Tips to Study Smarter
You’ve probably heard how you have to study more and learn to manage your time better before heading to college. It’s easy to say “study smarter,” but how do you actually accomplish that? Try out some of these tips to up your studying game.
- Use a daily planner and block off time each day for studying and homework. Whether you have a test or assignment due the next day or not, use that time every day to study. Setting a routine now will make it easier next year in college when you have to do more work outside the classroom.
- Review your class notes daily and fill in missing details. You might want to compare notes with a friend to see what each of you picked up on for clues about what is most important or to look for differences to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Don’t wait until the night before a test to look at your notes, they might make no sense weeks after you’ve written them down.
- Set goals. If you’re reading a novel for English, figure out how many chapters you need to read per day to finish on time and aim for that goal each day. Set a goal to memorize 25 new Spanish words a day for weekly tests. Or, plan to concentrate on one math formula so that you understand not only the “how” but the “why” and can complete the formula with several different figures.
- Study for 35-45 minutes and then take a break, no more than 10 minutes. Giving your brain and yourself a short break will give you time to digest what you have just reviewed or worked on. Plus, it will help you concentrate better when get back to work.
- Try studying in different places. If the weather is nice, think about doing some reading outdoors. Need to really concentrate? Head to the library. If you want to be comfortable, find a good spot in your room; just make sure there are no distractions while you review your class notes. Studying in different places can help reduce boredom.
- Do more with the material. Try turning headings into questions and answering them after each section. Or write down answers to focus questions instead of just skimming the questions before reading the sections. You might connect the topic to your own experiences, such as connecting a family vacation at Yellowstone National Park to President Woodrow Wilson creating the National Park Service in 1916, and writing a few notes for yourself. By engaging other areas of your brain, you may remember the material longer than the 30 minutes it takes you to read a chapter.
- After tests, compare your notes with what was included in the exam. If your notes included information about what was asked, you’re on the right track. If your notes were lacking details that were covered in a number of questions, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from the teacher or a friend who is doing well in the class.
- Try different study methods to find the one that works best for you. Some students thrive on reviewing flash cards while others need to reread entire chapters of their textbooks. Seeing which method works best for you now, while your workload is lighter, will pay off when you have to do more work on your own as a college student.
By: Iowa Student Loan