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Why Good Study Skills Matter

September 25th, 2013 by Anonymous

By: Cynthia '14Cynthia Kovacs

4:00am. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. Oh no, that’s impossible it’s already time to get up. This is so not going to be fun! After barely getting two hours of sleep, I am hobbling over my own two legs trying to reach for the coffee pot. This is going to be the only thing that might get me through my statistics test. After sitting down for a few minutes sipping on my coffee, I try to convince myself that maybe my professor will end up canceling the test last minute or that I can come up with a great excuse about a terrible illness I contracted. ANYTHING will be better than taking this exam in three hours when I have no recollection of the information I studied last night. This was a terrible idea; I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the test.

BACKTRACK. This is an example of one of the least effective ways to study for an exam in college. Cramming the night before a test will not only increase your stress; your brain will not be able to retain the information that is crucial for your success. There are so many ways to avoid this study tactic, For instance:  to stay organized with your course work and take note of ALL important dates listed on every class syllabus. If you know ahead of time when exams are, you can give yourself sufficient time to master the material.

DON'T MISS CLASSES. One of the best ways to do well in your college courses is to be actively involved in class discussions. Attending every class and taking extensive notes from lectures will put you one step ahead in achieving academic success. If you complete all assignments before class, listening to your professor go over key information will assist you in memorizing the material and will allow you to conceptualize the main ideas. If you are ever unsure about something your professor is going over, make sure to ask questions! Professors love to see students involved in their classes and this shows that you care about your grades.

PREPARING FOR CLASSES. When a test date is approaching, try to familiarize yourself with the course material as much as you can. If you handwrite your notes, try to type up the information you collected from class and create an extensive study guide that reflects all the material you need to know. In addition to writing up notes from class, looking up supplemental information from assigned textbooks will assist you in understanding the information more thoroughly. Once you have created this study guide, try to look through the information as much as possible. By doing this, it will allow you to memorize the information and also identify concepts that may require more time to understand.

STUDY GROUPS WORK. One of my favorite ways to prepare for a test is study groups.  Working in study groups allows you to answer questions other students may have and discussing the information will help you master the material.  Make sure to put yourself out there in your classes and find peers you can meet with outside of class to go over course material. Try quizzing each other with flashcards and be creative with your study tactics! If it takes too long for you to write up flashcards, there is a website called that allows you to type up flashcards online.  By working with your peers to prepare for exams, you will not only get better grades, but you can also make friends during the process!

A few things to remember...

  • Always prepare ahead of time.
  • Manage your time well.
  • Flashcards, study guides, and working in groups are winning strategies.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep!
  • Keep at it: your professors will recognize your hard work; your efforts will be paid off.
  • Lastly, don’t panic! Just BREATHE. Learning to do well is a learning process in itself.