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How to Study Smarter, Not Harder: College Edition

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As midterm week approaches, it is important to know what study habits you should have in order to have a successful academic year. When it comes to making good study habits, it is all about practicing them on a daily basis. There is a lot more freedom in college, but studying is something you have to be responsible for. These five tips will help you improve your studying habits and academic success overall.

Make a plan.

If there’s one thing for sure, consistency is key. Having a solid study plan helps incorporate studying into your weekly schedule and saves you from finding times to cram it in when midterms or finals creep up. Make studying your priority. A plan will help you stay committed to studying consistently and developing better study habits. This can mean having daily study sessions for 30 to 40 minutes or studying material two to three times a week for a couple of hours. Experiment around and find what plan works best for you!

Study with others.

Finding other students who are in the same boat as you to help understand the material can be comforting and effective, if used correctly. Setting aside time a couple times a week to meet up and discuss the material will help you and your peers retain more information as all of you are sharing what you learned and explaining to each other. It’s almost a guarantee that someone in your study group is willing to help you through a concept that you don’t understand and, hopefully, you would be willing to do the same! It’s all about teamwork.

Review on the weekend.

Studies show that taking a few hours to review the material you’ve learned over the course of the week on the weekend is highly effective. Although the idea doesn’t sound too enticing, it is important that you give up a small chunk of your weekend to review what you learned. This will help prepare you for the week to come and build up knowledge from previous coursework. 

improve your study space.

It is often said that a cluttered environment clutters the mind. A lot of people fail to realize how the environment you study in affects your ability to concentrate. Take the time to create a tidy and organized workspace for studying where you can focus on what you are studying instead of being distracted by the dirty sock in the corner. If not possible, an alternative option can be completely changing the scenery. Maybe going to your favorite coffee shop or reserving a spot at your school library will help you get into that study mode. 

Take a break and take care of yourself.

College is hard, there is no doubt about it but just like with any other task, you MUST take breaks. Try not to overwork yourself too much. Maybe working an assignment for hours on end might be great for that class, but it definitely will not be good for your mental health and your other classes. It’s important to take care of yourself and take frequent breaks because if your mental health is being severely neglected, it will severely affect your academic career as well. Make sure that you take these breaks not only to prevent you from burnout, but because you deserve it too. Remember, you’re paying to get an education not to ruin your mental health. 

Studying doesn’t necessarily have to be hard and studying smarter shouldn’t mean putting in more work! These five tips should help you create a good studying balance while maintaining your sanity. If you are willing to improve your study habits and put in the work, studying should start to feel like a normal, daily task.

Jasmine Padda

UC Riverside '24

just your average pre-med student that occasionally writes :,)
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