Tips for Outside the Classroom
1. Develop a routine
Designate a place and time strictly for studying and accomplishing work. Giving yourself a specific time-frame and place will assist you in getting into "study mode". Try hard to keep these hours free in your schedule, only moving them if you have to. You will be surprised how much you can fit into about 2 - 3 hours of designated study time. Be sure to take small 3 - 5 minute breaks every hours to keep your mind fresh and relaxed. With any luck, developing a routine might even enable you to get ahead on your work!
2. Know What is Due When
Be sure to plan ahead. It would be a real shame if you found out you had two papers due the day before they were due. To avoid this, keep a watchful eye on your syllabus and work on these papers as you have time. If you prefer to write papers all at once, try to do it all during your scheduled study session.
3. Read Ahead!
Professors schedule reading in the syllabus for a reason! Usually the reading is assigned one day ahead, so that what you read can be discussed during the next meeting of that class. Many professors like to pull pop quizzes from the assigned reading. It would be terrible to have your grades suffer all because you did not read a few pages. During especially long readings, you might be able to get away with skimming for main thoughts and points. Take notes on the reading for more reinforcement of the information.
Most professors say that the best and most productive student is a well rested student! Lack of sleep can cause fatigue, and loss of valuable information if you fall asleep during class. It is important to set a target time to go to bed each night. Realistically, somewhere in the realm of 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 am is a good time. It is preferable to get between 6 - 8 hours of sleep each night so that you can wake up and feel rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle another day of classes.
Tips for Inside the Classroom
1. Take notes
Taking good notes of the professors main lecture points will reinforce the information in your mind, and allow you to have something to look back at when studying for an exam. Many professors make it easy to take notes via the usage of handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and black/whiteboards. Don't try to write down everything the teacher says. Copy the main points and explanations. If you can, compare your notes to those of another student to pick up anything you may have missed.
If you don't understand a concept or just need clarification do not be afraid to ask your professor during class. If the professor prefers not to go about things that way, approach the professor after class or during their office hours. Many professors think highly of the students who seek out their help. It shows a desire and willingness to succeed. Most professors are happy to take the time to make sure you understand what you need to.
As soon as class ends, just take a minute to read over your notes and what you just learned. This will reinforce the information and keep it fresh in your mind. Do little one to two minute review sessions like this as you have opportunity throughout the day. This will allow you to pick up in the next class where you left off in the last class.
This is far from the "be all, end all" - end all, be all" for college study tips. We would love to hear about which study habits help you remember information and prepare you for the next class. Study well, work hard!