Effective Study Habits While in College

While navigating the college experience, one of the more difficult challenges is understanding your study habits and how you learn. It can be easy to assume that your study habits will remain the same as in high school. However, college presents with different challenges that might throw you off about what you understand as studying. The key to effective studying is finding out how you learn and how you can make your learning process a reality. This can be a trial-and-error process as there is no way to know how you study best automatically. There are often several factors when it comes to how you learn: comfort, environment, noise levels, music, and time management.

By Britney Cox — July 13, 2022

Tags: college life

Effective Study Habits While in College

While navigating the college experience, one of the more difficult challenges is understanding your study habits and how you learn. It can be easy to assume that your study habits will remain the same as in high school. However, college presents with different challenges that might throw you off about what you understand as studying. The key to effective studying is finding out how you learn and how you can make your learning process a reality. This can be a trial-and-error process as there is no way to know how you study best automatically. There are often several factors when it comes to how you learn: comfort, environment, noise levels, music, and time management.

First and foremost, to sit down and study, you need a physical space to work. This means that your first task is finding your perfect study place. This is going to be different for every student. Some students might be able to study anywhere at any time. However, this may not be the case for most of us. The two most popular destinations for college students to study are their campus library or a coffee shop on or off-campus. The campus library is made for the exact purpose of studying and, therefore, works for many students. Students can have the space to bring out all their materials and be comfortable. It can be hard to work if you’re cramped on a bench with papers flying everywhere because of the wind. Often a luxury in both libraries and coffee shops is the access to food and drinks. When spending long hours writing an essay or memorizing tables, it is important to stay fed and hydrated so you do not have to think about it as you study important material.

While finding your perfect study spot, one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is the noise level of wherever you may be working. There are two types of students: those who prefer to work in silence and those who prefer to work with background noise. It might take time to realize which of these students you are. If you are someone who focuses better while in silence, you might want to utilize your college’s library or find an empty classroom somewhere on campus to sit. However, if you are someone who focuses better with background noise, a coffee shop, bookstore, or even your school’s lobby might be the place for you. You might even benefit from staying in your dorm, apartment, or house. Though, it is important to remember that staying at home brings challenges regarding distractions.

Along with general noise, music could also be essential to your studying. Virtually all of us enjoy listening to music. While walking around campus to get to class, you will likely have music playing. However, this might not be your style when you are studying. Though we would like to believe that we are good at multitasking, most of us are not. Especially when it comes to memorization, it might be better for you to go without the music. Many students must fight the urge to listen to their favorite lyrics instead of focusing on their tasks. When given a choice between studying for a required class or listening to our favorite artist, most of us would choose the latter. Because of this, it is best to avoid the conflict altogether by ditching your headphones and keeping them in your backpack. However, if this seems impossible, you could investigate music made specifically for studying. This often includes instrumental or classical music, something without lyrics.

Lastly, the key element to studying is finding the time to do it. This is often the most difficult part. College brings all kinds of exciting opportunities, such as hanging out with friends, going to club meetings, or attending on-campus events. However, you also should go to class, visit your professors’ office hours, and get food at some point. This is where it can be easy to put studying on the backburner. To succeed, you must plan out times to study. It is essential to keep a planner or put it into your phone’s calendar that you must study for certain blocks of time. Some classes might not even need that much study time, so this can vary from class to class. The important thing to remember is how much of the material you understand and how much of a workload each class has. You might need to block out study time several times a week for a particular class, or you might need to only work on an individual class once every two weeks. The general rule of thumb is to study one hour per credit hour of a class. If you are unsure how much time to study, try asking your professor or a student that has previously taken this class. As they have studied the material before, they might know how long it took them to grasp the concepts.

Studying for a college class can seem incredibly daunting at first. However, with a bit of trial-and-error, you can quickly learn how to study for any course. Each course will have different assignments requiring different methods of studying. If you make the time in your schedule, studying will get easier as you go through college. If you happen not to do so well on a test, you will always get another opportunity to change your study habits and learn from your mistakes. Any effort you put towards studying is an effort toward the grade you want.

Britney Cox

Britney Cox

Britney Cox is a writer from Huntington, WV. She has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Literary Studies and Creative Writing. She is currently working on her Masters in English, and she plans to pursue her doctorate eventually in hopes of becoming a professor (though her longtime dream is to work in the entertainment industry). Her passions include reading, writing, theatre, and listening to Taylor Swift.
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