Studying Tips

Student using a laptop

Whether you know how to study, or are struggling with finding your own personal study habits, this comprehensive list will help get you moving towards healthy study habits.

  • Plan to be successful
    • Create a master calendar the beginning of the semester. First Year Experience staff members can assist students with this.
    • All assignment due dates, exam dates, study times and final paper dates should be written into the planner.
      • Write down the 3 most important things you can do each day
      • Keep a list of the things you have done during the day to help you stay motivated.
      • Schedule study times and what assignments you will get done in that time
      • Also leave some unscheduled time to be flexible for things that may change.  Lack of flexibility is the major reason that schedules fail.
    • Make a point to see your professors and instructors in their office hours at least one time every semester. Check the syllabus for the professor’s office hours and office location.
    • Students can simply stop by to introduce him/herself, ask a question about the professor’s interests (e.g. “what drew you to the criminal justice field”), or ask a question about a class topic.

 

  • How to and how much to study
    • Utilize an interactive note taking strategy (e.g. Cornell Note taking)!  The goal is to understand and retain the information—not simply regurgitate information.
    • Highlight key topics and concepts while reading your textbooks. It is ok to highlight important key topics with a yellow highlighter and make notes in pencil in your textbooks.  Do NOT highlight all the words on the page; focus on key topics and key concepts.
    • Study at least two to three hours outside of class for every hour spent in class. So, students should likely study 30–45 hours/week.

 

  • Where to study and how to limit distractions
    • Whenever possible, study in a location where you do not sleep, eat, or play.
      •  It is often too tempting to take a nap, watch TV, and get distracted online or hang out with others in these places when trying to study.
      • If you need to study with headphones in to help send the message to others that you are not in the mood to talk, but rather that you need to be left alone to study. 
    • Try to study without looking at your cell phone for at least 30 minutes.
    • It is amazing how much more can be accomplished when people are not stopping a task to retrieve and respond to a message.
    • Try putting your phone on airplane mode and turning off the Wifi (if you don't need it for research) to help you stop the constant distraction of social media, text messages, emails, and the news during study times. 
    • Students can EAT AND DRINK in the library (with the exception of the computer stations).
    • The third floor is the quiet floor—there are even individual and group study rooms there!
    • Try picking up lunch at the Crossing and then eating the food while studying at the library.
    • Remember to switch up your surroundings occasionally to help keep your mind alert. 
    • Study in the library whenever possible.
    • Walking back to the residence halls to study adds time to the day and often leads to students getting a little distracted (i.e. peers swing by to ask the student to participate in another activity).
    • Figure out what your “golden hours” are.  These are the hours that you are most productive and get the most done.  Use these hours to get the most done.
    • Don’t multi-task.  Focus on one task at time in regards to assignments.  This will help you get the most amount of work done in one time period.

 

  • How to get ready for exams, midterms, and finals
    • Make use of this handy tip sheet "Surviving Finals 101" to help you start (or get) prepared for finals week!
    • Need help planning for finals? Use the "Everyone Loves Finals" tip sheet to help you plan and prepare.
    • Cramming is not effective. For the best results: study notes before/after class.

 

  • Make use of campus and online resources
    • Get a tutor early if/when the course is going to be extremely difficult. Many students qualify for free tutoring. Students who are not eligible for free tutoring only pay $1.50/hour
    • Attend Student Academic Success seminars
    • Utilize PALs (Peer Assisted Learners) when applicable.
    • Utilize online resources
      • Ask questions or look for computations using wolframalpha
      • practice exercises and videos to help you learn at Khan Academy
      • Make your own study note cards with studyblue

 

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