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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Main image courtesy of Analytics India Magazine.

You’ve made it to college and you’re ready to start a new part of your life. There is so much to look forward to as you start on your college journey, and you’re bound to have many rewarding and enriching experiences along the way. But first things first, you’ve got to learn how to be successful in your studies while at college! No matter what your major is, the only way you’re going to do well in your courses is if you learn how to study the right way.

That’s why we thought it would be helpful to let you in on the top studying tips for college! In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • What the Study Cycle is and why you should know it
  • Our top study tips including how to plan, work, and discover what methods work best for you

Understanding the Study Cycle

Once you know the process for studying in college, you’ll be on your way to academic success!

college student studying
Learning how the Study Cycle works can help you master your own study routine. Image courtesy of UTEP.

Ask anyone who’s gone through the college journey before, and they’ll tell you the secret to doing well in your classes (and enjoying them along the way) is to learn how to study properly. One method that’s helpful for students to learn is the Study Cycle. You can apply it to any class you have, and it gives you some perspective on how to make the most of how your brain learns and retains information. 

  • Prepare. College courses require a lot more of your time and energy, after all, you’re learning at a much higher level now and you should expect the subject matter to get more difficult as you go along. Not to worry, your professors and course materials are there to guide you. This is why it’s always a good idea to prepare for each class beforehand. Try skimming chapters you covered or were assigned to read, review any summaries, and know the main points of the material. Come to class with some questions to ask too. This will make sure the material is fresh in your mind and you’re ready to learn.
  • Attend class. You can’t expect to do well in your classes if you don’t attend them! Make it a plan to go to every class (unless you’re sick or there’s an emergency) because this is what your college journey is all about—to learn. Not to mention that you’re paying for these courses, so you should make the most out of your professors’ valuable time. Class is not only a great place to ask questions, but to have discussions with fellow students. When the time comes for midterms and finals, your professors may also let you know what will be and what will not be on the exams. You wouldn't know unless you go to class though. 
  • Review information. Afterwards, review your notes and the material that was covered in class that day. It’s best to do this while the information is still relatively fresh in your mind. Doing this gives you a second chance to see the information and for your brain to synthesize it. If you took notes on your computer, now is the chance to write them out in your notebook so you have a better chance of remembering them. 
  • Do the studying. Whether you choose to do your studying during the day, night, or on the weekends, it’s best to do it in short spurts. This is when you’ll complete the homework assignments for the class and start to put together and build on the concepts you’ve discussed in your class time. 
  • Check. You know you’ve learned and processed the information when you can explain the material to someone else—even if it’s just you speaking out loud. Assess whether your studying techniques are getting you results, and that you feel confident enough to be quizzed on the subject matter. You don’t have to know all the information by heart, but having a grasp on the concepts shows that you understand the material. 

This cycle should repeat itself for all your classes, and will eventually become a routine. You’ll start to learn what does and doesn’t work for you, as well as what you seem to struggle with the most. Now that you’re aware of how the cycle of studying should go for your college classes, it’s time to discuss our top tips for making the most of your studying time!

Studying tips for college

Follow these suggestions and you’ll find that studying for class seems less intimidating!

college student preparing for classes and studying
Studying doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you follow these suggestions. Image courtesy of Lifehack.

Every college student wants to do well in school. However, you’ve got to put in the work in order to ace your classes. We can’t guarantee you’ll get A’s in all your classes just by following these top study tips for college, but you will be setting yourself up for doing the best that you can. It always helps to have a few items on hand to make study sessions a little easier, so we’ve also included some suggestions along the way!

Plan to set yourself up for success

Keep your coursework organized

It always helps to have a plan, and the same is true for studying in college. Make sure you have a calendar or an organizer to keep all of your dates and deadlines straight. As soon as you get the syllabus from your professor, make sure to put important deadlines for papers or projects, as well as the days of the midterm and final exams. This will not only keep you organized, but it will help you plan out your studying routine.

Most professors create the syllabus so you know what to expect throughout the semester, and can start to plan accordingly. You can use this guide to help you plan your study sessions, and make sure that you’re prepared and focused on the right material. You can choose to get a wall calendar, desk calendar, date book, or use a digital app to make sure you’re covered. It doesn’t matter, just ensure each class you’re taking makes it on to your organizational tool. Being organized will help you not only succeed in college, but in your future job as well.

OCM organizer for college
Sometimes one of the best ways to stay organized is to keep it low tech. Sticky notes and blank paper to jot down thoughts or questions make it super easy to keep track of your classes. This set can easily fit in your bag, and allow you to make notes whenever you need to! Be sure to grab some desk organization items!

Have a schedule

Once you get the routine of your classes down, you’ll then need to find a study routine that works for you. This will look a little different for everyone. Some people are morning people, while others do some of their best work at night. Most students have time in between their classes, which is also a good time to start your studying. If you’re unsure what time would work best for you, try them all out, and see which feels the best. 

Try to study at that time for a couple of days, as that’s the only way to determine if it will work with the rest of your schedule. There’s no wrong answer here, it’s all about what works with the rest of your schedule (sports, friends, extracurricular activities).

Take notes the right (write?) way

When you’re in class, it’s always a good idea to take notes. Many students choose to use computers because it’s faster to type what the professor is saying. This is a great way to ensure you’re getting everything that’s said, but we’d like to suggest you also take the time to convert those notes to your own handwriting in your notebook. This can easily be done in the review part of the Study Cycle, and is a good way to refresh your knowledge of the material covered.

You could also choose to take notes by hand as the professor speaks. Our brains tend to remember and comprehend material better from handwritten notes. This is because you need to not only listen to what is being said, but synthesize it into your own words on the paper. Who needs memorization when you can study your notes and remember the material that way?

OCM notebook organizer for college students
Get all of your notes down in this handy notebook. It’s the perfect size to bring along in your bag. Shop notebooks.

Know where you can get work done

Keep distractions away

There are distractions everywhere on a college campus. Who wouldn’t rather hang out in their dorm room, check out social media feeds, play video games, or grab a bite to eat? However in order to be successful at studying, you’ll need to find out ways to keep those distractions at bay. For some students, this means that they have to get their studying done away from their dorm room. For others, it means investing in a good set of noise canceling headphones or leaving their phone in their bag while they hit the books. 

Learning how to discipline yourself and remove the distractions that keep you from getting work done is a great skill to have. It will benefit you in college, and it will allow you to succeed in the workforce after graduation.

Switch up your study locations

Just because you need to leave your dorm room to study doesn’t mean you always have to go to the library! While the library is a great place to study that’s free of a lot of distractions, it’s not the only one. Your campus probably has lots of other places that would be perfect to set up shop for a study session. Cafe’s, outdoor quads, student unions, and empty classrooms can all be made into perfect places to study.

Learn what study methods work for you

Review your notes, record lectures, or study with friends

Just like there are lots of places you can study besides your dorm or the library, there are lots of ways you can study too. In addition to your assignments and homework, reviewing your notes is a great way to ensure you understand the material for the week. The more you review and look at your notes, the greater your chances of remembering and comprehending them. 

You can also choose to record lectures with your phone (make sure this is okay with your professor) or if your classes are online, rewatch the lectures. Hearing the material again is a great way to ensure your notes are accurate and that you’re on the right track.

Why not study with other students in your class? Not only is this a great way to meet new people, but if you can all explain the information to each other, you know you’ve synthesized and understood the material!

Don’t cram or try to memorize

We can’t say it enough, avoid cramming and trying to memorize the textbook. Human brains do not retain information this way, and you’ll be setting yourself up to be disappointed. Cramming shows a lack of planning (which was our first studying tip!) and you won’t find too much success by taking this route. The same goes for memorization. Instead of only memorizing facts, dates, or verb conjugations, make sure you actually understand the material and why it’s important first.

Remember to take breaks

Use rewards to help you study

Set your study sessions up so you do the work, say for a half hour or 45 minutes, and then take a break. Walk away from the material and let your mind do something else. Going all in on a study marathon is no way to successfully learn the material. It takes time and lots of review before our brains make the necessary connections. If it helps, use your breaks to give yourself little rewards like taking a walk, getting a snack, or just closing your eyes.

Learning to study effectively in college is a skill, which means it takes practice to get it right. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to successful study sessions!