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My 5 Favorite Study Tips For College, Coming From A College Freshman

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

Finals season is upon us! As we are counting down the days until summer, the motivation to stick these four weeks out is starting to dwindle. Since it is starting to feel harder and harder to study and get things done, here are some of my favorite study tips that I have learned over my first two semesters that have been a huge help. Don’t give up, we are in the homestretch!

  1. Only have class-specific materials out.

When I’m studying, I like to only have materials out that are relevant to what I’m studying for. I am such an easily distracted person, so if I’m working on an English essay and I see accounting homework that I haven’t done yet, I will avert my attention to the accounting work. Keeping only class-specific items in my eyesight keeps me focused on the task at hand, and helps me get work done in a more efficient way. If you are constantly getting distracted and overwhelmed from other classwork you see, this tip may be great for you!

  1. Classical musical or no music.

As much as we love to believe it, humans cannot multitask as well as we think we can. I used to always listen to my favorite music while I studied, and I realized that I was not focusing on studying or doing work as well as I could have been. I wouldn’t actually retain what I was learning, instead I would keep it in my brain short term for when I needed it, and then it would disappear after the exam or assignment was finished. I also was not finding as much joy in listening to my favorite music because I equated it with studying and homework. Now, if I listen to music, it is only classical music. If this interests you, there are great playlists on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple Music for studying specifically!

  1. Experiment studying in new places to find what’s best for you.

Even though Emmanuel is small, it has so many great study spaces with such varying environments. I have tried the JYC, 1st and 17th floor of St. Julie’s, and the library, and you should be guaranteed to find a spot on campus that will work for your study needs.

The JYC is a great area if you like to have background noise when you are studying. People are constantly socializing, eating, or watching TV there, so you are set to have some hustle and bustle around your study space. This is a great spot if you are doing a quick assignment between classes. It is also a great spot if you are trying to stop listening to music but need the background noise.

St. Julie’s is great because it is a quiet space that is dedicated for work. Sometimes it can be a little noisy, but mainly it is silent. If you need a truly quiet space then you can always get a study room on either the 1st or 18th floor. These are also great if you want to invite some friends to study with you but you also want to take socializing breaks as well.

Finally, the library is the best spot if you want a completely silent space for studying. It has private rooms on the first floor, and private cubbies in the back of both the first and second floor. These are great for when you are trying to write a long paper or study for a big exam and need a no-distraction environment.

Overall, these are three of many areas on campus that are great as study spots! Either try some of these recommendations or try some more out for yourself!

  1. Go to tutors or student hours.

If you ever need clarification, study tips, or some guidance from a person you trust, tutors and student hours are the way to go! I was nervous to go to student hours and tutors my first semester, but I finally decided to go this semester. 

Tutors are awesome because they can sometimes explain things from a student’s perspective, which professors can’t do. They are also great if you share the same major and they are upperclassmen because they can give you advice on what to expect for the rest of your years at Emmanuel regarding things like internships. 

Student hours with your professor are great because you get one-on-one time for them to get to know you better, and they are able to sit with you and help with whatever you need. It is also a great way to form relationships with individuals that will be able to help with post-college plans. One of the best uses of student hours is to be able to sit with them after an exam and go over what you got incorrect and why. This is really specific but it has been a game changer for me when it comes to learning study habits for specific courses after exams.

Utilize these external resources when you are struggling! They are extremely helpful and you will notice an increase in confidence in your work.

  1. Plan study times depending on the type of assignment, contents in the assignment, and the class syllabus.

If you are like me, your planner is a huge part of your daily routine. I am not one to write all assignments down at the beginning of the semester because I know they are subject to change, but I do keep them logged two weeks in advance. This is a great way for me to be able to craft a study schedule based on what assignments or exams I have the goal of completing. For essays, I like to write one to two paragraphs each day and then leave the day before dedicated to editing. This usually makes essay plans a week to a week and a half long, which seems like a lot, but when it is spread out it is much less daunting. 

It is also great to know how much an assignment may be weighed. If you have an exam that is worth 25% of your grade, it may be a good idea to craft a study schedule that heavily concentrates on the contents of that exam for a few days before the exam date. Checking the weight of assignments helps you decide what should be getting prioritized in your study sessions.

Finally, it is a huge help to know what questions are on an exam. Is it multiple-choice, open-ended, true or false? If you can find that information out from the syllabus, the professor, or remembering previous exams, you have a great advantage for your study time. Remember, you are taking the exam, the exam is not taking you! For multiple-choice and true or false, I like to use apps like Quizlet to be able to use their test and learn features. Since Quizlet has a cost now, I have utilized Kahoot! as well to make tests for these types of questions. For open-ended, I try to find practice questions online or throughout textbooks. If you are struggling to find either of those, asking your professor to think of some open-ended questions for you to work on is a great help too.

Having a set schedule for your studies can make you feel less lost and less motivated in a sea of assignments and work. Keep it up, you are doing great!

Isabella is a first-year Accounting major and Economics minor at Emmanuel College. She loves finding new music, shopping, and laughing with friends and family.