Obtaining a college degree will be one of the more difficult yet rewarding experiences of young adulthood. You’ll need to dedicate hours to studying, researching, and learning your chosen major in order to become an expert in your field — but this doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Following four simple study tips could transform the way you approach the classroom and set you up for success.
1. Discover Your Learning Style
Some people are visual learners, others are auditory, and a few are tactile, meaning they must do things for them to have the best chance for learning. Try taking a learning style quiz to see which one you might be. Experiment and observe which way helps keep your attention and retain the information you’re studying. Try taking photos of the whiteboard in class or asking your professor to share their PowerPoint slides. You can also try recording lectures to listen to multiple times, or read your notes outloud to yourself. A tactile learner remembers the things they experience the best. If you’re this type of learner, you can try pacing while reciting flashcards or notes, or studying with music in the background. You can also take a five-minute break every 30–45 minutes.
2. Write Down Your Goals
Keep a planner or calendar and make sure to write down when and where you want to study. Writing something down makes you 80% more likely to follow through with it. Forbes magazine discussed the importance of goal-setting and how integral it is for success. They suggest first creating a vision and identifying what you want, such as getting an A on your paper. Next, outline a list of concrete goals you need to achieve in order to get an A. This may include dedicating a few hours every day to studying, writing, and researching. Then, set benchmarks for yourself. Continue to break those hours studying into smaller goals, increasing your sense of achievement and inevitable, overall success. Finally, celebrate when you win. Treat yourself to a favorite sweet or an episode of a TV show after a particularly rigorous study session.
3. Stay Positive
Nothing makes studying harder like a bad attitude. Try not to think about it as spending time reviewing the same material, but as a workout for your brain. Being positive will help to calm your nerves and really focus on the material. If you find yourself becoming frustrated or bored, it’s OK to take a break. Do something you enjoy, like play a quick game or read a chapter of your favorite book. When you return to studying, do it with a sound mind. You can also ask one of your friends or classmates if they would like to study together. Having a buddy by your side can make the task of studying less daunting and more like a team effort.
4. Talk to Your Professors
This tip is a golden rule that everyone should follow. It may seem embarrassing, but make sure to ask your professor questions if you don’t understand something they are going over. If it’s a large class and you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of everyone, email your professor or visit them during office hours. Your professors are in their position because they are experts of their field. They are a wealth of knowledge and can likely take the time to sit down with you and understand why you are having trouble grasping a certain concept, then re-explain it to you. They want you to succeed as much as you do!