How to focus on studies

Alyssa Mopia is a graduate from San Diego State University with a BS
in Communication. She has a passion for all things fashion, beauty and
lifestyle. She also continues to pursue her career in communication
through PR, freelance writing and blogging. Lastly, she loves
adventures and trying different food.

From my experience in College, these were the tips that really helped me stay on top of my studies.
1. Stay Organized/Prioritized – First and foremost, it’s most important to stay organized. My best bet is using a calendar or planner to jot down specific exam dates and due dates for papers/projects and even when your vacation/holidays and days off are. This helps ensure that you know what to do in preparation. Keeping track of deadlines, especially when you may be juggling a full load of classes is tough, but it’s completely necessary when it comes down to that one week when all of the professors seem to form an alliance and put their exams and due dates on the same day! It’ll happen, trust me! And trying to juggle all of that when unorganized seems like an utter nightmare. Stay organized, prioritize your tasks so it isn’t left for you last minute – those all-nighters when you procrastinate are NEVER any fun – take it from me!
2. Pay Attention in Class and Take Notes – It’s important to actually take down notes instead of dozing off while pretending to pay attention. For me, writing lecture notes down in a physical notebook was the best way I retained information. I know people prefer to take their laptop/tablet and take notes that way as well. Whether they provide the actual power point or not, be sure to mark the main points and any additional information they may provide. It’s the added information the professor speaks about that aren’t noted in these power points that are most frequented as questions in exams – it’s to make sure you were paying attention in class!
3. Connect with people and make a study buddy, or better yet create a study group – Make an effort to make a friend in class to get together and study. You can also mass email your classmates and see who’s interested in joining a study group! This was an effective way to get people to work together and get different points of views on certain topics. I suggest physically meeting together to discuss and study, but I know a lot of people who do it via email or a form of chat online. It is all up to you, but I do suggest picking someone else’s brain especially if there is something you don’t understand and you can’t access the instructor to answer for you right away.
4. Don’t rely on a “study guide” or “cheat sheet” – Don’t rely on a cheat sheet or study guide. Study guides are just that – guides! They don’t have all of the answers to it and they are there to help you study and retain information. And if you think that you can summon up a study guide the night before an exam, think again. Definitely utilize this as a tool to help you study and find main topics from the notes you’ve taken and what you’ve read from the books or articles that were assigned.
5. Find your best method to study – Studying is different for everyone. It can be from doing all the reading, studying off flashcards, taking notes, and even studying with a group. Find what works best for you and use it to your advantage. I study best in the library creating flash cards of main points of the exam.
6. Utilize tools available to you – This is a no brainer! Use the textbook, the syllabus, the power point notes and anything else given to you to your advantage. You can even look back at previous homework assignments to compare your right and wrong answers to improve your scores and ultimately help you with your studies.
7. Realize it’s okay to make mistakes – No one is perfect. We win some and we lose some, and it’s the same thing for our academics. There will be some great papers you write, tests you’ve passed and projects that you nailed, but there will be some times when you just didn’t make the cut. It’s okay, learn from your mistakes, whether it was the fact that you didn’t study enough, you didn’t end up reading the course materials or you just didn’t try. We make mistakes, but that’s when you have to pick yourself up, move on and do your best the next time! – Mistakes contribute to your journey.
8. TRY your hardest – There comes a time when you just over worked yourself, and it’s understandable balancing all your tasks and trying to do well in all of them. At this point, just try and don’t give up. If there is a question that you do not know the answer to, try and use the process of elimination or recall specific things from your studies. Chances are, you do know the answer! Just be sure to believe in yourself and try the best you can when it comes down to it.
9. Celebrate by rewarding yourself – This is when all of the hours put into studying, researching for that 12 page essay and endless hours of making notecards are worthwhile. When you can finally cross off that test, project or presentation off your calendar and say “F yeah” to finally being finished. Take this time to reward yourself and really acknowledge the hard work you put in to making all your efforts worthwhile. Whether it’s getting a nice dinner with a loved one, going shopping for a new pair of shoes, or just resting and taking that much needed day off from all of the studying. Celebrate!

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