Most students have been taught to lock themselves in a room and study a topic for hours until they master it, however, new study methods that may seem counter-intuitive at first are proving more effective than methods that have been used for years. From alternating study locations to resisting the urge to cram the night before an exam, there are simple changes you can make in your study routine that will help you learn and retain material faster. Continue reading to learn about effective study tips.
8 effective study tips for college students
1. Take good notes Taking good notes involves dating each entry and keeping notes for different classes separate from each other. In addition, write down anything your instructor writes on the board. If the instructor took the time to write it out, he or she considers it important. If possible, try to take your notes in outline form. The organization of ideas is as important as the content of those ideas, especially when it comes to learning exam material.
2. Review your notes every day Spend 30 minutes each evening going over notes from each class. Research shows that reviewing new material within 24 hours after hearing it increases your retention of that material significantly. In addition, reviewing material before the next class period allows you to identify points of confusion which will prepare you to ask the questions you need to ask before the next class.
3. Alternate study locations Alternating study spaces is a more effective way to retain information. Although you may have a favorite spot to study, research suggests that it is better to change locations. Memory is influenced by location, so changing your study locale increases the likelihood of remembering what you learned.
4. Get enough sleep Sleep is essential when it comes to effective study habits. When you’re tired, you think more slowly and tend not to retain as much information. If you want to get the most out of your study sessions, make sure you get enough sleep.
5. Use flash cards Writing notes and definitions more than once will help imprint information in your memory. Write down important facts for a test and quiz yourself each day until you have mastered the material. Flash cards are convenient because they allow you to condense material and eliminate irrelevant information, allowing you to focus on only the most important details.
6. Join a study group When working through a difficult problem set or assignment, a study group can prove very valuable. Dividing the work amongst your peers is also an effective method for reducing your workload and ensuring that you understand the material.
7. Don’t immerse yourself in subject matter Contrary to popular belief, immersing yourself in a subject for long periods of time is less effective when it comes to memory retention than switching between topics. Take a break from each topic after 30 minutes and move on to another topic. You can come back to the topic after you have spent some time studying other topics. When you do revisit the topic, you will feel refreshed and ready to pick up where you left off.
8. Don’t wait until the night before an exam to study Waiting until the night before an exam to study can lead to cramming which is not an effective studying technique. Cramming before an exam will increase the feeling of desperation which can lead to test anxiety. Instead, jot down a few ideas or facts that you want to have fresh in your mind when you begin the exam. Read through your list a few times when you get up in the morning and just before you take the exam, then put it away. This kind of memory reinforcement not only improves your performance on the test, it also improves your long-term memory of the material.