Study tips for success, not just survival
By Cassie Weiss, Staff Writer
Ick. It’s that back to school time, where we wake up way too early and stay up way too late, just trying to keep control of our lives as things slowly start to get busy again. As the semester launches right back into assignments, lack of self care and late-night study sessions, it’s important to know how to make the most of the time you spend in front of your textbooks.
Learning to work smarter, not harder, will leave you with more time to enjoy the things that help you get through the semester – things like going to the gym, spending time with friends or family or even sitting at home, reading a book, with a cat curled up on your lap.
There are many tried and true tips out there, but here are some I have found to be effective. Hopefully, by putting these into practice, you’ll find less pulled out hair as you traverse your way through the winter semester.
Go to class
I cannot stress this enough. Go to your lectures. You have a specific time, each week, designated to those lectures, and they really are important overall to how you study. Make tons of notes, write down the examples your professors share and take advantage of class time to ask questions about what you don’t understand.
Revise, revise, revise
For every one hour of lecture you have, you should be spending three hours per week reviewing that material. I get it, we are all extremely busy, and I know spending that much time every day isn’t always feasible, but at least make sure you take a few hours at the end of each week to review all the material learned — it will be easier to recall it come midterms.
Don’t just read your notes
Reading your notes over and over again honestly does nothing for translating material into your long-term memory. Instead, make cue cards or find practice tests online to help your brain practice retrieving the material, opposed to just trying to drive it into your head by rereading the same words and sentences until you can’t see anymore.
Study before you sleep
Seriously. I don’t mean “passing out because I’m so tired” before you sleep. An hour or so before bed is the best time to bring out the notes, set up at your desk or computer and get to reviewing. While we sleep, our brains take the information from our day and shift it into memory. If you make a habit of taking a look before bed, things won’t be so chaotic come midterms.
I don’t care how good you think you are at multitasking, don’t do it when it comes to studying. Put your phone in a different room, shut down all other apps and just study — in about 20- to 30-minute intervals. When you need a break, go take one, but then come back and dedicate your time to the books.
School is a big commitment, and it can be difficult to keep up on classwork in addition to a job, social life and other commitments. But learning study techniques that work for you will help you work smarter, not harder, and might just be the most valuable thing you pick up this semester.