Study Tips for college students

College life can be an exciting yet challenging experience for many students; with so many assignments to complete and exams to take, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and at your wits’ end—however, with the right study tips and techniques, achieving academic success can get a little bit easier. 

Nothing works for everyone, so The Voice has gathered 20 study tips for you to pick from. Try a few and find out what works best for you. 

  1. Set Specific Goals

Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve will help you stay focused and motivated. Create specific and achievable goals for each study session, such as completing a specific number of pages or mastering a specific concept. Make sure that your goals are realistic and manageable, and break down bigger goals into multiple smaller goals so you don’t feel discouraged or overwhelmed. 

  1. Create a Study Schedule

Creating a study schedule will help you manage your time efficiently, ensuring that you devote enough time to each subject. Block out specific times for studying and stick to your schedule as much as possible—but make sure to include regular breaks to avoid burnout. 

  1. Find a Study Group

Studying in a group can be a great way to stay motivated and learn from your peers, but it’s vital to find a study group that matches your learning style and schedule. Working with others can also help you stay accountable and keep you on track.

  1. Use Active Learning Techniques

Active learning techniques, such as note-taking, summarizing, and self-quizzing, can help you retain information better than passive learning methods, such as reading and highlighting. Try different active learning techniques and see which ones work best for you.

  1. Stay Organized

Keep your notes and assignments in order, and use a planner or calendar to keep track of important deadlines. Make sure to prioritize your tasks—always work on the most urgent or important tasks first. 

  1. Avoid Distractions

Distractions, such as social media, texting, or watching TV, can hinder your productivity and focus. If you’re easily distracted, consider studying in a quiet place, like a library or study room. You can reserve a quiet study room in the EOU library by visiting the library’s website. If that’s not an option, turn off your devices or download an app, such as Stay Focused, that will lock distracting apps on your device for a specified amount of time. 

  1. Take Care of Yourself

Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat nutritious foods. Taking breaks and practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can also help you manage stress and stay focused. The more stressed out your mind or body is, the harder it will be to succeed. 

  1. Find a Comfortable Study Space

Having a comfortable space good for studying can help you focus and stay motivated. Find or create a quiet and well-lit area that is free from distractions. Make sure that your desk and chair are comfortable to prevent physical discomfort and fatigue.

  1. Use Mnemonics and Memory Techniques

Mnemonics and memory techniques can help you memorize and recall information more efficiently. Create acronyms, rhymes, or mental images to associate with the information you’re studying. For example, you could use the acronym “ROY G. BIV” to remember the colors of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).

  1. Use Flashcards

Flashcards are an old-school but effective way to review and memorize information. Write down key terms, definitions, or concepts on index cards and test yourself or ask a friend to quiz you. You can also use online flashcards or mobile apps for convenience.

  1. Take Breaks and Reward Yourself

Schedule short breaks every hour or so, and use that time to stretch, walk, or do something enjoyable. You can also reward yourself after completing a challenging task or achieving a milestone by watching an episode of your favorite TV show or having a snack.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water can help you stay alert and focused. Bring a water bottle to your study sessions and take sips regularly. Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks, as they can cause jitters or crashes.

  1. Use Color-Coding and Highlighting

Color-coding and highlighting can help you visually organize and prioritize information. Use different colors to represent different categories or themes, and highlight key points or terms. Don’t overdo it, as too much highlighting can be distracting or overwhelming.

  1. Teach or Explain the Material to Someone Else

Teaching or explaining the material to someone else can help you understand and retain the information better. Find a friend, family member, or classmate who is willing to listen and learn and use that opportunity to practice your comprehension skills.

  1. Use Ambient Sounds or Music

Ambient sounds or music can help you block out distracting noises or create a conducive atmosphere. Use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs and listen to instrumentals, calming music, or ambient sounds, such as nature or white noise. Avoid music with lyrics or loud, fast-paced beats that can be distracting.

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method that can help you stay focused and productive. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a specific task or assignment until the timer goes off. Then, take a short break (5-10 minutes), and repeat the cycle. After completing four cycles, take a longer break (15-30 minutes).

  1. Use Study Aids and Resources

There are many study aids and resources available to college students, such as textbooks, lecture notes, study guides, online tutorials, and tutoring services. Take advantage of these resources and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling or need clarification. EOU has the Learning Center, the Math Lab, and the Writing Center, which together offer in-person and remote tutoring in a variety of subjects. The Learning Center also offers group study sessions and additional resources on learning strategies. 

  1. Practice Active Recall and Spaced Repetition

Active recall and spaced repetition can help you reinforce and retain information more effectively. Use flashcards or quizzes to test yourself on the material and review the information at regular intervals, spaced out over time. This can help you avoid cramming and improve long-term retention.

  1. Use Scent Association

Scent association is a memory technique that involves associating a specific scent with a particular subject or topic. Apply one scent or lotion while studying and then use the same scent or lotion during the test to help trigger your memory and recall the information more easily. 

  1. Review Your Notes Regularly

Reviewing your notes regularly can help you retain information and prepare for exams. After each lecture or study session, take a few minutes to review your notes and summarize the key points. This can help you identify areas that need further clarification or practice and reinforce what you’ve learned. 

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