Studying is the most essential part of being successful during college.
You can make the process more efficient by following some simple steps that will help you become more productive and will help you get better grades.
These involve planning, active participation in class, reading, and evaluating your work.
1. Organizing Your Study Session
The most important thing you have to do before starting an important activity is to make a plan. If you want to improve your studying skills you first have to analyze your activity.
Figure out how much time you have to spend in class, how much time you want to engage in home study, and how much rest time you need to feel awake early in the morning.
A great way to organize your work better is to use time blocking, which is really effective in helping you get things done.
Using a task manager is also useful and it doesn’t matter if you use a digital one or a physical one, whatever suits you best.
Try to group your tasks into activities you have to do daily, others that you have to do weekly, and the ones that have to be done on a monthly basis.
This way you will be able to manage your time better and maximize your results.
2. Evaluating Your Work
Just as you would want to try out a high-ticket item, such a fancy vehicle or a high-powered telescope, before making a purchase, you need to evaluate your work before determining which study methods work best for you.
Evaluation is a great way to spot your weakest points and be able to improve the process.
It is possible that you are not using the best way to recall what you are studying because you are not used to focusing deeply.
By weekly evaluating your learning process you will be able to spot these types of weaknesses and you will be able to work on them to improve the way you study.
A great way to do this is to make an evaluation sheet and go through it every Sunday. You should make sure that the aspects that you want to evaluate are measurable.
3. Taking Smart Notes
An essential part of your studying process is paying attention in class. This way, you will have gone over the studying material once, and when you study at home you will be able to repeat it. You should make the most of your classes by taking smart and usable notes that can increase your performance.
There are some techniques that have been proven to be very useful like the mind mapping method and the Cornell method.
The Cornell method was developed by Professor Walter Pauk who was a professor at Cornell University (which is where the name comes from).
It is known to be effective because, in the end, you have to make a summary of your notes.
4. Recalling vs Recognition
Let’s say that you have read your study material before a test. There are two factors involved in the efficiency with which you have learned the material.
One is your capacity of recognizing something that you have read and the other is your ability to recall it. The one you should work on is recalling it.
A technique that will help you in the recalling process is active reading, which involves a pre-reading session where you look at the chapters and sections of your material to have an overall view of them.
After that, you have to write down some questions that come up before you actually start reading.
You can then engage in reading the material, taking notes, and reviewing what you have learned.