Making the Best Use of Study Time

Two guys studying

  • Testing is usually infrequent as compared to high school.  Each exam will cover a large amount of material and will be of great importance to your success in that course.
  • Homework is often not collected for a grade, but is designed to be an invaluable tool in the learning process and a necessary component for your success in the course.  You are responsible for completing the homework as preparation for an exam, paper or other course project.
  • Utilize the Concentration Cycle – an efficient model to use in order to optimize each study session.  See more detailed information on the Concentration Cycle for a clearer description.
  • Know your peak times of the day and physical environments that are most conducive to prolonged concentration for you.
  • Reorganize both lecture and reading notes on a continual basis after class.  This will make studying for an exam a much more manageable chore and will increase your understanding of new material.
  • Realize that the only way anyone remembers anything is by associating it to something already in the long-term memory.  Do it on purpose.
  • Consciously and purposefully make connections between ideas expressed in the class or in the text.  Avoid over-memorization of isolated facts.  Categorized material is easier to remember and you will be tested on how well you see the bigger picture.  Try to determine applications for what you are learning or try to gain an understanding of WHY the material is deemed to be important.
  • Look for ways to improve your academic effectiveness and efficiency.  Try new things to make academic life easier and less stressful.  Learn from both your mistakes and your successes.  If you want to improve in your ability to learn and remember material, you will need to experiment to find strategies that work for you.
  • Understand and follow directions precisely.  'Close enough' is not college quality work.  A job partially completed is a job NOT completed.
  • Make sure your work is professional in appearance and free of errors.
  • Get together with other students to study or just to discuss the material being learned.  This could be a group or a "study buddy."  This activity will tend to clarify your understanding of the material as well as serve as a means to avoid procrastination (assuming the group manages to avoid distractions).
  • To reduce the pressure of marathon study sessions (otherwise known as "cramming"), avoid them.  It is better to study each week and utilize the skill of on-going review.  Spend about 10 minutes in each study session reviewing past material so that you will be able to link ideas together and improve your retention.