Study Tips for College: 7 Effective Techniques for Students

College Life Made Easy is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

College Student Study Tips That Are Worth Giving a Go This Semester

female college student concentrating while studying on her laptop

Contrary to popular belief:

Locking yourself in a quiet room, downing five cups of black coffee, highlighting the whole book, and memorizing every line in a notebook doesn’t work for everyone.

Effective studying is a habit, and good habits are developed over time – not in a day’s worth of cramming.


Before hitting the books, take note of these effective study tips for college before the books hit back.

mac laptop sitting on blanket on couch next to phone

Pay Attention in Class & Take Notes

The first step to doing well in college is going to class and taking good notes.

It’s tempting to skip class with your new found freedom. Not all professors have mandatory attendance policies, so what’s the big deal?

Think about it like this:

The more time you spend paying attention in class = less time you’ll be spending trying to teach yourself the material.


The professor will often drop hints about what’s going to be on the test.

They’ll emphasize parts of a lesson by saying, “most students forget this,” or something along those lines. Take note of those little clues.

Because when it does come time to study, you’ll know which parts of the material are most important.

Be Active, Not Passive

Being mentally engaged during a lecture can help you retain what was taught.

Taking notes is a great way to give your brain something to do. And so are asking questions and further researching the topic to gain a better, more complete understanding.

If doodling on page during class helps you stay awake, do it!


Staying focused on the subject matter at hand will help you retain it.

Organization is Your Friend

Speaking of notes:

Keeping a binder specifically dedicated to notes can also be a great time saver! Put your notes in order by date.

Not only will you quickly be able to find what you want:

You also won’t have to stress over losing them.

Try this:

After you take class notes, make it a habit to put them in said binder. No more messy piles of paper and no more time spent searching through those piles.

And, of course:

The earlier in the semester you get organized, the better. However, don’t skimp on this step just because you’re already halfway through the term.

Just think about how it’ll be such a relief to have all your notes in one location it’s time for finals. Organization does take some time upfront, but it will make your life easier in the long run. I found this go to guide for finals really helpful (wait for the popup to snag a free download).

Prioritize Your Classes

Managing your time wisely is one of the life skills you’ll develop during your college years.

Some classes you’ll breeze through. But others are going to be more difficult.

Which is why:

It’s important to prioritize your classes.


Tackle your coursework in the order of most difficult to least difficult. To strengthen your weaknesses, you need to spend more time addressing them. Makes sense, right?

Get Your Hands On Old Exams

This final study tip in college is gold:

Ask your professors if they’re willing to share a copy of past exam with you. Ask upperclassmen, too.

You can even search online for old exams. You might find one from a different school with a similar class.


Because you can use them like a practice test and study guide.

Professors often change up the questions year to year. But there are bound to similarities, if not a few repeats.

Ask For Help When You Need It

Your professors might seem intimidating, especially when you’re a freshman in college. 


It’s in your best interest to establish a rapport with them. You want to be comfortable with asking for help.

Because you’re more likely than not going to struggle with class material at some point. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

Most professors are pretty cool, they want to see their students succeed.

Find out when office hours are for each of your classes. Some classes hold review sessions before exams, as well.

Having a personal connection with a professor can make all the difference.

Make Time to Relax

Instead of studying for hours on end:

Schedule a break every 25 minutes, take a power nap, or better yet get a full night of rest. You might also try meditating, yoga, or simply lying back to listen to your favorite band.

A perfectly prepared mind can still fail due to stress or lack of sleep.

And while it’s important to study and do well in college:

It’s also important to take care of yourself.

Be sure to learn how to deal with stress in college in a healthy manner. Find a nice balance between school work and the more enjoyable aspects of life. College doesn’t need to be all work and no play!

Just like clothing and food:

Everyone has their own unique preference.

Figuring out which college student study tips are most effective for you can take some trial and error.

You don’t need to settle for what everyone else is doing. Devote some time and attention to really get to know what works for you.

college girl taking a study break to pet her Shiba dog

Conclusions on study tips for college

This post was all about effective study tips for college students.

Which college student study tips do you find work best for you?


Related posts:


7 effective, no-brainer study tips for college students - Pinterest infographic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *