I hope I’m not bursting your bubble, but college is a lot different than high school in many areas: classes, class time and schedule, professors, dorm living, etc. Today, however, I thought we would focus on the studying aspect of things!
For some people, the first test in college is a wake-up call. I can attest that in high school, the only class I ever really studied for was my math classes and a lot of people that I know didn’t have to study at all in high school. Well, in college that really doesn’t fly. The courses are harder and more comprehensive and to do well on these tests, you have to do the unthinkable…STUDY!
It may seem like a daunting task, especially if it doesn’t come naturally. Don’t worry though, I’ll give you some tips that can help you on your way to becoming a studying genius!
- Figure Out Your Learning Style
Everybody learns differently; some by listening or watching, while others need hands-on experience to fully understand the topic. Personally, I need to watch and do the examples in order to fully grasp a concept. So, when I would study for a trigonometry or stats test, I would watch the professor do a few examples and write each step down. Then, I would do practice problems over and over again; I found this study type to work best for me. Others, they may need to watch or even just listen to understand the topic.
For my chemistry, biology, or anatomy classes I would have to write down my notes, go over them multiple times, read, and then take online practice quizzes to study. This works best for classes that were more about memorization of processes. Now, again, everyone learns differently and it just depends on how you learn. So, figure out what learning type works for you and this will help you figure out how you need to study.
- Where to Study
Another thing to consider when studying is your environment. Find a place that allows you to focus with few distractions. Personally, I can study just about anywhere, but I prefer to have music playing in the background. Some people need complete silence, while others focus better when they have others around. Again, it depends on you and what works best for you.
- Take Notes
Notes are a very good way to review what you had gone over in class. This way when it is time to study for a test, you have examples, definitions, and other key notes to review. I personally like to use different highlighters and pens to denote different topics and bullets to keep my notes more organized and easy to read.
Now, in some of your classes, your professors will move through the material rather quickly and it will be hard to keep up when writing notes. What I recommend you do, is to look to see if your professor has posted that day’s topics. If so, go ahead and write some notes from that section. This way you can focus more on what the professor is saying and follow along a little bit better instead of rushing to write everything down.
- Study Groups
In many of my classes, we would form small study groups to help with assignments, labs, and to study for tests. This way, if you weren’t sure how to do something or don’t understand, you could ask one of your peers to help you. I found study groups helpful ahead of big tests because we were able to learn from each other, quiz each other, and have fun at the same time.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you don’t understand something, it’s okay! Don’t be afraid to email your professor or follow up with them after class. Most of them are really happy when you do because it shows you care. They can help answer questions and some may give you tips on how to remember concepts from the class. I will say that some professors are not as attentive to your questions or concerns and in this case would be better to ask a classmate or a tutor that is assigned to that particular class. Either way, you are doing what you can to better prepare yourself for that upcoming test!
- Treat Yourself
This is one of the most important things to remember: give yourself breaks! It is not a good idea to cram for a test and usually doesn’t work out when it comes time for grades. By giving yourself breaks, your brain can cement the facts into long-term memory. After breaks, you are able to focus more and learn more. Cornell Health says that
by taking a 5-to-60-minute break helps to refresh your brain, and also increases your energy level and productivity levels. After you are done studying, reward yourself for all that hard work you just put in!
Studying isn’t usually fun, but it is definitely worth getting a good grade on a test that you were worried about. Studying a little bit here and there in the week leading up to the test is a good thing as well. This way you aren’t stressing yourself out two days before the test. I was always taught that the outcome of your situation will be a direct result of the work that you put in. So, put in more hours studying for tests and you will be rewarded!
Remember, you can do it. Good luck!