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10 Effective Study Habits

Most adults are aware that careful time management will help them accomplish all that they want and need to do at home and on the job. Many of them also developed this skill during their student years, and if you can do the same, you will find it is a valuable asset that you will use throughout your life.

1. Choose a definite time and a place for studying

Decide what to study and where you will study it during the open periods on your daily schedule, keeping in mind that you will want to avoid studying late at night in order for your efforts to have their desired effect. Make sure that you have adequate desk space, good lighting, and a comfortable temperature as you study.

2. Prioritize your work.

With priorities in mind, begin your study period with the tasks that you feel are the most difficult or require a significant amount of concentration.

3. Be honest with yourself

You alone know whether you will do your best studying early in the morning or in the middle of the afternoon between classes. You may need a light snack or some background music to create the right atmosphere, and if you feel “trapped” in your dorm room, get some fresh air and take a walk over to the college library to do your work.

4. Get the most out of your assigned reading.

Read the course material before class so that you will be able to follow your instructor’s lead and have your questions answered as well. Taking notes on what you read will help you to understand it, and they will also be an excellent way to review what you are studying before a test.

5. Don’t sit passively through class.

Lectures are also a time when you can take notes or use a tape recorder, so that you can go over the lesson later on your own and determine what your instructor is emphasizing.

6. Read effectively

With a typical textbook, try reading the summary at the end of a chapter first, along with the questions listed. Then, as you carefully read the main text, you will be able to focus on the major points and determine what the author is trying to say.

7. Find a study group that works for you

Meet with one or more fellow students to discuss your class, and learn to work with those who are really interested in their courses. This type of proactive socializing is not only valuable for your classes, but is a healthy part of college life.

8. Remember to get help when you need it

If you feel stressed or suffer “burn out,” or if you need some guidance in order to complete a particular course successfully, meet with a counselor or professor so that you can work on the problem together.

9. Don’t let work obligations hinder your progress

Many students who have part-time or full-time jobs do well in their courses because they have become skilled in managing their time, while others are overwhelmed and end up dropping out. If you feel that you are drifting into the second category, take some corrective steps while there is still time.

10. Don’t cram before that exam

Occasionally, you may have to stay up late to complete a project or written assignment, but consistency in studying and long-range planning are two of your best tools in preparing for those “finals,” rather than making a feeble, last-minute attempt to catch up with the others in your class.