The Do’s and Don’ts of Studying

January 24, 2012
Study Techniques for College Students

The beginning of the semester provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on your successes and how you arrived at them during the past semester. Chances are, you may be thinking about your study methods and how they worked, or didn’t work, for you. Trying new ways of studying this semester might be a great way for you to revamp your academic experiences and boost your GPA!

Whether you want to maintain your awesome GPA or improve it this semester, check out the dos and don’ts for study tips in college:

DO keep up with course readings throughout the semester.

Especially for all of the procrastinators out there, it’s easy to skip readings each week unless you have reading quizzes or assignments. Many college classes won’t involve reading comprehension quizzes or assignments in hopes of preparing students for the accountability challenges that they will face in the real world or in their career. Usually you’re given a syllabus with reading due dates and the dates of tests, papers, or projects. It’s completely up to you to manage your time wisely and keep up with your readings. Planning more than enough time for reading in your schedule each week is a great way to ensure you pace yourself throughout the semester. If you finish your reading early or in less time than allotted, you’ll have free time to spend on your activity of choice!

DON’T skim over readings or give them less effort.

While it is important to keep up with readings and complete them on time, you should not rush through readings or give them less effort than other course components to simply get them over with. It may seem insignificant to purchase books for class and actually read those books when you could potentially still get a decent grade in the course without ever looking at the book. However, readings are an important part of your learning and can help you remember theories and course content for years to come. Breaking your readings into smaller sections and writing notes or short summaries after reading every section can help with comprehension and time management.

DO find an effective study location.

Utilizing the library and traditional study spaces on campus might be highly effective for you. However, some students get stressed out or distracted in these study spots, so finding alternatives is important for their success. If you need a quiet study spot, such as when you’re doing reading assignments, empty classrooms or resource centers on campus are ideal. However, these spaces are not always available for you to use. If your surroundings are too noisy for studying, then try wearing headphones without plugging them in or listening to instrumental music. Check out these awesome playlists of instrumental music that rock (featured on 8tracks.com): “The 7 Years of Harry Potter” and “My Ultimate Study Playlist”.

DON’T study in your bed or somewhere too comfy.

When scoping out your study spot, it’s important to avoid your bed at all costs. As college students, our beds can often turn into our kitchen table, living room couch, and sleeping space. However, studying in your bed can both make you sleepy while doing homework and stress you out when you try to sleep. Reserve your bed for just sleeping and you won’t have any trouble feeling relaxed and ready to sleep at night when you’re done studying.

DO make flashcards.

Flashcards may be “so high school” for some students, but for others, they have worked for getting a 4.0 in a course. Whether you’re working on vocabulary words or concepts, breaking the material into flashcards can help segment the work and focus on the concepts that are tripping you up. Make the flashcards at least a week before your exam, so that you can keep them with you and study on-the-go or when you have unexpected downtime. Also, some of the best studying can happen when making the flashcards, since you’re rewriting concepts and learning as you go.

DON’T deprive yourself of sleep the night before a test.

“All-nighters” might seem like a typical part of college, but in actuality, you can avoid the sleep deprivation if you manage your time and study throughout the semester. It might seem like a good idea to stay up as long as possible and study, but during the test the next day, you won’t be thanking yourself. Getting enough sleep is essential to doing well on exams because despite how well you know the material, you still need to be awake and alert in order to complete the test. Scheduling a deadline or bedtime on the night before the exam can be effective in helping you get enough sleep, as long as you stick to it.

This semester, try some of these tips and experiment to find your study style! It might feel stressful to devote more time to academics, but you will be feeling great at the end of the semester when you get your grades back.

Happy studying!

Photo by billaday

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