Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that allows you to improve your success overnight. Being a good student requires basic strategies such as effective time optimization, dedication, and effort. It requires setting aside instant gratification to invest time into something that you know will pay off later. However, there are useful habits, tools, and strategies that can help you be more organized, ace your essays and approach examinations more efficiently. Here are some tips to learn effectively and achieve good grades in college.
10 Useful Habits to Ensure College Success
The book “Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” published by Harvard University, makes us aware that some of the study habits that we incorporate are completely useless, and may even be counterproductive.
In turn, their authors propose alternatives and practices so that you will don’t just memorize the data and repeat it like a parrot, but actually manage to retain the relevant information:
1. Remembering is Better Than Reading
For the authors of “Make it Stick,” the old habit of underlining and repeating over and over again until memorizing produces a false sense of mastery that may be negative for your learning. It is preferable to devote less time to reading and more to the mental memory of what you have read. In addition, it makes it easier to differentiate what we already know well from what needs an extra review.
2. Space Out Your Study Sessions
Bingeing and then regurgitating is what many students do with their notes. It may seem that it is best to study all night before an exam, but the truth is that you will forget that knowledge in a matter of days or sometimes hours. The most intelligent way to study is to let the lesson rest for a a little bit, and then resume it again later.
3. Study Different Subjects at the Same Time
When we notice that the exam date is getting closer and closer, it is normal to dedicate ourselves fully to the study of the subject in question, something that the authors of the book call ‘mass study.’ According to them, it is more useful to intersperse different subjects at the same time, since this approach favors the understanding and retention of what is read as well as helping us to be on time.
4. Take Notes by Hand
While in college, you’ll hopefully realize that time optimization is key. According to research, writing by hand takes more concentration than typing our notes. This difference in speed gives you more time to reflect on what you are writing. This way, you are understanding and not simply reproducing the teacher’s words.
5. Find The Solution For Yourself
One of the greatest fears for students is that once they arrive at the exam, they will come across a question or problem that they have never faced before. For the authors, the result would be pure repetition. Answering a question that has not been given in advance presents a challenge for the student and favors true learning. Therefore, if the question is open-ended, as opposed to multiple-choice questions, it gives the student a chance to use the brain and improve the retention of knowledge.
6. Use Cards
A good tactic to prevent the loss of information is to write down the most important details of a study on small cards. When needed, this useful habit will help you recover what you learned quickly. On one side of these cards, you can write a concept, date or topic, and on the other side your answer, solution or definition.
7. Get Some Sleep
While you make proper time optimization, resting your brain in between studies can be a really helpful habit. This is because during rest periods is the moment in which what you have learned during the day is consolidated. Therefore, it is preferable to dedicate less time to study and more to rest. Remember, it is easier to forget what you have learned during the late hours of the day, so is it best to avoid all-nighters! Make sure you budget time to sleep well.
8. Begin Tasks in Advance
To ensure you complete your assignments on time, do not wait until the last day to start studying or doing a task. Instead, always try to keep up with the topics of the course, as a later review will become a much simpler task.
Review the relevant chapter before each class and reread your notes as soon as you can so that the concepts stay fresh in your mind. Above all, do not be left with doubts – if you notice any difficulty in understanding something, ask a teacher or a classmate for help. You do not want to fall behind.
9. Use Tools For Students
There are many useful tools available for students in university. These online student multi-tool solutions can assist you in undertaking essays, assignments, exams and time management.
For example, the Tooly Title Page Maker can help students generate topics, samples, and citations. This can help save time and create efficiency throughout any given day.
10. Make Sure You Have the Right Environment
As stated by the Working Families Organization, there’s nothing better than having the right study tools and environment. These tools can be a clear desk, a lamp and a chair that is neither very comfortable nor very uncomfortable. If you think you can study in your bed or on the sofa in the living room of your home, you may be lying to yourself.
For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.