Studying is probably not what most students look forward to in college. It can be a culture shock to those who didn’t need to study much in high school, and even to those who did study often. College steps the difficulty up a notch, and it can be overwhelming. We thought it could be helpful to assemble a list of techniques and strategies you could try out to make studying just a bit easier!
We’ll start off with one that most of you have probably done before in some capacity. Using flashcards is a great way to train the brain and associate a question with an answer. When studying for a multiple-choice test/quiz, this is a great study option that doesn’t require staring at a book for hours. Adding visual elements such as pictures of different colors for different subjects can also train the brain and help memorization.
It’s hard to even pronounce this one, we get it. However, it makes for a great study tool. Essentially mnemonics are just condensing information into a more easily digestible form. For example, if you wanted to remember the planets in order, you could say: My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Nothing. Each word represents the starting letter of a planet in the correct order. You can always come up with your own too! What works for you may be different than what works for others, so get creative.
Listen to Music
This one isn’t so much a tip to help you study, but rather to make studying easier. Listening to music can be a great way to get into your own zone and eliminate outside distractions. Also, your favorite type of music may or may not work for studying. Experiment with types of music to see what works for you, and it may not be something you’ve listened to or thought you liked! Similarly to mnemonics, you could associate lyrics to songs you like with answers to problems. Possibly replacing the lyrics with an answer but keeping the melody could help. The possibilities are endless!
Rewarding yourself for completing certain study goals is a great way to incentivize studying. The reward will vary depending on the person, but the premise remains. An example could be something like if you finish a chapter in your book, you get to watch an episode of a TV show, or you get to have a tasty snack. Do things like this in increments. You can also think in terms of getting studying done completely and then receiving a reward, such as going out with friends or playing some video games. This will take a little mental fortitude because it is important to stick to only giving yourself these rewards when you complete a goal. Otherwise, they lose their “reward” status.
Build Positive Study Habits
This portion could go on for a while, but there are a few things that we can suggest and maybe that will spark some ideas for you. The first idea is to study with friends. The first thing to keep in mind when studying with friends is that becoming distracted gets very easy, and if they’re studying for a different subject at the same time, it may not be the best idea to quiz them or have them quiz you. Now, if you’re studying the same thing, this becomes much easier! Along with studying with a friend, the environment you’re in can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your studying. Many like to study in a library, some prefer a coffee shop, some prefer their rooms, and so on. There are limitless places, so if you are finding it tough to study wherever you do currently, think about some other environments to try out. It can also be a good idea to study certain subjects on certain days of the week. We are creatures of habit, and the more routine we have, the easier it is to stick with it. This concept can be applied to studying.
Overall, no two students are the same, and the same is true for their study habits. Finding the right combination of factors can be challenging and will probably be different from what you’ve experienced in high school. It can even change from year to year in college with living situations changing. These are just a few things you can try, but it definitely is not a complete list. We encourage you to look at other options for reducing stress when studying and find what works. With that being said, good luck and we hope you find your perfect combination!