever you aim for academically, recreationally, or in your personal life, it becomes clearer and more attainable when written down.
5. Use tutoring services
There is nothing embarrassing about not getting a certain concept right away. This is why it is called learning. Even the smartest students attend study groups or tutoring sessions, usually headed by the upperclassmen knowledgeable in a particular subject. If after attending one of these gatherings, you still don’t feel confident in your abilities try asking your professor for help during their office hours.
6. Dedicate a part of each day to your studies
Sometimes regularity matters more than intensity. I know people who study immediately before the test and do fine, but the knowledge they manage to squeeze into their heads doesn’t really stay there. On the other hand, looking through your notes or doing a bit of reading every single day produces better results and does not stress you out as much.
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