It's been a while since I was last in college, but I found some sound advice for you to follow. It requires discipline and commitment. The very best of luck to you.
1. Take good notes. Taking good notes involves dating each entry and keeping notes for different classes separate from each other. In addition, write down anything your instructor writes on the board. If the instructor took the time to write it out, he or she considers it important. If possible, try to take your notes in outline form. The organization of ideas is as important as the content of those ideas, especially when it comes to learning exam material.
2. Review your notes every day. Spend 30 minutes each evening going over notes from each class. Research shows that reviewing new material within 24 hours after hearing it increases your retention of that material significantly. In addition, reviewing material before the next class period allows you to identify points of confusion which will prepare you to ask the questions you need to ask before the next class.
3. Alternate study locations. Alternating study spaces is a more effective way to retain information. Although you may have a favorite spot to study, research suggests that it is better to change locations. Memory is influenced by location, so changing your study locale increases the likelihood of remembering what you learned.
4. Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential when it comes to effective study habits. When you’re tired, you think more slowly and tend not to retain as much information. If you want to get the most out of your study sessions, make sure you get enough sleep.
5. Use flash cards. Writing notes and definitions more than once will help imprint information in your memory. Write down important facts for a test and quiz yourself each day until you have mastered the material. Flash cards are convenient because they allow you to condense material and eliminate irrelevant information, allowing you to focus on only the most important details.
6. Join a study group. When working through a difficult problem set or assignment, a study group can prove very valuable. Dividing the work amongst your peers is also an effective method for reducing your workload and ensuring that you understand the material.
7. Don’t immerse yourself in subject matter. Contrary to popular belief, immersing yourself in a subject for long periods of time is less effective when it comes to memory retention than switching between topics. Take a break from each topic after 30 minutes and move on to another topic. You can come back to the topic after you have spent some time studying other topics. When you do revisit the topic, you will feel refreshed and ready to pick up where you left off.
8. Don’t wait until the night before an exam to study. Waiting until the night before an exam to study can lead to cramming which is not an effective studying technique. Cramming before an exam will increase the feeling of desperation which can lead to test anxiety. Instead, jot down a few ideas or facts that you want to have fresh in your mind when you begin the exam. Read through your list a few times when you get up in the morning and just before you take the exam, then put it away. This kind of memory reinforcement not only improves your performance on the test, it also improves your long-term memory of the material.
Resist the urge to procrastinate by reviewing your notes and class material regularly.
I studied Computer Science and I am currently pursuing my MBA. Something that has helped me a lot through the years is hand writing notes during lecture or when studying then typing them on your computer. This will help commit it to memory as well as having a virtual backup copy in case you loose your notebook. An additional tool that can be helpful is to teach it to someone else or imagine you have to convey the information to a relative in a straight-forward way. I also like to make goofy rhymes or sayings to relate the information so I can easily remember it.
I haven't finished college yet as I'm currently a junior; however, I have learned so much about graded material and how to study for classes in general. So, the first piece of advice I'd suggest is to check on your course syllabi and schedule every once in a while. The teachers give you those material at the beginning of each semester because they want you to read through it and understand what they expect from you. Also, there are often many hints for what to study for on upcoming exams and tests located in them as well.
Second, I'd suggest to determine what type of learner you are. For example, I'm a visual learner and so I love to use colored post-it notes and use craft supplies to help me study for upcoming exams. I feel that the more you are engaged with your learning style, the more you tend to retain information. So, if you're the type of person who likes to take notes, then you should definitely focus more on the writing aspect when it comes to studying. Or if you like to watch/listen to videos you should focus on learning like that.
Lastly, it's very important to write down or keep a planner with you to plan out your day of studying. I'm not much of a planner person, so I like to just buy journals that I can jot down my daily/weekly agenda in. Seeing your study plan on paper really helps, in my opinion, to alleviate stress. It helps you to think more rationally about where you can fit-in studying throughout your day and make other plans too.
So, I highly suggest following these three tips to make the best of your study regime for school. I hope this information helps.