That's a great question and I applaud your self-awareness. There are a couple of simple things I recommend that might pay big dividends:
- Master time management and limit distractions. The first step is to get into a routine. Eat at similar times, get enough sleep, exercise, and have blocks of time for studying built around your classes. There are a lot of techniques to make your studying more efficient. One I like is called the Pomodoro Technique. Let's say you are completing a reading assignment for a class or writing a paper. Set a timer for 25 minutes. During those 25 minutes, the only thing you focus on is finishing the reading or studying. Do not allow any distractions. I like this technique since it forces you to break down bigger tasks into more manageable chunks and it forces you to take breaks, which helps keep your mind fresh. If you're looking for some helpful items that can limit the number of distractions in your life, check out some of the sites and apps I linked in the suggested next steps section.
- Take a disciplined approach to studying. I'll give you a rundown of my personal approach to help kickstart your brainstorming for how to build on your current study habits. I was a big note taker or highlighter (depending on how long much reading I had to do) and that was my first level of studying. I also worked hard to grasp how to correctly answer any homework/quiz/test problems before moving on to new material. If I needed to, I would ask my teachers/professors questions before or after class or during their office hours. When it came time for big exams, my first step was always to review my notes. After that, I would rework homework problems/practice quizzes/prior tests and follow up with my teacher/professor about any questions I had. I had to work really hard to master subject matter prior to a test - I was definitely not able to just read the book and take the test. Whatever college you attend will have resources for you to help prepare you for tests and examinations. I highly encourage you to reach out to your professor, your peers, or tutors if you find you are struggling with any of the course material.
I hope this helps. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have more questions. Good luck!
Jacob recommends the following next steps: