Study Tips for College Students

So, I’m seriously procrastinating on a test I have tomorrow. I decided since I’m worrying about it, I might as well write a post about it.

After the day is done, I look back and re-read my notes. If I have written them sloppy, the OCD in me forces me to re-write the pages. If I have written something I wanted to look up online or in the book, I go ahead and do that.

But when it comes time say, a week before a test, I don’t really do anything different. Mostly because I don’t know what else I should do. How do we make sure we have learned the material we already should have learned from that day’s lecture?

My #1 go-to method is flash cards. They are pretty awesome, portable, and there are now smartphone apps you can use (I like free, like studyblue) so you don’t even need index cards. But I use my time creating the cards as more study time; by the time I make the cards I should know at least 1/2 of the content from these methods:

  • First things first, is find a quiet place to study and shut off all interruptions. Gather all materials, and a drink and maybe a snack so you don’t waste time getting up. If you can study with it, bring headphones so you can listen to music.
  • Re-read all lecture notes. Highlight important things.
  • Go back to those highlighted things and write them down on a separate piece of paper, but re-write them in your own words and condense the information so it’s easy to learn. Use small words/phrases that are easily memorized.
  • Go to the book and write down more important stuff that wasn’t in lecture in your own words, condensed for easy remembering. If you already took book notes (which is easier than re-reading book text), go read that instead.
  • Now take a look at your paper and read over the phrases you wrote. These will become your flashcards. Write them down on index cards or use your app to make the flashcards.
  • Go through the cards until you get all of them right, and then go through it again. Use the flashcards multiple times per day until right before the test. Use breaks, waiting time, before bed time, etc. to study.

Reduce Test Anxiety

  • The night before, set many alarms and a back up alarm in case your first alarm fails so you don’t oversleep! 
  • Wake up early and eat a good breakfast. Take a vitamin.Make sure you have everything including a pen or #2 pencils and erasers.
  • Go to your class early and review your flashcards or notes. Go to the bathroom before the class starts so you don’t have to worry about that.
  • Read every question slowly and remember not to rush. 
  • If you have just crammed your dates, names, formulas or quick phrases (like PEMDAS), write them down in the corner of your test sheet or your scrap paper so you don’t waste brain energy recalling it repeatedly or end up forgetting them before you need the information.
  • Just try your best, and use the test results, no matter the outcome, to learn from for the next test. See your learning center or teacher for help if you get a bad grade.
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