Studying in college can be an overwhelming experience. Here are some bits of wisdom from my experience:
1) Class work is more important than you think
Your professor is going to make the exam and grade them. You should write notes of all the important things concerning the subject, professor’s criteria for good marks, and the important dates like exam dates, test dates etc. Also, don’t feel shy in asking questions.
2) You can’t pull it all off in the end
In college, the subjects are tough and long. You can’t relax in the beginning of semester and hope to ace the exams by just studying near the end. It won’t work. You are likely to fail in one or two courses. It is absolutely essential to start studying from start of semester.
3) Exams are predictable
Professors are likely to give questions in exam from:
I) Past papers
II) Topics they like
III) Topics they alluded as important
Also, generally, the more the professor spends time on a topic, the more likely it is to come in the exam.
4) Group study dilemma
Whether you want to study in group or alone depends on you. But in my experience, the students who top the class rarely study in groups. Also, group study creates a sense of false progress, especially in weak students. Group studies also lead to off topic conversations and time wastage. In the end it’s your call, but be wary of the pitfalls.
5) All courses don’t need equal attention
You will find, especially in freshman year that some subjects are going to be easy for you. Don’t waste your time on them. Instead, spend the most time on the subject that is toughest for you.
6) Books Books Books!
Getting the right books for course is very important. Ask your professor personally what good books you can buy, or ask seniors. Don’t buy too many books for a subject otherwise you will feel overwhelmed. Also you might get a whole list of books for one course. Don’t feel discouraged. It’s likely that many books on that list concern only one topic of course.
7) Don’t leave it to luck
Students who don’t give enough time to studies, often leave their exams to luck. I have seen students who pray, and cross their fingers in tests and exams. This is cowardice. Don’t run away from your problems. You have to study. Don’t leave any topic in the hopes it won’t come in exam.
8) Be independent
Some students rely on their classmates too much. They ask others for test/exam dates, copy others’ notes, go too much to others for understanding, etc. Don’t do it. You are in college now, you need to use your head.
9) Cram only when necessary
Cram only if you are short of time. By cramming you will forget whatever you crammed. You won’t understand it, and this can be a huge draw back later in your professional life.
10) Don’t be overwhelmed
Studying is important. But don’t let it make you emotionally drained. College study is a part of life, not life itself. If you are depressed due to other matters, then first resolve the problem. Always remember to relax and let your stress go.