Five helpful study tips for every college student

Every student has their own unique study habits. Some of those habits may be effective. Others, not so much. In fact, some of them may even be counter-intuitive and may be inhibiting the student’s learning process.

Because students spend so much time studying, it makes sense that they’d try to make their study routine as effective as possible. With that in mind, here are five helpful study tips every college student should know and make use of.

1) Switch up your study locations

First things first, where you choose to study will heavily dictate how effective you’ll be at retaining information you read. Of course, some students will have their favorite spots. A perfect study spot can be everything from the library and the local community center to the park or a coffee shop. Whichever spot you prefer, studies suggest that you switch things up a bit and try a different study location from time to time.

When you choose to study also matters. Some students feel their most focused self early in the morning while others find that they learn the best late at night. Think about what makes you feel most productive both in terms of time and location and choose your study spot accordingly, but remember to hop to a new spot after a while to boost knowledge retention.

2) Select the level of noise environment you’re comfortable with

Other than the actual location, you should also take into account the amount of noise and distraction you feel comfortable with. Not all learners are the same when it comes to noise environments, and while some people prefer the quietness of a library, others learn best when there’s a little bit of background buzz e.g. when they’re listening to classical music.

Stick with whatever works best for you and helps you feel your most focused self, and definitely don’t try to force yourself to study somewhere you can’t concentrate. Otherwise, you’ll waste precious time and won’t remember the material as effectively as you could have.

3) Consider the pros and cons of self-study and group-study

Your studying style will also impact the effectiveness of your study sessions. That’s why you want to figure out what’s the best way for you to acquire new study material. Determine whether you prefer learning by yourself or with a group. Some find solo studying more effective as it involves fewer distractions, allows them to study at their own pace, and because they’re the only ones in charge of study time and location.

Others, however, may prefer the appeal of group studying as it offers greater accountability, covers larger chunks of material, and the students also get to clear their doubts about certain concepts they’d have trouble understanding if they were to study on their own. Both study styles have their advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before deciding which one’s best for you.

4) Take good notes and review them daily

One of the key (if not the most important) study skills college students need to master, note-taking is an art in its own right. In order for notes to be considered good, they need to be well-organized, detailed, include all the essential information (especially the things written on the board by the instructor), and, of course, kept separately from notes from other subjects so they don’t interfere and cause confusion.

Sometimes, the notes you take on your own won’t be enough. In those cases, you should consider swapping your notes and downloading study resources used by other students. Regardless of whether you’re studying marketing, psychology, business and management, or some other SMU subject, there’s a wide variety of helpful SMU study notes that you can use when learning exam material.

Ideally, you’ll review the notes and materials you gather for 30 minutes every day. This will help you retain the knowledge more effectively while also letting you identify any confusing parts of the material which you can ask about in class.

5) Make good use of flashcards

Other than the notes, flashcards are another classic study tool that can boost knowledge retention by using active recall. While they are considered one of the most effective memorization strategies for students, not all students use this learning tool in the most efficient way.

For starters, you need to make your own flash cards. Unlike using the notes other people have shared, pre-made flash cards may not always be the best choice. Surely, they can be quite practical when you’re in a hurry and need to begin studying instantly. But generally speaking, taking the DIY route when it comes to flash cards is more beneficial for your learning process.

Other ways to make sure you’re making good use of your flash cards is by combining words with pictures, using one card per question, asking multiple questions for more complex concepts, and combining this method with other methods of reviewing material.

How can you step up your study routine?

Many students make the mistake of using the same old learning methods to acquire new knowledge. While something may have worked for you in high school, it may not be the best way to go about learning your college study material.

Fortunately, a couple of small changes is all you need to make to step up your study routine and learn the course material more effectively. Experiment a bit, find what works, and then stick with it.

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