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Top 10 Study Tips for College Success

college university campus study tips exams essaysMany students leave high school only to realize their study habits won’t cut it in college. Tackle the transition to university classes with a few of these tips, and you’ll be on the road to success in no time! 

1. Identify Important Dates

At the very beginning of the semester, write your study plan in a planner or online calendar. Not only should you mark down important tests and due dates, but go back two to three weeks before those dates and write down your study plan leading up to the exam. This will help you identify overwhelming weeks so you can prepare in advance.

2. Take Notes by Hand

Although the temptation to use your laptop can be strong, taking notes by hand will help you remember the material better while also eliminating the temptation to scroll through your social media feeds! If your professor tends to go through his/her lecture quickly, print out the lecture slides before class and write extra notes and comments in the margins during the lecture to ensure you’re not pressed for time.

3. Go Back Afterward and Create a “Cheat Sheet”

After class, go over your notes and try to condense the themes and important points of the lecture onto a single notecard. Some things to include are: important terms and definitions, equations, dates and/or names. When you go to study for the exam, look over the “cheat sheets” you’ve created for each lecture to make sure you know all the main points. 


Schedule open lab hours with a sign up. SAMPLE


4. Use Your Textbook to Your Advantage

When completing assigned reading before class, use sticky notes to mark important pages or explanations. Write the term or definition on the note. During the lecture, write down important points or questions from the text. Afterward, go back to your textbook and use a different-colored sticky note to mark those points and make sure you understand.

5. Form a Study Group

Team up with other students in your class to create a study group. You can review old homework problems, ask each other questions and bonus — when group projects come around, you’ll already be used to working with one another. Genius Tip: To find study group leaders and facilitators, try using an online sign up!

Online volunteer calendar sign up form
6. Split Your Studying Up Between Days

Studying for a test on 10 chapters or writing a 10-page essay can seem so impossible that you end up not even starting. However, by setting small goals for yourself each day, you can study more effectively than trying to cram. Rather than setting out a few days for a 10-unit test, start a few weeks beforehand. Review the first chapter one day, then take a day off, then review the second chapter and so on, alternating between break days and studying so as to not get overwhelmed. 

7. Create and Share Notes or Flashcards with Classmates Online

At the beginning of the semester, create a Google Document where your classmates can write explanations, questions and reminders to one another, as well as upload class notes. You can even create a class flashcard set on a website like Quizlet to add to throughout the semester. That way, if you miss a class or have a question during the lecture, you can use your classmates’ knowledge as a resource.


Coordinate freshman orientation with a sign up. SAMPLE


8. Head to Office Hours

The benefits of office hours can’t be emphasized enough! Come prepared with specific questions or practice problems that you’re confused about. Office hours are also a great time to ask your professor about the structure of exams and to learn more about his/her preferences for how to structure essays. Genius Tip: Professors can make appointments a breeze with an office hours sign up.

9. Create Your Own Lecture

Sometimes the best way to learn is by pretending you’re the teacher! Create a fake PowerPoint with the information you need to study and try to teach the lesson to a friend or family member. You’ll know very quickly what parts of the material you can’t explain — that’s where you should spend time studying.

10. Record Yourself — and Listen to It

Record yourself reading your notes out loud or explaining concepts. Not only will you learn more as you record, but now you can listen to the material while you walk to class. This method is especially helpful for auditory learners! 

With these great tips, you’ll be on your way to studying success! 

Kayla Rutledge is a college student who spends most of her time writing, singing for her church and eating quesadillas.