The start of another semester offers many new school year resolutions. This school year, you promise yourself you’re going to exercise more, eat healthier, and finally get that cute guy’s number. The most important area to makes changes in, however, might just be the reason you’re in school in the first place. After waiting on pins and needles to get last semester’s final grades, we all know that we have some room to improve our study habits for the coming weeks. Read on for six tips that have helped me become a better student throughout my college career.
- Actually Do the Reading
Some college advice sources actually advise against this, but I think doing your course reading is helpful for a couple of reasons. One, the class reading usually strengthens your understanding of the lecture and helps you follow along in class. Two, if your professor isn’t very good at explaining a particular concept, you can rely on your knowledge of the reading to help you understand.
- Rewrite Your Notes
Okay, so I don’t do this for every class, but this is a godsend in my more math-heavy or conceptual economics classes. Take regular notes with pencil and paper while you’re in lecture. After class, rewrite what you learned in colored pen, explaining the concepts you didn’t have time to flesh out while you were originally taking notes.
- Make Your Own Study Guides
This is my favorite exam prep tip of all time. Whenever you have a midterm, first make a list of all of the concepts you need to know for the exam. Next, break down the concepts on a study sheet (or two or three). Design your study sheets as if you were designing very detailed cheat-sheets for your exam. I like to use colored pens for this method to make my study guides visually appealing and easy to reference again and again while I prepare for my test.
- Teach a Friend
Okay, so maybe this is my favorite exam prep tip of all time. The next time you’re preparing for a big exam, preferably in a challenging class where you have to learn a lot of information, teach a friend some of the trickiest concepts you need to understand. You’ll know you picked the right friend for this task if they push back against what you’re trying to teach them and ask questions.
- Use Your Syllabus
Your syllabus is literally your guide to the course. Use it to plan for your assignments and exams ahead of time in order to ensure that you have the maximum amount of time to write that paper or study for that midterm.
- Reach Out to Your Professors
I get it, I get it. I, too, don’t really know how to become friends with all of my professors without feeling like a kiss-ass. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t politely reach out to your professors or swing by office hours when you have a question. After all, the kid sitting next to you likely doesn’t know what your professor meant by “use your own data” when she wrote the syllabus last semester.
The start of the semester provides an opportunity to institute meaningful life change. This semester, use these tips to make some positive changes to your study habits. Hopefully, your GPA will thank you.