Back to School Week: Study Guide

So many Freshmen flunk out their first year of school because they never learned how to study. I'm serious--30%! Why? They never studied in high school, made straight A's and thought the same rules applied in college (that's what uni is called in the US). That doesn't fly in college. You have longer classes, more to read, and more to write. Ignoring or procrastinating cannot be the answer. Here's how to have a successful school year, academically:

  • Get organized! Get a backpack or messenger bag and use it to keep those essentials together.
  • Buy a planner and use it! Keep track of assignments and important deadlines this way. I also write mine on a calendar and put a reminder on my phone. No excuses.
  • Learn what is your best way of learning. Do you learn best by listening? Writing things down? Take this Learning Styles quiz. For example, I'm not going to remember something you TELL me unless I WRITE it down. I'm also a visual learner with my photographic memory and if I can see a picture of what I'm learning, I'll remember it. Finding your learning style really helps.
  • Learn how to take notes by using a graphic organizer. There are many different to do this; something for every type of test. 
  • I like to take notes and then write possible test questions in the margins of my notes. 
  • This page lists many Study Skills that could help you!
  • I've attended three colleges, and they all had an Academic Skills Center. Get help! Get a tutor! Many times this is free! There's so reason for you not to succeed!
  • Check the campus bulletin board (via email or in person) for tutors and study classes.
  • Start or join a study group!
  • If you attend school in your hometown and need help in a class, visit one of your old teachers from high school. Hey, it's free!
  • Most books now have a website with additional study questions, quizzes, etc. Many professors use this to pull test questions!
  • Once you decide your major, many times there's a club/society that goes along with it. You'll make new friends (bonus) and be introduced to upper classmen. Many have old notes and tests you could use for studying. Or tips on professors' test styles.
  • Search for podcasts for your subject. Some classes offer these.
  • Ask if you can record the lecture if you learn best by listening. I once had to drive around 2 hours for some of my classes (only a few times a semester) so I would listen to the lectures I recorded on the ride there or home. A great way to make a boring drive productive (or even more boring, ha!)
  • Are flashcards your style? Use 'em! There are online flash cards too.
  • READ YOUR SYLLABUS! Many times all of your assignments are listed on here (papers, exams) so you can plan ahead. It shows the grading scale, how attendance is taken, etc. Don't let a mistake caost you a grade.
  • How are tests given? Are they multiple choice? Essay? Short answer? That can be a factor in how you study.
  • Be responsible! In high school, there was an announcement of the next big project written on the board and you were reminded daily. Not the case in university. Sometimes the professor will only mention something once. The days of being coddled are over. Be responsible for YOU!
  • GO TO CLASS! The beach, mall, friends, or comfy bed may be calling your name, but they aren't gonna get you to pass that class! 
  • Schedule your classes for when you learn best. For example, I am sleepy from 2-5pm, and I never scheduled my classes during that time period. Graduating is not a race. Go at the pace that is best for you! Take night classes if that's your thing. Take early (cringe) classes if you're most alert then. You academic counselor is there for a reason!
What are your study tips?


  1. Those are great tip!
    Happy Thursday,sweetie

  2. Great tips on how to study! I know about most of them but I still have to work on applying them every day...it gets hard sometimes.


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