While the first couple of weeks at school can be dedicated to getting to know your new neighbourhood and the layout of campus, meeting fellow students and making new friends, the 'new' excuse can only be used for so long: It's time to buckle down and get studying! The key to effective studying is consistency, efficiency and energy.
Here are some tips to help you not only to blast through your notes, but also retain what you've learned.
1. Make room to study
Not only in your schedule, but literally create a space that allows you to concentrate. It should be quiet, clutter-free and in an area you always associate with studying. (So, watching the season premiere of your favourite show while reading your notes from class might not be a good plan .)
2. Plan ahead and manage your time
There are always so many things to do but remember to allocate a certain number of hours to each course. If you don't pre-plan and manage your time, you might fall into the habit of solely focusing on your most immediate concerns (e.g., the paper with the earliest due date, your weakest subject, your toughest prof) and ignoring the rest.
3. Balance studying with other activities
If you get too caught up in coursework, it can actually work against you. If you are stressed, tired or anxious, you won't retain what you've learned and you won't be as effective. Just like we want you to set aside time for studying, we want you to set aside time for fun too—try meditating, spending time with friends, working out, seeing a band, playing an instrument—you get the idea. Balance is important in all aspects of life—even entertainment.
4. Be an active participant
It's sometimes a temptation to be a passive observer—quietly listening to your professor while taking notes on your laptop (or skipping classes and relying on the textbook or notes from a classmate). Be engaged: Ask questions. Visit your prof during office hours. Form a study group. Get a tutor. Think of it as advocating for your education!
5. Use your on-campus resources
Whether it's counselling, health, tutoring, student success or financial help you need, there are resources available to you. Click on any of the links for more details about on-campus resource centres:
Or visit your own school's website for more tips.