When you go to college you most likely are unsure of what to do and how to be successful. There are tons of new things to do, people to meet, and places to go. College is a world of new experiences at your fingertips.
So you try out lots of different things; you join clubs and make friends. You start to understand your classes and what to expect from your professors.
But this isn’t everything in college, you’re still trying to work hard and do well so that you can get a successful career after you graduate, so you need to focus on academics as well.
Before you know it, exam season will be upon you. Having never taken a college exam before you must be wondering: how do I study for college level material? Preparing for your first college exam can be a difficult process. You know that not all the habits you learned and cultivated in high school will translate to college.
To set yourself up for academic success, focus on these 4 studying hacks to help you on your way to amazing grades!
1. Choose a Space: Before you settle in to study, you need to make sure that you are in a great study space. Finding a quiet, distraction free place to study is extremely important to your academic success. Identifying more than one space to study is also important, because according to The New York Times (Link) changing study spaces will help with information recall.
Focus on creating an amazing study space that you will return to again and again.
2. Take Tests/Quizzes: Replicating the conditions of the test/exam/quiz you are going to take will help propel you to academic success. Though you might think that continuous testing would lead to fatigue or extra stress, it turns out that taking practice tests and quizzes is one of the greatest ways to do well on exams.
If you don’t have access to practice exams or quizzes, create flashcards to study from and then create sample exam questions off of those flashcards. The more practice tests you can take the better you will do.
3. Health: Maintaining your health in college can be difficult. Part of that difficulty stems from an inconsistent sleep schedule; on average college students get between 6 and 6.9 hours every night (Link).
When comparing college students who got sleep at different levels, researchers found that students who got more than 8 hours of sleep a night had the highest average GPA (Link).
Additionally, unplugging from your phone before you go to bed will help you fall asleep. Your phone emits “blue light” which tricks your brain into thinking that it is still day time, and stops your brain from producing melatonin, a sleep inducing chemical. Put down your phone/computer at least a half hour before attempting to sleep.
Try your best to avoid all-nighters, put down your phone, and get 8 hours of sleep every night, even the night before an exam. You’re more likely to remember things for a test if you forget the all-nighter and instead study in small amounts every night leading up to an exam.
4. Attendance: Go to class. Seriously! Attending class can seem unimportant; many students find that they can skip the majority of their classes and still do well in class. Well, not every student is the same.
To setup yourself up for success with your college exams, make sure that you attend lectures and recitations for your classes, even if you don’t take notes, just being in class will help with your information recall.
Additionally going to classes will give you a head start on reviewing material for the exam, and you might just find that your professor will tell you what to expect on the exam and what things to focus on.
Now that you’ve got these useful study hacks, go out and execute on them! Put in the work now so that you see success in your academic and post-academic career.