7 Best Study Tips for College

college students studying on campus steps

College is a different academic environment from anything you may have encountered before. In high school, you are working toward college or career readiness. In college, your coursework has a different purpose as you aim to expand your knowledge and gain the career-specific knowledge you’ll need to become a successful entrepreneur or valuable employee. In order to study efficiently in college, you need to know a lot about yourself as a learner and a person. Use these study tips to boost your college productivity and build excellent study habits.

1. Take Good Notes

While this may sound obvious, the process of taking good notes is not natural for everybody. Some people take notes by writing down everything a professor says, getting lost in the details. Other people listen and write a few notes but forget the overarching concepts. Taking good notes falls somewhere between the two extremes. You want to write down the key points of the lecture or the text you are reading without adding too much extra information.

2. Review Your Notes Regularly

Once you have learned to take notes more efficiently, you should set aside time each day to review them. As you review your notes regularly, you will start to make deeper connections between the topics in the lecture. Frequently reviewing your notes will also make the content easier for your brain to access and remember.

In most cases, cramming is not an advantageous or sustainable study habit. If you’ve reviewed your notes all along, there will be no need to pull an all-nighter before a test. Instead, you will have a strong understanding of the material and will simply need to do another review or two of the information.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Instead of cramming the night before a test, focus on getting enough sleep. When you are tired, it’s more difficult for your brain to process and store the information it takes in. Therefore, if you study when you are extremely tired, you will not retain all the information you are reviewing. Rather than pulling an all-nighter and trying to prepare for a test all at once, review your notes consistently over the weeks and days leading up to the exam. Get a good night’s sleep the night before so your brain can readily retrieve what it knows during the test itself. You may find that this strategy, enables you to study confidently for any test.

4. Find a Study Group

Studying with others can help you learn new information and may reduce your workload. If you work with a group to complete an assignment or to hunt down answers for a study guide, you can divide the work among the group members and share information. By teaching other people what you have learned, you can help yourself remember that information. Study groups also provide a foundation of accountability, ensuring that you take time to study for class and work on assignments.

5. Keep a Calendar

Staying organized is a particularly valuable study habit. If you keep a calendar with all your classwork, assignments and upcoming tests, you’ll have a better idea of when to review your notes and when to set aside time to study or work assignments. You will also know when to reach out to your study group so you have enough time to get together and collaborate. In the long run, this step of organization will help you stay prepared and on schedule.

6. Stay Offline

Even if you are completing your coursework via computer, find a way to avoid online distractions such as social media, text messaging and email. Consider keeping your phone out of reach as you study to avoid the temptation to check your notifications or apps. If you’re enrolled in an online class or an online degree program, make sure you are eliminating distractions and dedicating your time on the computer solely to studying. Certain tools can be used to help you keep your focus, including productivity soundtracks or applications that temporarily block you from accessing certain websites.

7. Take Breaks

Studying for hours without taking breaks may sound efficient, but it can ultimately exhaust you and diminish your ability to retain the information. Instead, insert planned breaks into your study time. A useful study tip is to set a timer for 30 minutes and use that time to focus on studying. Then take a 10-minute break and move around, take a walk, have a snack or attend to the things that may otherwise distract you when you sit down to study again. Repeat this pattern a few times until you feel your study session is complete and you’ve mastered the content.

At Grand Canyon University, we provide a rigorous academic experience for learners from all walks of life, as well as the support our students need to be successful. Click on the Request Info button on this page to learn more and get started on your academic journey.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.