Perfect your study habits

By Jamie Linton, Brand Manager

The one thing most college students can agree about regarding high school is college is different in that professors are more lenient.  The one thing to note, however, is studying for exams is way more time-consuming, intensive and confusing than the tests we were given in high school.  On the bright side, at least in my experience, once you’ve taken one test for a class, you’ve taken them all. This means the most important thing you can do to be successful in a class is to perfect your study habits before it’s too late.  Here are the steps you can take to get it right the first time.

Use your resources

Talk to friends who have taken the class before or go on Reddit and Rate My Professor for advice on how to study for the class.  If you know how the tests are set up previous to taking them you can find the best way to study. Whether that’s rewriting your notes, making flashcards or annotating the readings, if you can gauge how detailed the tests are and what they’re primarily based off of, it’ll make you time studying more efficient.

Find an optimal environment

Sometimes the best study environment will be different for every class, and it’ll especially be different for every person.  Most people I know can’t study in their rooms, others like soft background noise like coffee shops and some people need complete silence to study.  Ensure you’re setting yourself up for success by being honest with what your needs are.

Consider your needs beforehand

Not only is environment important, but so are the supplementary aids students rely on.  If coffee makes you anxious and unfocused, try green tea (which has more caffeine than a cup of a coffee, without the crash).  If you need to have snacks nearby to keep you focused, don’t spend your entire night at the Undergraduate Library with virtually no food nearby.  

Give yourself time 

This doesn’t mean you have to spend a half hour a day studying for an exam two weeks before the test, but this does mean being honest with yourself and estimating how much time it’ll take you to get through the material. Procrastination is inevitable, but this doesn’t have to ruin your grades.

If you’re the type of person that waits until the last moment to study, using your resources to cut out studying unnecessary information is the most important step of this perfecting your study habits.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t know what you need from the get-go.  Most high schools don’t take the time to teach students how to study for tests, which means you’ll likely have trouble gauging the best methods for each class until at least the second exam.  Understand freshman classes account for this, and you’ll be OK by midterms if you put in the effort. Persevere, and good luck with exams!

Jamie is a junior in Media.

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