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What's a good college study routine?

There are many different ways to study in college but i've heard that spending hours staring at material isn't very effective. What would be a good study plan to follow when studying for an important college exam/quiz? Should there be breaks, if so how many and of what duration?
#college-life #studying-tips #study-skills #time-management

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Andrea’s Answer

Hello Noelia,
Excellent question. Success in college takes discipline and excellent time management skills. Obviously, some courses will require more time and effort than others. But you will cover a large amount of material, and possibly only have 2-3 tests or graded assignments, which means each test or assignment will cover a large amount of material, which means studying the night before the test will not be sufficient. It's very important to review material on a regular basis, rather than waiting to study right before a test. That was one of the biggest lessons I had to learn. You have to study as you go, and review the material as you go, otherwise it gets overwhelming. So, no procrastinating or waiting until the last minute. Also, my high school French teacher told me that the number 7 is key, in that if you look at something 7 times, there is a good chance you'll commit it to memory. That sounds like a lot; but actually it's much easier to study by briefly reviewing something multiple times, rather than trying to cram it into your brain over several hours the night before a test. I used this tactic in PA school. We would get tons of packets of medical information that we had to memorize. I tried to read each packet at least 7 times.....seemed to work for me.
Thank you comment icon Rule of seven? That's very interesting I'll definitely keep it in mind thank you! Noelia
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Kim’s Answer

Noelia,

Hi! Studying for an exam starts very early. Good study habits are essential to getting good grades! So, my advice is to do all readings prior to the class they will be discussed in. This way, the material will make more sense as the professor talks about it. Take notes during class. Before the next class, review the notes, rewrite them if necessary, and synthesize them with the readings. Look for inconsistencies, and work to resolve those points, making sure you understand them. Make timelines, diagrams, outlines, flashcards, etc. . . any study tools to help you. Then, before the next class, do the next reading assignment. Staying on track like this will make studying easier.

Okay, so now it is exam time. You need to know when your brain functions best. Studying in the evenings won't work if your brain is not engaged! You are correct, you can't binge study! Please take this free on-line course, Learning how to Learn, which is a top-rated course. It will help you understand the learning process, breaks, retention, etc. I wish you the best! Kim
https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn


Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the response! Noelia
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Rachel’s Answer

<span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>



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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Noelia:

Many students realize that their high school study habits aren’t very effective in college. This is understandable, as college is quite different from high school. The professors are less personally involved, classes are bigger, exams are worth more, reading is more intense, and classes are much more rigorous. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you; it just means you need to learn some more effective study skills & habits. Here are a few ideas for active studying:

• CREATE A STUDY GUIDE BY TOPIC - Formulate questions and problems and write complete answers. Create your own quiz
• BECOME A TEACHER - Say the information aloud in your own words as if you are the instructor and teaching the concepts to a class
• USE EXAMPLES - Derive examples that relate to your own experiences
• CREATE CONCEPT MAPS - Create concept maps or diagrams that explain the material
• DEVELOP SYMBOLS - Develop symbols that represent concepts
• FOCUS ON BIG IDEAS - For non-technical classes (e.g., English, History, Psychology), figure out the big ideas so you can explain, contrast, and re-evaluate them
• WORK THE PROBLEMS - For technical classes, work the problems and explain the steps and why they work
• STUDY IN TERMS OF QUESTION, EVIDENCE AND CONCLUSION - What is the question posed by the instructor/author? What is the evidence that they present? What is the conclusion?

Others have shared some great advice from the CV Prof community that is very insightful. Best of luck to you!

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Study 101: Study Smarter not Harder • https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/studying-101-study-smarter-not-harder/
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