“I couldn’t tell you what I learned from school, but I could tell you a story or two.” Okay, so maybe Asher Roth couldn’t tell you what he learned in college, but for the rest of us, we have to take a thing or two away from our college classes. (Afterall, most of us are putting ourselves into debt indefinitely just to be here!) Unfortunately, that means we have to spend a lot of time studying and preparing for our next exam.
However, studying isn’t so bad if you learn how to get the most out of your study sessions! Here are a few tips to help you maximize your study sessions so that you have more time to enjoy the college life Asher loves so much:
- Identify your study style. Do you like silence or background noise while you’re studying? Can you study in your room or does that provide too many distractions? Do you comprehend material when you read it or do you need to make flashcards or study guides to synthesize material? Remember that what works for your roommate or even that super smart guy in your Intro to Chem class may not work for you. Try different study aids and environments until you find what works for you.
- Find the perfect study spot. Some prefer to study in the silent solace of the library; others prefer somewhere with some background noise, such as a student center or café. However, don’t limit yourself to where you can study! Sometimes the best study spots are “hidden” on campus. For example, our campus has an old chapel that they reconverted into study space. I discovered it second semester my freshmen year, and it’s still one of my favorite spots two years later! Besides being beautiful inside, it has plenty of outlets to plug in your computer, couches if you prefer to study somewhere a bit more comfortably (or take a nap), and is located in our student center, making it easy to grab a coffee or a snack without interrupting your study session. Explore your campus; you never know where you’ll find the best study spot!
- Don’t pack lightly. When you get ready to study, bring everything you may need or want. Forgetting something – whether it be a textbook, flashcards, or even a snack – can quickly end your honorable intentions to study. When I head out for a major study session, I pack snacks, a water, money for coffee, headphones, my flash drive, blank index cards, and even scissors so that I can cut index cards into flashcards if necessary. In addition, I’ll check my backpack twice to ensure that I have all the textbooks/notebooks I need. Never give yourself a reason not to study!
- Make studying enjoyable. Okay, so studying isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable activity (especially if it’s Thursday night and you’re stuck in the library studying for a Friday morning midterm). However, there are ways you can make your study session more of an “experience” than a chore. Before you head out for a tough study session, treat yourself to a cup of coffee or a snack to take with you. Maybe you can go out to dinner with a friend before you head to the library together. Finally, always treat yourself after a long study session! Whether it be a bowl of ice cream or an extra hour of watching the Jersey Shore with your friends, make sure you give yourself something to look forward to.
- Make yourself focus. In college terms, that means no Facebook, no tweeting, no e-mail, no YouTube videos, and no College Juice. If you don’t need your Internet connection for an assignment, turn off your wireless connection altogether. If you need background music when you study, choose music that won’t distract you. For example, I have a “study mix” on Pandora that features Explosions in the Sky, a contemporary all-instrumental group (they did all the music for Friday Night Lights). Since there are no words, I can’t start singing along (which everyone around me probably appreciates!).
Still need to brush up on your study skills? Consider taking a study skills class at your university. Many schools offer students 1-credit courses to help you strengthen your study, time management, and/or reading skills.
What are your best study tips? Where’s your favorite place to study? Comment below to share your tips with us!
Written by Guest Blogger Abby Stollar. Abby is a senior at the University of Delaware, majoring in Mass Communication and minoring in political science, political communication, and journalism. She is very involved on campus, currently serving as the president of her PRSSA Chapter, staff reporter for the campus newspaper, peer mentor for freshmen students, tour guide, and a teaching assistant. In addition, she is an intern for a public relations and marketing agency. She frequently tweets (@abbynicole1204) and blogs at http://abbystollar.com.