When you are in college, you’ll be exposed to all types of study habits. Some people study best in groups, while others prefer to cram in solitude. Some students study every single day, while others have never studied before in their lives. Whatever works for you, do it. Just know that however you choose to study, your habits can always be made better.
Here are five time-tested measures that you can take to improve your college studying habits:
1. Go to class and take better notes than anyone else in the room
When you take the best notes in the room, the benefits are endless. When working on assignments and studying for tests, you’ll have a complete record of your lectures to refer back to. You will retain more information, because you are hearing, processing, writing and visualizing all at the same time. If there’s a dull tangent, or if the entire lecture is boring, you’ll have a way to distract yourself. Staring at the wall is much worse than having good notes from a tediously uninteresting class.
2. Review your notes immediately after your classes
Take these award winning notes that you’ve written, and digest them immediately after your lecture. This method works wonders, because the more imprinting you do, the more information you will retain in the long run. You may think that your goal is to do well on the next test or assignment, but in reality, your aim is long-term knowledge preservation. Reviewing your notes immediately after class makes the material more adhesive.
3. Do your homework
Homework keeps you informed and in the loop. When you to your homework on time, you can participate more freely in class. You can follow lectures more closely, because you have already introduced yourself to the subject matter. Stay on top of your work. Don’t let it pile up. Just tackle a little bit every day and you’ll get it all done.
4. Keep a separate notebook for book notes, or better yet write all over you books!
When you read your course materials, take notes. Highlight phrases that you’ll want to use in future assignments. Write your questions down in the margins. If you take notes on the material you read, you can easily refer back to them when it’s time to study for an exam or write an essay. Keep an ongoing log of your thoughts in order to organize them easier in the future.
5. Flash cards
Flash cards can be very tedious and very helpful. When you make flash cards, you instantly increase your familiarity with the material you are studying. As you write down terms and definitions, you are marinating your mind in the information. As you look back on these visual reminders, you can easily recall all of the imprinted information. Flash cards work well for memorizing keywords and their meanings. They are especially useful for science and foreign language courses.
Don’t let anyone else tell you the best way to study. You need to discover what works specifically for you. Through trial and error, you will come up with the perfect method. Realize, however, that there is always room for improvement.
About the Author: Chris Stout is a frequent contributor to CareersandEducation.com. Chris Stout is a feature writer that covers topics relating to MBA Programs and online colleges.