Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to Study in College



Claiming that I devoted all of my time in high school to studying and doing homework would be a little far from the truth. I was by no means a slacker, and I always prided myself in my grades, but I always struggled to really buckle down and focus. I would rely on pure luck or common sense to get me through quizzes and tests, hoping for a grade in the 90s with all of my might. When you're not paying for high school, or in the case of a private high school, not out of your own pocket, it is a lot easier to not care so much about what happens to yourself when it comes to academics. This, however, changes the second you enter college and if you're not prepared for it, the sudden change can knock you straight onto your ass. Luckily, there are a few easy tips that you can follow to help ease the transition and get the most of the money you're putting in to attend university. With finals coming up, I figured now would be the best time to let you in on my studying secrets.

  1. READ YOUR TEXTBOOK. I wanted to make this size 600 font but nothing would let me. Seriously, read your textbook. I don't care if literally every other human being has told you that it is useless. They are not you and your textbook has a lot of information that you may have missed in a lecture while you were daydreaming about Harry Styles or that handsome boy in your Spanish class...
  2. Don't be afraid to use your highlighters. I highlight everything. Novels, textbooks, notes, lab instructions, whatever it may be. It clearly lets you know what is important from what is not. 
  3. Post it notes. Writing down what classes you need to study for on a sticky pad and putting it on the wall in front of your desk can help you keep on task. Plus, it is extremely satisfying being able to cross everything out once it has been finished. In addition to sticky pads, the post-it flags are also convenient for marking places in your notes to make easy access to a certain section that may be useful for a future exam.
  4. Flashcards. I know, I know. It's so two years ago, but flashcards are great for memorization of terms. If you are not too keen on the idea of writing out every single word and definition onto paper cards, check out Quizlet for a way to make online flashcards. In addition to the flashcards, they offer activities where you have to fill out the word when they give you a definition, make exams from multiple choice to matching to true and false, and test your reaction time with a speed race with terms. It's an interactive way to study, and the website takes a lot less time than dedicating hours to rewriting every definition out. 
  5. Study buddy. Study with somebody in your class, or go to your professor's office hours and ask them for help! Don't just rely on your brain to do everything. Sometimes it's nice to lean on somebody else for a second opinion or clarification. You learn a lot of new ideas from this kind of collaboration.
  6. Read aloud. I find it easy to grasp concepts when I say them out loud. I will admit to pretending to be teaching a class about the concept that I am trying to remember. I won't look at my notebook and will just try my best to explain it in my own words without looking. 
  7. Repetition. It may seem tedious, and completely useless, but I like rewriting my notes, and not just because I can't stand when they're not incredibly neat. Rewriting the concepts and definitions a second time helps me grasp and remember them even more. It's a great way to further embed the information into your mind if you want to take the extra time for it.
Of course these are not just limited to college! These could go for middle school and high school as well, though I don't recommend highlighting in your textbooks if you don't personally own them yourself like you would in college, or if you are renting them from your university's bookstore.

What's your favorite way to study, besides not studying at all?

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