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  • Best College Student Study Tips & Habits

    Female College Student Studying

    Monday, April 18, 2016

    Achieving success in college relies heavily on your ability to study and absorb information. Practicing effective college student study habits is a skill that will serve you well throughout your lifetime, including in the professional world. But like any other skill, it is one that has to be honed over time. Very few students have effective study skills without practice and taking actionable steps to improve their study habits is necessary to make the most out of their academic career.

    Luckily, there are a few basic steps that any student can take to get more out of their study sessions. It doesn’t require some magical system like cramming before a test. Instead, good study tips for college involve foresight, planning, and commitment. Here are some effective study tips for college students that can help you take your grades to the next level:

    1. Set Studying Goals

    How do you define a “successful” study session? The truth is that most students go into each study session with nothing more than the goal of reading the required text and taking notes that they deem necessary. However, setting very specific goals for each study period can help you better define what a successful study session looks like and reach your daily study goals.

    Some different metrics that you can use for study-time goal setting include the length of time that you study for, the length of the notes that you take, and the total number of pages that you read. These may seem obvious, but setting simple goals like that can help you to better define what a successful study session looks like for you and avoid last minute cramming, which has been shown to be ineffective.

    2. Make a Study Plan

    Time is in short supply, especially for college students who might be balancing their studies with a social life and a full-time job. Many students come into college without having had to dedicate a great deal of time to studying in high school and are blindsided by the workload. Those students must take quick steps for improving study habits in college in order to adjust quickly. One of the most common studying mistakes made by students is to underestimate the amount of time that they will need to cover material, or procrastinate and try to study a large amount of material at the last minute. Plan when and how long you want to study each night, at least a week in advance. Not only will this lead to more effective studying, but it will allow you to schedule around your studying more effectively. Learn more about getting organized and planning ahead with some additional tried and true tips for student success.

    3. Give Yourself Breaks

    According to a study from the University of Illinois, short breaks in periods of intense work can be hugely beneficial. According to the study, the brain’s resources for attention drop after long periods of time focusing on a single task. Over time our focus subsides and performance drops. Any student that has hunkered down for long study sessions knows how hard it can be to retain focus during the later periods of a study session. The study suggests that short breaks (as short as 10 minutes) will allow the brain to refresh itself and resume studying without diminished effectiveness. The best studying techniques for college students will be those that give you ample time to recover after grueling study sessions.

    4. Keep a Positive Attitude

    As in most areas of life, a positive attitude can have a profound effect on your ability to be successful. Going into a study session loathing the research process and thinking about other things you could be doing will distract your focus and result in you retaining less information. However, going into a study session with the attitude that you are eager to learn and excited about the material (even when you may not be) can help you to retain focus and be more effective in your studying efforts.

    5. Avoid Cramming and Study Daily

    The act of cramming, or studying lots of material in a very short amount of time has become commonplace and a bit of a running joke in the academic community. It’s easy to see why so many students end up saving the bulk of their research until the day or two before a big exam. According to UCLA researchers, trading sleep for long study sessions is almost never worth it and has a negative impact on scores. By being diligent about getting in shorter study sessions each day and avoiding last-minute cramming, you drastically improve your chances of academic success.

    Although good college study habits will play a huge role in your academic success while you attend university, those same habits will stick with you throughout your professional career and serve you well throughout. Forming those positive habits sooner rather than later will improve your chances of success and help you to foster positive outcomes.

    Founded in 1891, Drexel University is a top-ranked, urban research university, located in the heart of Philadelphia. Learn more about how employers view online degrees & discover tips from Drexel Online for participating in group work online.


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