Spoiler: College classes are typically tougher than high school classes. So you want to make sure you’re totally on top of your studying game. Luckily, we’ve got some tips to get you started…
There’s not one magical, perfect, universal way to study for your college classes. Effective studying is simply a matter of habits and preferences. Much depends on your individual learning style and inclinations. So what works for another student may not work for you. And what works for one class may not work for another (think math and history).
That’s why it’s super important to try to figure out what works for you and to ask for help early in the semester if you’re experiencing difficulties with your study habits:
What’s the most critical part of effective studying? You have to attend every single class, every single time it meets. There’s simply no replacement for missing class. If you must be absent due to illness or an emergency, let your professor know and request to meet with him/her about what you may have missed. (Just know that many faculty have zero tolerance for absences except for emergencies.) Also, get to know some of your classmates so you can all support each other by sharing notes when someone absolutely must be absent.
The hardest part of studying is that you need to develop it into a legit habit. Try these tricks to set up a routine that you consistently follow…
The actual environment where you hit the books is a huge part of effective studying. That includes the location and/or space, as well as the conditions of that space (like noise levels and type of seating). All of that should be determined by whatever works best for you. And the location might vary for the different classes you’re taking—the quiet part of the library may be perfect when studying for literature or English, while the open group areas may be better for working on math problems, so you can whisper to yourself the steps to solve the problems.
Just be sure to totally remove distractions from your location/space. For example, always set your phone to silent mode while studying. Setting an auto-reply to alert your family and friends that you’re unavailable because you’re in the learning zone is a good way to let them know that this is a priority (and you’re not just ignoring them).
Time management is also massively important when it comes to effective study habits. You’ll need to figure out what time of day works best for you to study for a particular class. Some protips on the topic:
There are even specific study methods you can try out. The SQ3R method is one of the most common studying techniques—and it’s considered one of the most effective for comprehension and retention of material learned.
The SQ3R method can take some time to learn at first, but you’ll be able to do it quickly once you get the hang of it. And once you get familiar with the SQ3R method (or any other study methods you learn about from the experts on your future college campus), you may be able to develop your own similar technique.
So when it comes to becoming a pro at studying, just figure out what works best for you and helps you rock all your classes. Then keep working that magic til you’ve got a degree in your hand…