Being a freshman is exciting, but don’t let the fun take over your studies. There’s no denying that your days, schedule, classes, and study regime in college or university will be significantly different from when you were in high school. Late night classes, early morning study sessions, and part-time employment are only a few of the many things you have to juggle. More importantly, you don’t want one thing to jeopardize another and this is particularly true when it comes to your studies. So instead of cramming in a 3AM study session, start managing your time and following these four study tips so you can learn effectively well throughout the course of the year.
1. Review Regularly
One of the best study habits you can have is to begin studying well before a test or exam date approaches. Reviewing your lectures, textbooks, assignments and seminars on a regular basis will continuously feed your brain the knowledge, and at a steady pace. This can help you retain more information over the long run, and ultimately, prepare you for when exam week comes around. Get in the habit of doing the following right at the start of the year so you can succeed right until the end.
- Review your Notes Daily and Weekly
- Each day, take the time to review your notes and edit them as needed. Make sure they’re comprehensible and organize them with staples and sections so you can easily reference certain sections and topics as needed.
- Rewrite Notes and Content from Textbooks
- While you’re reviewing your notes, you’ll probably see plenty of areas that can be edited – so do just that! Rewrite your notes, and rewrite sections of your textbooks into your study notes so you have all the information needed in one organized place. Rewriting notes also helps to retain the information.
2. Organize, Identify and Integrate
Once you know what you have to study for an upcoming exam, it’s time to organize, identify and integrate the information. Although you may think that studying is actually the process of memorizing the information you need to memorize, it all starts with identifying what you need to know, and more importantly, identifying what you don’t know, and then, integrating it all together. All three are important this steps that should be done well prior to the exam date to ensure you have enough time to properly organize and integrate and study the information. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to do that:
- Identify and address topics you are having a hard time understanding
- Review old tests to see where you had errors
- Identify exam specifics so you know what to study for a specific date
- Make a study guide
- Integrate information specific to the lectures, textbook pages, and readings that will be on the exam
- Create an outline to condense an abundance of information into an organized system
- Focus on key issues, concepts and broad subjects
- Use concept maps along with text
3. Plan Ahead
Proper planning is a crucial to successful study, and as such, it is arguably one of the best study tips you could put into play. After all, if you don’t plan your time, you may not have enough time to properly study and put these study tips into action. There are a couple of things you need to consider to ensure you set up the perfect plan for your studying:
- Determine the best time to study
- Choose a study time when you are most awake and highly alert
- Determine a study place
- Find an area that is well lit, isolated, quiet and distraction-free for all your studying needs
- Dedicate time
- Schedule time to study and time for 5-10 minute breaks, and stick to it
4. Study Actively
Anyone can tell you to study actively, but what does that really mean? Since you have the prior studying tips down pat, it’s time to move onto the successful study tips that will help you effectively retain as much information as possible:
- Study Groups
- Set up a study group 2-3 times a week for 60-90 minutes
- Establish rules to ensure time is spent studying effectively
- Designate a person per topic, and let each teach the material to the group
- Memorization Techniques
- Create flashcards
- Draw diagrams
- Use acronyms, analogies, keywords and mnemonics
Studying isn’t always fun, but it doesn’t have to be dreadful, exasperating, or ineffective. Follow these four study tips and prevail well throughout your course of education.