Improving Your Study Habits
Study habits are difficult to form, but they are very important for college students. When there may be days between classes, it is important to stay engaged in the course to perform well. Moreover, staying engaged means more than just reading and re-reading material for the class. You may memorize information that way, but it will not help you understand the information. Understanding is key in most college courses!
It may take trial and error, but forming good study habits is key to success in many courses. Look at these tips and customize them to what works for you.
Schedule It Out
As tempting as it may be, never leave studying until the last minute. If you cram for a test, you are more likely to forget the information. Instead, look at your schedule and section out time for studying for each class. This is proven to have a positive effect on grades.
Try setting aside two (or more) hours every day or every other day for studying. Stay consistent and adjust the amount of study time for each course. If one class requires more of your attention, put aside extra time.
While taking notes in class is helpful, studying should not consist of just reading over notes or re-reading chapters of a textbook. To actually learn and understand material, you need to engage with the material.
Instead of just reading over your notes, try using them to write out questions for yourself and answer them. Try explaining the material out loud. See if you can write out a summary of a topic in your own words.
Write out questions on one side of a flash card and answers on the other, and quiz yourself. Quizzing is a great method for improving understanding. However, go deeper than just writing out definitions and simple answers.
Try to write questions that are formatted the way your teacher formats them. If your professor asks a question in a lecture, write the question down and answer it. See if you can compare and contrast or connect concepts from the course.
It might be uncomfortable, but meet people in your classes. Try to find classmates to join a study group, they may have written down a note that you missed, or they may understand a topic better and can help explain it to you.
When you study together, do more than just studying in proximity to each other. You can take turns quizzing one another and asking each other questions. You can also practice explaining concepts to one another and checking if your explanation makes sense. Also, by studying together, you can help hold each other accountable and prevent procrastination and distraction.
Don’t study in bed. You are less likely to be focused and productive. Your bed should be a place of comfort and relaxation, don’t try to make it a place for learning! Instead, sit at a desk or table with your materials and without distractions. Or go a step further and get out of your space and avoid distractions like television and housework.
Environment affects learning, and studies show switching up study locations can improve learning. If you need quiet to study, go to the library and set up camp at a study table. If you like background noise and conversation, find a coffee shop or park to study. See if your campus offers any study rooms or tables and go there.