Effective Study Habits for College Students

Studying doesn’t have to mean staying up until 3 a.m. writing an English paper and still having to read one hundred pages of Mill’s “On Liberty.” By planning a studying schedule at the very beginning of the semester or quarter, you won’t have to spend seemingly endless nights with your new best friend, Mr. Mill.

The number of classes that you have each day will affect how much time you will have to study every night, but you can plan your class schedule so that you won’t be bombarded with five or six courses which are too difficult to manage all at the same time. Try to keep your classes a broad range of easy to difficult, so that you know you will have enough time to study (and to sleep) every night.

You should always review each class’s notes for thirty minutes every night. Then, if you have reading to do, allocate some time frame for each one. For instance, if you have English reading to do, such as seventy pages, and it is a novel, you can spend relatively little time on it (perhaps one to one hour and a half). When you take notes by writing in the margins of the book, you’ll also save some valuable time. However, if you have to read a philosophical text for a social science class, you should expect to spend at least two or three hours on it.

You should never, ever study for more than one hour straight! Take frequent breaks, such as a five minute break every thirty or forty minutes. This gives your mind a chance to refresh itself, so that you will be more able to absorb information. Even if you are strapped for time, taking a break will quickly give your mind the ability to soak up the information. However, always use your breaks to your advantage. Drink plenty of water, get some snacks, or meditate.

You should always try to make a certain time your “lights out” time, a time when you must be done studying and have at least thirty minutes of leisure time. Then, you should go straight to bed. For most students, 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. is usually a good time for them to have all their work finished.

Don’t wait until the last minute to find out that you will have three papers due the same day, plus some readings. You should try to do a little or half of each work each day, so that even if you are somewhat ahead, you won’t be rushing or panicking to finish all your work before the day that they are due. This seems hard to do at first, but reading and working ahead of time will save you valuable time later on.

Studying is not a fun activity, but you can make it easier on you if you plan ahead and you know what to do. By following these tips, you will hopefully make your study sessions productive, slightly fun, and you will hopefully leave leisure time in your schedule.