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How can I develop good study habits for college?

I have pretty much breezed through high school; I am graduating top of my class and aside from completing mandatory homework, I have never really had to study for any of my classes. Thus, I am not quite sure how to effectively study-- historically all I have had to do is take notes in class and give them a quick glance-over before the test. The few instances where I had to seriously study for a test this year, I still did not perform very well, and I think the reason for this lies in my study methods. How might I improve my study skills so I'm not wiped out by challenging college courses? #studying-tips #study-skills #college-advice


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Yvonne’s Answer

Hi Ciara,


Everyone learns differently. I think it is important for you to figure out which learning style works best for you. Visual learners learn best when information is presented to them visually through pictures, graphs and diagrams. If you are a visual learner, including mind map or flowcharts in your notes might help you learn better. On the other hand, auditory learners retain more information when it is presented to them orally. If you are an auditory learner, recording yourself saying the information and listen to them over and over again might be a good way to study. If you are a social learner, you might find yourself learn best when studying in a group. Having someone to study with you actually could benefit you as they may be able to explain to you a concept that make more sense to you. Besides, if you are the person explaining the concept to them, you could remember it better too. I hope you can find the perfect method for you, and good luck in your studying endeavors!


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Jacob’s Answer

Hi, Ciara,


I was extremely meticulous when studying in both high school and college. Yvonne definitely makes some great points about finding what type of learner you are - that will help you tailor your technique to make it most effective.


Generally speaking, 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.


Managing distractions is also a challenge for students and professionals alike. Email, social media, and our cell phones make focusing extremely challenging. The most basic way to manage distractions is to get into a good routine. Your mind and body operate best when you get about the same amount of rest each night and structure each day similarly. There are also techniques out there to help you focus while you are studying. One that I like is called the Pomodoro Technique. It's effective for a wide variety of tasks but works well for studying/reading/doing homework. Get yourself set up to start working on whatever task you need to complete. Set a timer for 25 minutes and then focus on only that task until the timer goes off. I like this technique because it forces you to focus while also naturally breaking down whatever you're working on into smaller, more manageable chunks. It also naturally builds breaks into your study routine, which will help keep your mind fresh.


I am including some other links to helpful focus tools in the next steps section. I hope this answer helps. Good luck!

Jacob recommends the following next steps:

https://www.forestapp.cc/en/
http://offtime.co/
https://freedom.to/
https://www.rescuetime.com/

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Rachel’s Answer

You should start college planning to study every day. Attend your classes. Do the homework. When you find a class difficult, attend office hours early in the semester. If you continue to struggle, get a tutor. There are many fun opportunities that college presents, but none of these will be possible if you are failing your classes.

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Richard’s Answer

Treat school like a job. Get up early, get to work and when your work is done at the end of the day, you can spend time on social life or organizations.

Go to class. Plan to spend 2-3 hours studying for every hour of lecture. Attend your professor's office hours and any TA review sessions. If there is a test bank, use that as a study tool to understand what your professor wants you to focus on for the test.

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