How to Study
FOR STARTERS, CONSIDER YOUR STUDY ENVIRONMENT
You need a place in which you can be alert, where you can concentrate and avoid interruptions. Try the library or the cafeteria after hours or create the surroundings in your own room.
Your study environment should be comfortable, but not too comfortable. The purpose is to learn and comprehend, not to be entertained or fall asleep. If you learn to study efficiently, there will be plenty of time for recreation.
BRUSH UP ON YOUR READING SKILLS
Because most college studying involves poring over volumes of textbooks, reading skills will be paramount. If you’re not a good reader, you should spend some time improving those skills. It may require some extra work in the beginning, but over the years of your college career it will reward you with many extra hours for both studying and fun.
SCAN THE ENTIRE CHAPTER BEFORE YOU BEGIN READING IT
Get a feeling for the content of the written material and watch titles and boldface type for hints as to what the author thinks is the most important information. Then read the chapter summary and the review questions at the end of the chapter. The review questions are a good indication of the material you might see on a test.
AS YOU READ, TAKE NOTES OR HIGHLIGHT MAJOR POINTS
Note-taking is preferable because it forces you to put the author’s thoughts in your own words. That will prove to be a big asset when test time rolls around.
At the end of nearly every page of reading you should stop to take some notes. Very few students take the time, but those who do have excellent review material to go over later.
NEXT, CREATE A STUDY SCHEDULE
College is a series of schedules. You have a schedule for classes, tests, work, and even fun. There’s a hint here that you should have a study schedule, too.
A rule of thumb says that the average college student should spend two hours per class each day studying. That’s more than 600 hours in a single quarter. Basic arithmetic shows that you can’t put off studying until the week before the final.
Develop a schedule for each of your classes (based on your reading syllabus and other assignments), and then stick to it. After a week or two some adjustments may be necessary, but by following a regular schedule, you will develop good study habits and make preparing for a test easy.
INTEGRATE READING INTO YOUR SCHEDULE
Determine the amount of reading required for each class, and then make your own personal schedule. If you have 250 pages to read in a given assignment, don’t try to do it all in one sitting. Pace yourself so you have time to read, review, and take notes. Remember, you’re trying to comprehend concepts, not merely complete an assignment.
GO BACK AND REVIEW
When you’ve finished a reading assignment, don’t close the book or your notes immediately. Review the assignment. Go back to the beginning and skim again. Look for points you don’t understand and review those. Concentrate on the difficult information and make sure you understand everything you’ve read. Do the same with your notes, and you should have a concise, personal summary of the material.
There is no limit to what you can learn. But there is a limit to how much you can accomplish or mentally digest in any given period. Never study for more than two hours without a break. And take a break between subjects. If you’ve completed an economics assignment and you’re about to begin some English reading, give your mind 10 or 15 minutes to relax, refresh itself, and shift gears.
If you’re studying for an assignment or a test, remember, study to understand, not to memorize. Study with a positive attitude, and use all the materials available. Concentrate on both reading assignments and lecture materials. Set realistic goals, and do your best to accomplish them.
SECRET TO SUCCESS
What’s the secret to success in college? In a word - study. Most university administrators and professors agree. STUDY, or the lack thereof, can ensure the success or failure of almost all college students.
Even excellent high school students and scholarship winners often are disappointed in their college performance because they don’t know how to study for collegiate classes. This is college, not high school, and it’s a whole different world.
The encouraging thing about study, though, is it can be easy. There are some simple methods to follow, a few routines to establish, and a large dose of self-discipline to learn.
THAT'S IT !
Once you’ve done all this, you should be ready for class or a test. Now that you’re adequately prepared, go look for some fun.