Straightforward, No-Nonsense Studying Tips to Use in College
College students who form good study habits early on are at a huge advantage.
Despite what many people think:
Late-night cram sessions do more harm than good. Studying effectively doesn’t mean spending hours upon hours in the library.
Once you get into the practice, it’s a near painless process.
Below are 10 simple studying tips for college that are proven to work.
Studying Tips for College Students
Vary The Way You Study
First and foremost:
To be able to fully understand a subject, you need to look at it from multiple angles.
Therefore, don’t use the same plan of attack every time.
Find different ways to think about what you’re studying. These next study tips are examples of how you can add variation to your routine.
Learn By Teaching
As Albert Einstein once said,
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Which is why:
One of the best studying tips for college students is teaching the material to others. It can be a classmate, a friend, or your mom. It doesn’t really matter who.
The important part is that you’re thinking deeply about the subject. You need to be able to elaborate and expand.
A 2018 study revealed that the learning-by-teaching strategy is most successful when students recalled the information without notes or a script.
Retrieving the taught material from your memory serves more purpose than simply reading the words aloud.
Study In Different Locations
You may be surprised to hear that:
It’s more effective to study in a variety of places rather than the same one every time.
Due to the way human brains evolved, this technique will help you recall information more easily. And it’s another way you can add variation to your study routine.
Remember More With Spaced Repetition
Study after study has proven that spaced repetition is an extremely effective memorization technique.
Not to mention:
It’s efficient. And that makes for a sweet combination of benefits.
Okay, so what is it?
Spaced repetition is exactly what is sounds like: study sessions that are spaced out.
By studying in specific intervals you can improve the overall effectiveness of it. And that means getting good grades with less studying.
Check out this guide to learn more about it, as well as the best time intervals to use.
Break Out The Flashcards
Speaking of repetition:
Flashcards are a tried and true method for getting it in.
By and large:
They’re essential for dealing with classes that are heavy on memorization.
Traditional paper index cards will get the job done. But you may grow tired of lugging them around campus.
Studying apps, like Anki Flashcards and Quizlet, are a popular alternative.
Study Multiple Subjects At Once
Research performed by psychologist Robert Bjork, found that mixing up subjects enhanced students’ learning.
He refers to this technique as “interleaving”.
Instead of practicing the material of one subject at a time, try studying multiple related subjects at once. You may be pleasantly surprised at how well this works.
The interleaving effect is most notable for math. However, it has impressive results for multiple topics and the benefits are long-term!
Don’t Let Schoolwork Pile Up
Staying on top of your coursework will make studying easier and your life a whole lot less stressful.
Here’s how to avoid cramming for an exam at the last possible moment:
Just study a little bit every day.
After all, tackling your studies in smaller chunks is much more manageable.
The earlier you start studying, the better. Because you can do it shorter sessions and over a longer period of time.
The end goal is for you to be prepared and relaxed on exam day.
On that note:
Would you rather study for 2 hours or for 25 minutes?
I know that unless I’m super interested in a subject, it’s always easier to focus for a shorter period of time.
2011 research revealed that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.
To further prove the point:
A study done by the Association for Psychological Science found that overlearning (i.e. last-minute cramming) is not an effective way to retain information long-term.
The lesson here: taking breaks pays off when it comes to studying.
The Pomodoro Technique is one strategy for taking frequent breaks. This video explains how it works:
Rewrite Your Notes
As stated previously, repetition is key for remembering new information. Research shows that 17 is the ideal number of repetitions to learn a new word.
By rewriting your notes you’re getting repetition of what you learned in class. This signals to your brain to store the information in long-term memory.
And thereby over time, your brain will be able to recall it better.
It’s best to rewrite your notes the day you took them (this is relevant to the spaced repetition technique). You want the material to still be fresh in your mind.
Doing it as soon as possible will also:
Give you the chance to expand on what you jotted down in class. Some professors teach faster than others. You may not have had a chance to write every detail.
Doing this exercise doubles as a study session.
Use a Planner
Finally, organization and time management go hand in hand.
A college planner is an efficient way to organize your life.
When you schedule time to study, it’ll keep you more accountable to yourself.
Not having to remember every little detail of your schedule takes a huge mental load off of your brain.
Wrapping up with college tips for studying
That concludes this post of study tips in college.
Study habits can make or break your college experience. I hope these tips help you do well in your classes while minimizing stress at college.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make progress. Don’t be discouraged if it takes time to get into the habit of studying!