College Study Tips | Alyssa J Cori: College Study Tips

November 19, 2014

College Study Tips

I do not consider myself to be a true expert in many areas, however I can speak with a good deal of authority on the most effective ways to study. Sixteen years into schooling and quite a few good grades later, I have determined what you should and shouldn't be doing while preparing for an exam.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Getting ready for a college exam? Here are tips to get you that A!
Do prepare early. I have found that the more preparation time I have, the more likely I am to stay calm, positive, and focused. For some "early' could be two days before, but for me it ranges from five days to a week.

Don't feel like you have to know EVERYTHING. Sure, some professors will include a ton of information on the exam, but the likelihood of there being a question to cover every minute detail is relatively slim. This means that you should not stress if you are not the master of all of the material. Just be sure to understand the overarching concepts and their practical applications very well.

Do listen in class (and of course go to class...). This is where you are supposed to learn, right? So you might as well take notes, ask questions, and pay close attention to what the professor is focusing on (psst I'm pretty sure that is what will be on the test). I struggle with this, because who wouldn't fall asleep during an 8am accounting class (?), but I have been making a conscious effort to be better. 

Don't rely on the powerpoints. I know that this is what a lot of professors use to direct their classes but it isn't a substitute for paying attention.

Do your homework. All of your homework. Not only is it good practice but it can provide you with a better understanding of what you should be focusing on.

Don't do all of the readings. I know this seems counter intuitive since I have basically been telling you to do everything required of you, but you'll come to learn, if you haven't already, that it is not always the best use of your time. You should be familiar with the material before class, but if you can do that without spending massive amounts of time on the readings (like looking at summaries or skimming), then do it! Please note that I absolutely do not recommend this for English courses. You should always read, from cover to cover, for English.   

Do create your own summaries and study guides. When you are faced with a lot of information for a test it can be exceedingly helpful to consolidate the material to an easy to understand format. I like to use sheets of printer paper to make note of all of the very important information from each chapter that I know I want to review later. That way I can just whip out those sheets whenever and know that I am hitting the essential points.

Do ask your professor and classmates questions. It is good to realize that you don't understand something, preferably a bit before the exam, so that you can get clarification. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Try going to office hours as well.

Those are the main study tips that I have. As long as you focus, prepare, and have a desire to do well you will be met with success. What study tips do you swear by?


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  1. I like your tips about knowing general concepts rather than details. I've found that since professors have so much to put on the test, they don't want to make you sweat the small stuff. My tip is to NOT pull an all-nighter. It won't help, and you'll just be exhausted.

    Ellen | A Pop of Pink

    1. Thank you! I totally agree that pulling an all-nighter is a bad idea. A good nights rest is more valuable than the small amount of information you'll retain from staying up and trying to study.

  2. great tips,t hese are definitely spot on and helpful