My Best Study Tips for College

Starting college can always seem like a daunting progress. Trust me, every first year student had some form of anxiety running through their veins before classes start, it is not just you. This is a new place and new experience, and this will also be home for the next four years. Here is a little list of study habits that I have found to be effective. All of this is advice I wish I had been given before starting my college experience.

Study Bits and Pieces Every Day.
One of the easiest study habits you can form, and most benefitable, is study the information every day. Do. Not. Cram. My genetics professor dedicated an entire class to show how information is retained, and the brief summary is it is retained based on how many times you review it. You could be the smartest kid in the entire school, but if I review the same information ten times more than you did, I have a better chance at making a better grade than you. This is easily one of my favorite study tips. Review new material during your study session, but before closing out your study session, brush up on older information as well. This is also very helpful for when finals role around.

Don’t Skip Class.
I was never one to skip class because the way I looked at it was if I skipped I just threw away 1000 dollars. Yes, most classes cost a 1000 dollars when you do the math. However, I have seen just how damaging skipping can do to other people. When you skip, you miss important information that will most likely be put on the test. And, even if the professor is reading word for word from the PowerPoint, it is important to attend because if you ever need help the professor is going to be more willing to help you if he or she sees you have been putting effort into the class.

Make Study Guides.
THIS SAVED ME. Out of all the tips I am giving, this one was the one that saved my grades. When the test rolls around, it is difficult to go through all of my crazy, messy, notes when reviewing. It is important to go through the textbook and class notes in advance and put them on a separate, neat, piece of paper. This way you have everything you need to review in one pile, and the information is easy to understand. You can focus on practicing or memorization rather than trying to figure out what your notes even meant. This is also a great method to prepare for final exams. Instead of having to go through all of my notes for the semester, I was able to use all the study guides I had made for previous tests to study for the final exam.

Give Yourself a Break.
 This was something that I did my second year of college and it really helped me and saved me from burn out. My freshman year I did school work every single day and let me tell you, I was miserable. I never took a break or spent a weekend doing something other than school work. And then, if I was forced  away from my textbooks, I usually ended up feeling guilty for not studying. So, what I did was I made sure to get all of my homework assignments and readings done during the week, and then the weekend was mine to do whatever I wanted whether it was going out, shopping, reading a book, or spending time with family and friends. The only exception I would give myself is if I have a test, quiz, or I was severely behind on homework. And even then, I would make sure to dedicate at least a few hours to myself somewhere in the week.

Don’t Study All Night Before a Test + Distract Yourself.
This is tricky. In order to accomplish this, you need to have been previously studying for the test leading up to test day instead of cramming before. What I do is exactly a week before the test I will start making my study guide and reviewing it every single night. If I haven’t learned all the information that will be on the test at this point, I will add to my study guide as I learned within the week. Then, two days before the test, I study long and hard. The day before the test, I will review, but I won’t study as hard as the day before. Then, I will put all my notes away and watch a movie before I fall asleep. I know, sounds weird. But this method gets me out of my head for a little bit. I’m not obsessing over my study guide or trying to quiz myself on information. Instead, I give my mind a break before the big day, at least for two hours before I fall asleep.

Brief Review the Morning of the Test.
When I say brief, I mean glancing through notes for ten minutes during breakfast brief. This isn’t a study session as much as it is a refresher. It is strictly to get your head in the game so you don’t go into the test completely unfocused. It is important to not study within 30 minutes before the test. You wont remember a thing within that 30 minutes.

Mediation Helps Test Anxiety, At Least for Me.
Freshman Year I found out I have really bad test anxiety. For me, it was more about the timing of the test. I hated timed exams, and the lack of time I had always stressed me out and made me feel jittery before walking into an exam. Something that I found that really helped was sitting in my car when I got to school and meditating. It doesn’t even have to be a long meditation session, I usually had a 3 minute meditation session while timing it by listening to a single song. Mediation is already known to calm you down and reduce anxiety which is why this is so important to do right before an exam when I feel like my anxiety is at its highest. I usually go into the exam feeling a lot calmer and more