Whether you’re beginning your first year at McDaniel College or just starting your freshman year of high school, transitioning into the upper levels of education requires an entirely new set of study skills. In grade levels past, you may not have always needed to take studying seriously, but proper study skills in high school and college will help you to achieve stronger grades in your classes and really absorb the material. Here are 7 suggestions to help you start off on the right studying foot this school year:
Late night cram sessions seem to make an appearance in the plotline of every television show centered around high school or college life. The things is, not getting enough sleep or not caring for your body will make it a whole lot harder to focus on tomorrow’s exam. Instead of staying up late to study, work on time management. You might do this by picking a designated study day, like Sundays at the library, or by carving bits of time out of each day. When you do have time to study, really try to use that time to focus completely on the material.
Keeping track of dates using Smartphones is commonplace these days, but when it comes to planning study sessions and keeping track of assignments, try to get into the habit of using an old school planner. The act of physically writing down and seeing your schedule is powerful and will help you stay on track more efficiently. Make it fun by choosing decorative planners and favorite pens.
Invite your friends to study with you, especially if you’re taking the same classes. You can quiz each other, talk through problems, and offer one another suggestions. You’ll be amazed at how much fun studying can be when it becomes another way to spend time with the people you care about.
Writing important information or just basic questions and answers on notecards is a quick, effective way to quiz yourself on the material. Notecards also make it easy to study between classes without having to bring along an entire textbook or even laptop.
At some point, you may have learned about Cornell note-taking, a specific way of taking notes that involves separating information into columns and using abbreviations. This method has been studied by many universities over the years, and some students really enjoy the way that Cornell note-taking lets them organize information. This popular video explains the process of Cornell note-taking.
For other students, outlining or even drawing is their way of taking notes and helps them to retain information. In some cases, you may be able to ask your teacher or professor if you can use a voice recorder or your phone to record an especially important lecture. Again, though: be sure to ask first.
The days of forgetting writing utensils or leaving behind a notebook are long gone when you enter high school and, especially, college. Make sure that you have everything you need for each class, so that you can take proper notes and be an active participant in the class. Using color-coded notebooks and folders is an especially helpful way to help you easily grab what you need and head to the classroom.
From TED talks to just speaking with older siblings and adults about how they studied in the upper grades, learning from others is one of the easiest ways to broaden your studying toolkit. For TED talks, start with Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance with Angela Lee Duckworth and Freeman Hrabowski’s 4 Pillars of College Success in Science.