Studying your way through college


Alex Huerta/ The JTAC

Elijah Perry Imbong studying on the second floor of the Student Center.

No matter whether you are a freshman with no credits coming into college or a student starting their senior year, you can always improve your study skills. Though the act of studying proves to be difficult for many students, the process of learning how to study and how to do it well can present an even greater challenge. With procrastination, distractions and chaotic schedules rampant among students, establishing effective study routines for tests and quizzes is vital to achieving good grades and valuable habits. Here are a few tips that can add to your academic success.

Remember not everyone is able to study the same way. Making flashcards might work for someone else but not for you and that’s perfectly fine. Studying in your room works for some but not others. Some people can study when listening to music and others need silence. It’s important to remember, don’t give up your study habits you’ve already created just because you want to study with your classmates.

Trying to figure out where to sit on the first day might be slightly stressful. As appealing as it is to sit next to your friends in a class, they often just distract you from the lectures. This is especially true if it’s a class you really need to focus in, like Chemistry, Physics or Anatomy and Physiology.  Don’t feel like a bad friend if you can’t sit next to them because you need to be focused in class not talking with your friend.

If your professor has a phone policy, follow it!  Even if it’s a two hour-long class you can handle being off Twitter for a couple hours. If your professor doesn’t have a policy banning phone use, don’t use your phone during class!  The professor will notice who is on their phone during class and that could be the difference between you getting an A in a class instead of a B. Professors like students who are actively engaged in their lectures. Some classes allow you to use your laptop or tablet to take notes but don’t use that as a free pass to go on Facebook or to watch the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy. This also applies if you have someone in front of or next to you scrolling through Facebook or watching a movie because trust me I know it’s very tempting to watch. Just move seats for the next lecture so you can focus. You will miss so much information if you are not actively taking notes and listening!

On the “actively participating” note, do actually go to class! It doesn’t matter if the professor does or doesn’t take attendance. You will have more success if you attend class!  One bit of information you heard in class could be all you needed to pass or get one grade better!

If your professor asks you to read the chapter before the lecture chances are there is either going to be a quiz or they will only be working on example problems (this is very true in Chemistry and Physics). Come to class prepared and when you are reading through write down your questions so you can ask during the lecture.

Don’t cheat, don’t try to cheat, don’t even try to look at your phone to see the time because the professor will think you are cheating and you will more than likely get a zero on that test. Remember this is your first “rodeo” (i.e. college class), you are not the first freshman who has tried to outsmart this professor!  Many have tried and probably, many have failed. If you are freaking out about an upcoming test go talk to your professor, chances are they will help you study or give you some tips. If you go and talk to them they will remember and see that you are trying and you are being active in your education which will lead them to being more willing to help.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I have been given is that if you decide that you hate the course or that there is no point in trying, you are right you are going to fail. You cannot let yourself give in to a negative attitude about a class because that negativity will lead you into not doing assignments, not trying on essays and giving up on studying for tests. During finals week when you realize you can pass you just need a few more points but it is too late because of the hole you have dug yourself.

Take every option you receive in school at a chance to succeed, go to all the test review sessions, actually go to class, go to as many SI sessions as you can, never cheat and, turn in every single assignment given (even if it’s only partially completed). These are supposed to be the best years of your life so make them count!