Tips for Good Study Habits

As a student, your main job is to study, and this is what you would most likely spend most of your time on, especially if you are a college student.  Here's a few tips for studying, no matter what grade you are in.

1) Actively take notes in class.  As your teacher/professor lectures, write down what they say, making sure that where you write it is in an organized fashion.  For example, say that a particular slide is being projected while they are lecturing.  You may wish to print your slides, and write notes next to the slides on the printout.  Furthermore, you should be *actively* taking notes, meaning that you shouldn't just blindly write what is being said, but rather, you should think about the concepts and principles as you write them, so you can make sense of them.

2) Ask your teacher/professor questions.  If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask.  As a matter of fact, your instructor will actually appreciate you for having the initiative and courage to ask questions.  You should ask as soon as possible.  It may be during lecture or after class.  If you have a question while your studying at home, e-mail your instructor if you can, and if not, ask first thing the next day.  You should aim to understand everything discussed in lecture.

3) Study shortly after class.  You should review the material as quickly as possible after the class, because the material will be fresh in your mind, and reviewing will promote retention.  If you can head to the library right after class, you should do it, so you can review.  Reviewing may include re-copying your notes, doing the corresponding homework, or simply just looking over what was taught.

4) Make sure your goals are correct.  Oftentimes, instructors wish for you to be able to apply knowledge, rather than just knowing them.  For such reasons, it is better to aim to understand the material, as opposed to just rote memorizing.  Secondly, your goal should be to learn, not to get good grades.  Of course, good grades are important, but it is easier to obtain them if you make learning your goal.

5) Find unique ways to remember the material.  Some people make flashcards.  Others write out notes in different colors.  For everyone, the "best way to study" is different, so find what works for you, so that you can quickly review the material when the test day is approaching.

6) Do study guides and practice exams.  Instructors will often post study guides and/or practice tests online.  Make sure you complete everything, while understanding all questions.  Furthermore, this will familiarize you with the structure of the tests, so they won't be so overwhelming when the time comes for the real test.

7) Do not procrastinate.  If you were able to review material everyday after class, you have already avoided procrastination, in which case, great job!  Furthermore, the day before a test, try to review early in the day, so that you are able to go to bed on time.  After all, sufficient sleep promotes better memory.

These are just a few tips for studying.  I hope they help, and happy studying!


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