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So you made it to college. You must have learned something on the way, been good at taking tests or had really intelligent classmates that you sat close to over the years. In college, the later won’t work and the learning and testing you experienced in high school is going to be taken to a new level. With that, you are going to need to know how to study more effectively and actually learn the material. We will be discussing 5 tips to make sure you learn what you study so acing that test is a cinch.

1. Plan Your Study Time Ahead

College is a time to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life so study should come first. On the other hand, you will have other activities and distractions like intermural sports, social events and for some work. This is why it’s incredibly important to plan your study time in advance. Not only will this force you to spend a set amount of time on studying, it will also help you learn time management skills.

Final Exam Study Tips

2. Study in Increments

4 tips to study more effectivelyThe average college student can focus for no longer than one hour on a particular subject. This is why it is so important to break up your study time with little breaks. It’s best to study for 30-45 minutes at a time with 10 minute breaks in between.

During your break, go take a walk, ride your bike or play pool. Do anything that you enjoy and takes your mind completely off of your studies. Breaking your study time up will help you focus and retain the information more effectively.

3. Rework Lecture Notes

Have you ever listened to an incredibly interesting two hour lecture only to forget half of what was said a couple days later? You have the notes but they seem incomplete or don’t make sense. This happens every day to students across the collegiate landscape. Our minds need reinforcement to be able to effectively remember what was said or taught. After a class, go to a quiet place and reread the notes from that class. Fill in the blanks where you didn’t have time to write everything down. Create a sheet of questions based on what you still don’t understand from your notes. This will help you immensely to learn and recount the material.

4. Forget Everything You Know About Learning!

We have been taught out entire school age life to focus in class, study and remember the material in an effort to be able to recall it on a test. The tests we have always taken focus on tricking you with details or language of a question. Have you ever wondered if there was a better way to learn? If this robot like “remember and repeat” learning and testing methodology was flawed? Well it is!

4 tips to study more effectivelyAn experiment by Jenkins and Hyde in 1973 proves that this is not the way the human brain’s memory operates. We are creatures of association and what better way to associate material than with ourselves. In this experiment there were two groups of people. Each were given a list of words. Group one was told to remember if the letters ‘g’ or ‘e’ was found in each word. Group two was told to rate the pleasantness of each of the words. This meant they would have to think about how each word made them feel or how it affected them emotionally. The results were staggering. Group one remembered only 39% of the words containing the letter ‘g’ or ‘e’ while group two remembered 68% of the words. These results show that by giving deep thought to how something affects you, the mind can remember and recall material much easier.

Find the study methods that work best for you and incorporate them into your routine. At the end of the day, it is most important that you understand college is the next level of academics. That means it takes the next level of studying to succeed here.

If you have used a successful study habit to study more effectively, please tell us in the comments below!


Featured image courtesy of Al Muya via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Egg timer courtesy of Ian Barbour via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0). Letter G courtesy of takomabibelot via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).