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5 Study Habits That Work for College Students

Last updated August 17, 2023

5 Study Habits That Work for College Students

College can be a big adjustment, especially when it comes to studying for college-level classes. Knowing how to study effectively is important to succeeding academically, and while there’s no “right” way to study, there are proven methods to help you recall the material better. Here are 5 study habits that can boost your confidence and help you earn that A!

Don’t cram!

Whether it’s because of your busy schedule or the temptation to procrastinate, it’s easy to hold off on studying for a big exam until the last minute. However, research suggests that last-minute cramming is not effective for long-term learning and can lead to test anxiety. Instead, review a little bit of information each day. By reviewing the material in smaller chunks, you’ll likely remember it later and you’ll feel calm and prepared when it comes time to take the exam.

Make a plan and stick to it

Whether you prefer to use a paper planner, a planning app, or a bullet journal, creating an organized study schedule will help you feel more prepared and less likely to cram or pull an all-nighter before your exams. You can schedule daily or weekly time blocks on your calendar for when you plan to review the topics discussed in your class. Malyka H., for example, prefers to study during a specific time of day: “I've learned that studying in the morning right when I wake up really works.” You can also incorporate in your plan different study strategies - for example using a study guide, creating flash cards, or taking practice tests on specific days of the week. Remember that study plans differ from student-to-student, and can depend largely on your learning style.

Ask for help!

You don’t have to struggle through the course material on your own! As user Anna Z. suggests, “Studying alone works, but group study can be a real help.” Finding study help, whether it’s through tutoring, organizing a study group, or visiting office hours, reaching out to others and utilizing your campus resources can help you find the answers to more difficult questions and allow you to better retain the information. College-level classes are challenging, but don’t feel like you have to face it alone.

Find your study space

Finding and creating the right study space is key to retaining the information you learned in class. Whether you study at home or on campus, you’ll want to find a location with the right atmosphere that’s both comfortable yet productive to your study time. Need to study in complete silence? Try the campus library. Do you find yourself more productive in a noisy environment? Your campus student center or the local cafe might be the place for you. Also, don’t be afraid to switch things! Try out a few locations to find what works best for you - the more places you’re able to study, the better!

Take breaks

Taking intentional breaks from studying can actually maintain your attention and help you feel less overwhelmed. The next time you study, try using the Pomodoro technique - using timed sessions and a timed break in between. During your timed breaks you can step away from your study space, have a light snack, or go outside for some fresh air. Clexy C. uses a similar method: “I turn my phone to “do not disturb” and I work for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break.” Your brain can only absorb so much information at a time, so having built-in breaks can prevent learning fatigue and keep you energized throughout your study session.

Finding studying habits that work for you is key to succeeding in college! Do you have any studying habits/tips not mentioned here? Let us know on Instagram @getschooled or leave a comment below!

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