You may have skated through high school unchallenged, with no great need to study. But if you are entering a four-year degree program, or an intensive two-year career-training program, you will need to develop strong study habits to succeed in college. Here are a few tips for establishing good study habits, and becoming a successful college student.
Manage Your Time
Prioritize your time wisely. In college you will be expected to be in class for a certain amount of hours each week. You may be working, so that accounts for another pre-determined amount of time. You will, of course, need to sleep—so again, a certain amount of hours accounted for. So where does that leave you: 24 hours minus class, work and sleep equals your free time. The most important thing you need to prioritize with your free time is studying. This comes before any social life, any TV time, or any time at the gym or student center.
Study experts recommend scheduling your study period at the same time and place each day. This will help establish a routine that you are more likely to stick to. Plus, your mind will be prepared at the same time each day for what it knows is coming.
Whatever you do, don’t convince yourself that you’ll get to it when you have more time. You have to make time. College courses build on what you’ve already learned, so the more you get behind, the harder it will be to catch up.
Prioritize Your Workload
No matter how hard you try to dedicate time for study, sometimes there’s just more homework than there is time! Here’s some advice on how to prioritize your workload:
• Determine the most immediate deadlines and complete those assignments first. Many professors will dock points for assignments turned in late, so know when things are due and get them done on time.
• Tackle the most difficult tasks. After you’ve met your immediate deadlines, look at your workload and dive into what most scares you! It’s easy to run from difficult assignments, but they will always be waiting. If you approach difficult assignments early, you will be prepared to ask questions in class, and get help with what you don’t know. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of getting unpleasant assignments out of the way. It does wonders for your peace of mind.
• Leave the easiest material for last. You may want to do these first and just tick off a few things from your “To-do” list, but don’t. By saving easy tasks for the end of your study session, you’ll be able to complete these even if you’re tired. And if you don’t have time to fit it in, at least you know you feel comfortable with this study material and it won’t cause you as much stress later on.