Study Tips from an Engineering Student

‘Tis the middle of midterms season, which means its grind time! Studying can be very stressful, and for those of you new to college, you may still be figuring out how to prepare for tests and assignments. I’m in the Chemical Engineering program here at the U and I basically spend my life in the library, in class, in TA sessions, and/or doing endless homework. I've made it to my junior year in engineering, so clearly, I must be doing something right! I felt that it was a good time to share everything that has made me successful thus far. 

 

1) Know what helps you best retain information

The most important part of studying effectively is knowing what strategies help you most. These can be anything, such as reading the textbook, writing study sheets, repetition/practice, or listening to others. For example, I know that repetition is extremely helpful for my engineering classes since they are math-based. Doing tons of problems makes me more familiar with the types of scenarios I might run into on a test. Additionally, we get one sheet for every test, so the process of writing all the teeny-tiny equations in special colors helps me to remember. Also, knowing if you are a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory learner can help you narrow down possible soptions. I am a visual learner, so writing sheets in colors and writing problems over and over helps me to physically see the problem later. Depending on your major and learning style, certain methods will work better than others. You can take a learning type test by clicking here or here!

Here's my final study sheet for Quantum Chemistry spring 2019:

 

2) Find a study group in your major

When I look back on my previous years in engineering, I don’t know what I would have done without the group that I work with now. For me and many others, once you get into your major classes you will be with the same group of people until you graduate. Establishing a group with people in my same year in Chemical Engineering has been my most helpful study strategy thus far. If group studying isn’t your thing, that’s totally fine! Even if you don’t study with a group, it’s good to know others in case you ever need to compare homework answers, ask questions, or need something explained. 

 

3) Start assignments right away

Sorry procrastinators, I can’t help you with this one! Once I turn in an assignment, I try to start the next one the same day or the day after. This gives me time to work through problems I know, while allowing me to identify the ones I have questions about. With so many assignments due on the same day, it’s nice to do a couple of problems per day so you don’t have to scramble for answers the day its due. 

 

4) Work where you can be most productive

If you know me, you know I sit on the south side of the third floor right next to the windows. We’re typically in a big engineering group either laughing at nerdy jokes or arguing over who’s homework answer is correct. As much as I love my friends, I’ve found that I can’t be productive around them. All of us engineers sit together to keep each other focused and productive. If you like to work in complete silence, definitely check out the quiet areas of the library! If you ever get sick of the library, other nice buildings to study in include: the Law building, the Geology/Earth Science building, Gardner Commons, and WEB. All these buildings have their own quiet areas and study rooms!

 

5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help

For the longest time, I was shy and afraid to ask for help. I feared that people would think I was stupid. Now, I’m basically at every TA help session and office hour. I don’t think any of us fully understand what we’re doing, so help is always needed and never judged. TA’s are specifically there for students to ask questions, to clarify material, and to hold reviews. There’s no shame in asking questions to better learn the material. No matter what, it can only help you in the end. Additionally, professors like to see familiar faces from office hours and class. This form of networking can be really useful; I have had professors be very willing to round up grades because they saw me try and struggle through material, then improve on it. 

 

Hopefully these are tips can help lead you to success. Studying is a process, and it’ll take time and some trial and error to figure out what works for you. Good luck with your midterms, ladies and gentlemen!

 

Images Sources: 2, 4 (Images 1 and 3 belong to the author)