Student Success Stories: Strategies for Studying
How to Successfully Study in College
Real study strategies from real students -- of what they feel is their overall study method.
I would describe my study method as proactive. I don't wait until I don't understand something or until I have a test to study. I stay on top of my work and start on projects soon after they are assigned. Each day I think about each of my classes and what is going on in them as far as what we are learning, what projects are in progress and when the next tests are. If I feel there is something I didn't understand from the day's lecture then I'll study it so that I don't get behind. You don't have to work on every class every day. Sometimes I divide things up and will spend one day doing work for one class and another day doing work for another.
My overall study method includes a combination of reading and creating consolidated notes. In most classes that have a strong textbook component and lots of key terms and concepts, I usually make an outline of each chapter, highlighting main points and chapter definitions. I make sure to also come up with examples for concepts, because most teachers like when you can explain a concept with definitions -- it shows that you're really grasping the material. I combine class notes in with these chapter outlines so that I can have one main thing to study -- I don't have to go back to other notes or the textbook unless absolutely necessary. It's important to also remember to do these outlines right after a chapter is discussed -- most classes won't test you on material until they've covered at least 3 or 4 chapters, and creating outlines at the last minute is very time-consuming, so it's always best to prepare for tests before you even know they're coming!
My study method depends on the subject. Usually I am a note card girl. I have a photographic memory and always use process of association. I always look for easy ways to remember something. If I have to remember the name of 5 important people, I associate them with 5 people that I already know that have the same name. I find someway to tie them together. If I have to remember a long phrase, I will use the first letter of each word to make a song or sentence. I make learning it fun!
I typically study or work on projects for a few hours each day -- usually between or after classes. I like doing it during the day, partly because my brain is a little fresher then, but also because it then frees up my evening for fun stuff -- social gatherings or just hanging out. I also do most of my reading for classes on the weekend, partly because those are days with no classes and big blocks of time, and partly so I can start the week having read all the material -- and then just spend the days of the week reviewing my notes and such.
My overall study method is review, review, review. I have a difficult time retaining information when I study for long periods of time, so I try to break up my sessions into an hour of studying and 15 minutes of break. I try to avoid the internet when I am taking a break because I find it is very difficult to get back to studying after surfing the net (same holds true for working in the "real world"). Instead I would talk with a friend, walk around outside, or just get up and stretch. I always believed that studying began with attending class and participating.
I like to keep up in class by taking notes and reading the chapter right before class starts, so that it is fresh in my mind. I try to review my notes before or after class as well so that new concepts stick in my mind. Reviewing notes daily also helps because you are not trying to cram as much information into your head the night before a test, instead you are simply jogging your memory with a "review."
I re-read my notes, and if I'm able to, I compare them with someone else in the class to see if I missed anything important. If a test involves a lot of vocabulary terms, I'll make flash cards, but I don't do that a lot. Also, a lot of textbooks come with a CD or a Website. If you go on the Website or CD they usually have practice quizzes, which are a great study tool to see if you get the main concepts.
My overall study method? Structured. One thing I learned was I had to adapt or change my study method according to the class. I couldn't study for a Religion Class the same way I studied for a Finance class. But making sure I had enough time to study for each class- even if it meant carrying a planner with me at all times was a big part of my success.
My overall study method is quite simple. I re-write all of my notes, condensing them onto half the amount of pages as the original. This truly causes me to read and consider each fact, and find a simple way to say the same thing which makes it easier for me to remember. If a teacher provides or recommends a study guide, definitely use it! The study guide highlights important concepts for a reason.
To start, I always read the chapters in the books I am going to be tested on. I take an active reading approach by highlighting and making notes in the margins while I am reading. Then, as the testing day approaches, I make study guides that compile all of my class notes, book notes, and homework assignments into one easy to read guide. This way everything is clear and comprehensive.
I do the reading that is required for the classes, and I try to keep up. If I do fall behind, I usually use the reading that I did not get to as an additional study aid. I take good notes in class and actually attend every class that I can. Sometimes with volleyball its tough because we are on the road a lot, but if I do miss class because of volleyball I make sure that I get the notes from another student in the class. Also, for a subject such as chemistry, I do practice problems to help me understand what the material means.
I love notes. Although I would read the text books, my notes are what got me through. If you can become an amazing note taker then you will be great. Just stay organized, learn short hand, and if you have a gap, look it up or ask the professor to help you out.
I would describe my overall study method as a gradual process. I read before class so I have an idea of what is being discussed and anything I have questions about will be cleared up.
I generally wait until a few days before the test to start studying... one day before per chapter. (For example, 5 days before if there are 5 chapters.) Inevitably there is always a time crunch and my goal plan never works out. But taking notes to the gym the week before a test increases retainment of information and easy recalling on test day.
The best word to describe my test preparation is thorough. I don't take any shortcuts because they usually don't work. I read the material and outline it so that I can read over my notes a couple of times before the exam. There are very few people who can read a text book and retain all the detailed information they read, and I'm not one of them. I have to put in the time, but it always pays off. I make a realistic plan before I start studying for a test or writing a paper. I can estimate how long it takes me to complete a chapter and then I plan accordingly.
I rewrite my notes and form a study sheet for tests. This helps because not only am I reading it for at least the second time, I am also writing it for the second time. I have a photographic memory, so seeing my notes multiple times really helps me.
My study method is usually an early morning one. My mind is fresh and ready to learn in the morning and I usually don't have classes. I find that I do so much better if I get up early and study a little bit of each class every day. It is so important for me to review everything as I go along. It is impossible to do well if I cram it all in last minute. I tried that strategy once, not good!
I understand how I operate, and I know that I can't study for extended periods of time, so I break it up into smaller chunks and make sure that I do fun things and hang out with my friends in between, no matter how busy or stressed I am. It actually makes me more productive in the long run.
I prefer to study in small groups and practice problems where I can work out the methods verbally with others.
My overall study method involves repetition and being able to actually understand the concepts and not just memorize the material.
Studying for me was all about prioritizing. If I had a major test or big paper due I would concentrate my time on those. For less important things that would effect my grade like a quiz I spent less time focusing on that material.
I like to re-write my notes. I know this sounds stupid, but this method works. By doing so you are using the method of repetition to learn, which works best for me. The more I see the material, use the material and apply the material the easier it becomes.
Return to more Student Success Stories.