We’ve all heard them. We’ve all pushed them in one ear and out the other.
“Work smarter, not harder.”
Goodness, this is the oldest and most driven point by parents, teachers, councilors, and the list goes on. Well, they weren’t just yapping about this for no reason. You can study for hours upon hours, but if you’re not studying the correct material, you won’t know the majority of what’s on the test. If you’re studying while you’re exhausted, the longer and harder you study, the less good it does you. Your brain is not absorbing anything. What good is it really doing you?
This is a big one. College is a place where you learn to procrastinate really effectively, right? Some of you may have learned this trick really well in high school. Beginning your studying early has its benefits. Number one, you won’t burn out. If you begin earlier, you can do a little bit at a time without feeling guilty about quitting when you’re tired. Secondly, it frees up a lot of time. Plan your studying increments ahead of time, and watch how much time will magically appear for you to do what you actually want to.
“Read the book.”
Trying to get by in the class without ever having to crack the book (avoid buying it *cough cough*) may not be a great idea. Find out within the first week what percentage of the questions come from the book. Ask your professor, and then confirm it with someone that took the class last semester.
“Study according to your learning style.”
If you want to ensure that you retain the optimal level of information, learn your learning style and study in a way that compliments it. If you’re audio, try recording lectures, with your professor’s permission of course. Visual learners can try making notes into charts or graphs or color-coding notes. A good trick for kinetic or tactical learners is to try to make concepts into a project by applying them to a hobby.
“Get extra help.”
Your sitting in class with a blank stare on your face because nothing that comes out of your professor’s mouth makes any sense. Obviously, you need a deeper explanation or more practice. Going to a professor’s office hours may help. If your professor is presenting the material in a way that makes you more confused than you were, you should seek tutoring. Universities that offer free tutoring often employ students who have done really well in a certain subject. Learning from a student may be easier to understand.
“Find a good study spot.”
This may seem obvious, but your studying may or may not be best served in your room with your music and TV off. How many of you, while doing homework on your computer, get distracted by just the thought of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other website you love to frequent? Your optimal “study spot” may not be in your room where all of this is accessible. Try going to the library and studying materials that aren’t on your laptop, and not t bringing it with you.