Studying 101: Tips for College Freshman Regarding Study Skills
written by: Stephanie Torreno•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 7/30/2010
Congratulations! You are beginning college and will have many new experiences as you juggle courses and other activities. Studying in college can require different techniques than used in high school. Learn how to study as a college freshman to maximize your time inside and outside the classroom.
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Starting on the Path to College Success
As much as you prepare to begin college, you might be quite surprised how much it differs from high school. Although you will spend less time inside an actual classroom, this time, along with the many required hours of studying outside of class, will become even more important. Knowing how to study as a college freshman will give you a great start to ensure educational success.
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Taking Notes Effectively
High school probably gave you ample time to practice note-taking skills. You will definitely need these in college. Instead of trying to write everything down during a lecture, which is impossible, jot down main points and subpoints. This will allow you time to ask questions about information that might need clarifying. If you feel you are missing too much information, ask the professor if you can tape record the lectures. Remember, too, to answer questions. Your professor will appreciate your active participation, and answering questions will confirm what you know and understand.
As soon as time allows after class, review your notes and add anything you may have missed. Get together regularly with a classmate or a group of classmates to compare notes. You may even want to copy your entire set of notes again on your own, adding information you received from your classmates and your textbook.
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Studying before Test Time
Before you even begin to study and prepare for tests, you should establish the perfect place where you will be able to concentrate. Every student’s needs differ, but wherever you choose to study should be free of distraction, quiet, and clean. Since you will be new to campus, experiment in various locations to see where you can best focus.
Study in 15-20 minute chunks, and take short breaks of 5-10 minutes. This is an excellent tip for freshman college students to improve motivation and concentration. You should study this way most days for each class whether a test is approaching or not. By studying in manageable chunks, you will avoid cramming new material. When final exams are given, brief studying in 2-4 hours will allow you to review previously learned material from the entire semester.
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Managing Stress for Academic Success
Stress is a part of college life. It is important to know, however, that you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Schedule time each week to hang out with friends and make new ones by participating in campus activities. Do what you would normally do to relax by watching television, going to a movie, or exercising.
With all you have to do in college, sleep is perhaps the last priority on your list. It should be the first! Sleep allows you to study better. Adequate sleep improves memory, attention, and concentration. Often, studying a little less after a good night’s sleep lets you learn more effectively than if you cram all night. In addition to eating right, sleep keeps a college student healthy.
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Making the Most of your Time in College
College should not be all about studying and completing assignments. Knowing how to study as a college freshman can let you experience the many other activities higher education has to offer you. Starting with good study habits will help you achieve success throughout your college career.