Study Smarter, Not Longer.
Be Strategic About Studying
If you have not thought about when, where, and how you study most effectively then you are about to start. You need to have self-awareness about the environment that sets you up for success and allows you to study most effectively and efficiently. Do you need some background noise? Do you need complete silence? Is blaring that dubstep actually helping? Are you studying at coffee shops and in other public places because itʼs fun socially or because that really is a productive environment for you? Be honest with yourself – do not waste your valuable time.
Differentiate When Necessary
Many people struggle in college because they are highly relational and want to be around people all the time, but that is the worst place possible for them to try to study. You can easily cheat yourself out of quality study time if you are not willing to make some sacrifices in order to study in the best way you can. Some types of studying may need different settings. If a class requires large amounts of reading, you may need to be in a quieter place during times you study for that specific class. For classes that are more conceptual, studying in groups and quizzing each other may be the best format. It is okay to specialize and customize the way you study for different classes.
Dear Social Butterfly
Some people are “always studying,” but they are not really engaged in the material. They will stop and talk to people every 12 minutes and never get in a rhythm. Do not take the unnecessary risk of wasting your study time by getting distracted. Many times, students could study less overall if they would just put aside everything else and get quality studying done. What takes some disciplined students 3 hours takes others double or even triple the amount of time due to a lack of focus.
There have been countless and exhaustive research studies done concerning college students and the most effective studying tactics. The truth is, whatever is best for you is what you should do. What works, especially in the hard classes? If a strategy works in a class that you find difficult, it will very likely work great for classes that come easier to you. Maybe youʼre a flash card girl. Maybe youʼre the guy that highlights 93% of his entire textbook in yellow, pink, and green.
You may take thorough notes in class or just write down main ideas and read the chapters later. The only two certain, non-negotiable factors are focus and time. You must put in the effort to reap the reward.
If we had to recommend one study strategy above all it would be what we call the “Learn, then teach” method. By getting ahead in the material and understanding it a week or more prior to each exam you’ll be able to shift to teaching others what you’ve learned in the days leading up to the exam. This practice deeply ingrains the material you’ve both learned and taught. This may not be realistic for certain classes, but in most courses it’s highly effective.