As your first day of college approaches, you’re likely thinking a lot about the challenges you’ll face. Though you can look forward to many exciting changes like meeting new people and living on your own for the first time, one thing that will remain the same is the need to have good study habits if you want to get good grades.
In fact, it’s even more important to have good study habits in college than in high school, since the coursework is often more advanced and you might have less guidance from teachers.
As you pack for college, make sure you take these easy and effective study habits with you so you can stop on top of your college academics.
Come to Class Prepared to Learn
High school teachers tend to be more lenient and do more hand-holding than college professors. In high school, you can usually rely on your teacher to let you use a pencil if you forgot one, or to provide you with additional copies of handouts and other materials.
But in college, your professors will not feel compelled to help you when you forget to bring the supplies you need, so make sure you’re prepared for class the night before. This includes having a notebook and pen (or computer) so you can take detailed notes during class.
Being prepared for class also means taking care of any assigned readings. Before your first day of classes, you’ll receive a syllabus or list of supplies needed for each of your classes. Make sure you purchase these supplies, including textbooks, beforehand and check to see if you’re required to do any reading before class.
Having the necessary supplies — and completing the assigned reading — for each class will help you stay on top of course work and allow you to focus on the important information being taught, information you’ll need to retain when it comes time to study for exams.
Like most other college study tips, this habit boils down to taking responsibility for your own education.
Start with the Harder Material
One of the best study habits to adopt is studying the hardest material first. If there’s a concept you’re having trouble grasping, studying it first can help in a couple of ways.
For one, your brain will be fresh and ready to learn at the beginning of your study session. After a few hours of studying other subjects, you’ll feel tired and not likely to absorb new information. This is why studying in order of hardest to easiest subjects is a good move.
Also, you’re probably dreading, and therefore putting off, studying the hardest topic. When you get it checked off your list first, you can breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the next subject with ease.
Use Notes to Your Advantage
Your professors will be testing you on what they’ve gone over in class. So, one of the easiest ways to study for a test is to simply read over your notes after class every day.
Of course, this means you first have to go to class and take clear notes that you’ll be able to understand later. If you’re not sure what your notes says, it will be really difficult to properly prepare for upcoming exams and assignments.
The good news is, college professors hold weekly office hours, which you should definitely take advantage of, especially leading up to an exam. Office hours give you time to talk with your professors one-on-one and ask them any specific questions you may have about past lectures or upcoming assignments.
Additionally, you can always seek out fellow classmates for further clarification on class notes. You may even want to form a study group.
Either way, put this study habit to work and take the time to go over class notes before your tests in college. This is among the easiest college study tips to implement (as long as you don’t skip class!).
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
One of the worst study habits to bring to college is cramming for your exams. If you’re used to learning all the material from the past few weeks the night before the exam, it’s time to put this bad study habit to rest.
Instead, make sure you review your notes every week and stay on top of assigned readings. That way, once it comes time to start prepping for finals, you’ll already have a good grasp on the material, making studying for exams easier and less stressful.