Many young people who head off to college are completely unprepared for what lies ahead for them. It isn’t so much that they are incapable of handling the academic work of college, but that they are clueless as to how to study effectively and efficiently. Although they may have been able to blow off homework, reading, research, writing papers or studying for an exam until the last minute in high school, that type of irresponsible behavior doesn’t work in college. The realization that it’s not possible to do well in college without learning how to study efficiently may come as a rude awakening.
Here are some suggestions that can help to make study time optimally efficient and effective.
*Keep track of your assignments –
Keeping track of your assignments involves more than looking over the course syllabus from time to time. You need to know exactly when your tests or exams are scheduled and what reading assignments are due on any given day. One way keep track of things is to use a dated day planner. As soon as you know the date on which your exams are scheduled, put that information in your planner. When you have specific assignments that are due, keep those due dates listed in the planner. You can also use it to keep track of your daily study obligations, and then check things off as you finish them.
*Learn to prioritize –
Learning to prioritize will help you see what you need to tackle first, what you may have to spend more time on, or assignments that may be long term assignments such as research papers. If there is something you have trouble with, then obviously, you will need to spend more time on that. It should be placed at the top of your priority list.
*Develop a regular routine –
By developing a regular routine, you will have a structured schedule that will keep you from losing focus, neglecting school work or going off and doing something else. As part of your regular routine, commit to study during formally scheduled blocks of time. Once you learn to make this sort of commitment, you will be motivated enough to resist the temptation to go hang out with friends, go out drinking or do something that will throw your entire routine out of balance .
*Break up lengthy assignments –
Parcel out reading assignments into manageable chunks by doing a little bit every day. Instead of spending a long time reading and risking losing focus, spend no more than 45 minutes to an hour without taking a break. Regular breaks can help you clear you head, relieve some tension and refresh yourself so that you will be totally focused when you go back to your studying.
*Don’t waste time –
One of the surest way to derail good study intentions is to allow something that’s really difficult or that you can’t figure out consume you. If you have spent time working on something and trying to understand it and still aren’t getting anywhere, put it aside for a while and come back to it later.
*Learn the importance of living a balanced life –
Learning the importance of living a balanced life is crucial. So is learning how to balance your life as a college student. The most efficient and productive study is done by people who aren’t preoccupied with other thoughts, stressed out about all of the work they have to do, irritable because they want to be doing something else or don’t want to be there studying in the first place. Don’t try to study when you are too tired to think straight; you will be wasting your time.
Make sure you have a chance to have fun, get some exercise, relax, hang out with your friends and get sufficient rest. Balancing work, play and school is the key to academic success. When you have a balanced life, you learn to be a master of time management. If you know that you will have to study at a certain time, you should plan to do something else before you study. Maybe go to lunch with friends, take an hour to hang out over coffee, go for a walk to clear you head.
Be organized. Know where everything is, and keep things so that if you need a certain book on a certain day, you have that book ready to go with you the night before. If you plan to go to the library after a class and intend to work on something for another class, be sure you have that work ready to take with you when you go to class. Always make sure that you have the supplies you need to take notes, highlighters, any printouts for class, the syllabus, and anything else that is essential.
You don’t have to study every waking hour of the day to do well in college. You do need to be well rested, focused, nourished , unstressed and committed to thinking about nothing but the material you are about to study. If the time you schedule for studying is focused and uninterrupted, you will get whatever you need to get done during that study session. If you can accomplish that every time you study, you will have mastered the art of effective, efficient and productive studying, and that is the best way to ensure that you get the best grades you possibly can.