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Studying Methods For A Successful Semester

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

Whether you are a freshman in college or a third-year veteran, you are bound to have felt even the slightest degree of unmotivation or even procrastination if you didn’t include balance and organizational techniques within your busy college lifestyle. 

For example, burnout is one of the many syndromes that may creep up on you  while juggling a million different activities, but it occurs most often when you  don’t include time for yourself as well as space to take care of your body and wellbeing.

 Especially in college, as late adolescents, it is incredibly important to value yourself as much as your other priorities; however, it is difficult when academic pressure holds such a heavy weight on college students’ shoulders.

Read on as I will discuss how to boost sufficiency within studying and provide several different study methods that will help support you throughout college. Grab your notepad and let’s dissect the cheat code for a successful semester!

Combating Burnout and Balancing Multiple Subjects

Typically, at the beginning of the semester, it is unknown what the formatting of each course you are taking will be like.  Some classes will not allow active notetaking per the professor’s preference; some will not allow you to have your devices out; some  will even be entirely engagement and discussion-based. 

As per a human’s brain chemistry, it is common to face cognitive overload, where the human brain is unable to store an extensive amount of information due to limited space. Attempting to do so may cause symptoms of burnout and distress. This is where the “second brain” method comes in. 

The second brain method contains strategies to organize all of the information that you retrieve from a source by sorting it into external spaces. These sources may be taking smart notes in a digital note-taking app, a notebook, or even creating graphics for the content.

As students, we take many different classes that may bounce from one field to another, and it may be easy to spend an excessive amount of time studying for one before you get to the other. However, if this is the case, then implementing “interleaving” into your studying routine may save you several hours and excessive repetitions of certain topics.

Interleaving includes the mixing of subjects within your routine, whether that be different types of questions within a single biology study guide or studying for your Calculus II exam after you dedicated a few hours to learning about data structures for your Computer Science class. This will further enhance your ability to focus and have an improved rate of retention of the material you are dedicating time and energy to studying.


While doing homework, if you find yourself facing a variant of brain fog or confusion about the work in front of you, the solution may be on the tip of your nose. As humans, several different factors can alter your attention span, and as college students especially, social media has shortened the attention span of adolescents tremendously. 

One way to combat this is to fall under the principles of the reward system, called the Pomodoro Method. This is a method that prompts you to work for a solid twenty-five minutes with zero distractions, and once that comes to an end, you are granted five minutes of distraction.

 It is suggested, however, that these five minutes be spent looking at your surroundings or taking a short walk rather than being consumed by any other device. This method provides a well-suited balance between productivity and time to let your mind rest.


 Now that we’ve overcome burnout, completed the notes or assignments, we’re ready to begin revising the material!  A few techniques have been shown to make a significant difference in how well the material is retained.

One of them is known as the blurring method. How this is done is to study a segment of your notes, cover them up, and recall what you just revised. This method allows you to further comprehend the notes when you hear them outloud after using your eyes to read them and by verbally projecting the key points.

One aspect to also consider is how often we should dedicate time to studying a specific topic. While many may say the night before, this would bring us back to the topic of burnout and distress upon our mental wellbeing, as mentioned earlier. 

The key solution to the revising frequency problem is to have spaced repetition within your study schedule. Through this tactic, initially you may dedicate more time to  studying, from a few hours a day every 2-3 days to once a week to every other week. Therefore, when exam day comes along, you are already ahead of the game and may just need to look over your notes for a few hours as opposed to pulling an all-nighter.

I personally use the pomodoro method and spaced repetition, as it works the best for me!

What are some other study methods you can think of? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU!

hi! my name is virali and im currently studying computer science at SJSU as a sophomore. i love being outdoors so beach trips/hikes are my favorite activity!! ever since I was a little girl, I have loved writing and reading, so I am thrilled to be a writer for HerCampus!