10 Study Tips for College Students

Studying – it’s the most dreaded activity by college students everywhere, but it’s a necessity when it comes to making good grades and acquiring a degree. Whether you’re new to college or are just looking for some fresh ideas to get your brain focused, try these study tips for college students.

[RELATED] Best Study Tips for College Students to Help You Get Good Grades

10 Study Tips for College Students

1. Study a Few Hours Each Day

It may seem daunting, but if you take a few hours during the day to study each subject, you will absorb the material much better and you won’t have to cram for your test the day before it takes place.

Go over key terms and keep up with assigned readings and assignments, while also creating notes that will help you when you review for a test. This is probably one of the hardest study tips for college students to adjust to because it requires a good chunk of devoted time (meaning less time for more fun activities).

P.S. If you are looking for specific study tips for exams or finals, read Preparing for College Exams: Tips That Really Work.

2. Find Your Perfect Atmosphere

The library is not meant for everyone; in fact, many students choose to study in their student union or outside. Find out what works best for you by trying out a few locations. Personally, I found that my room was the best place for me, but you may feel better being around people or in a building that you’re familiar with.

Whatever fits your needs best is where you should study. Once you find that location, study there on a consistent basis, because your brain will recognize this atmosphere as your studying place.

3. Avoid Interruptions

The more you can stay focused on your studying, the better. If this means locking your door, turning off your phone and getting away from Facebook, then do it. It’s very easy to get sidetracked once your attention goes elsewhere, so anything you have that could possibly interrupt you should be shut off and away from your grasp.

10 Study Tips for College Students

4. Take Breaks: One of the Most Important Study Tips for College Students

Ever heard of self-care? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about here.

This doesn’t mean take an hour break for every 15 minutes you study, but you do need to take time to rest your brain and absorb the information. If you find yourself zoning and daydreaming, it may be time to close the books for a little while or to focus on a different subject.

Try setting goals for yourself, such as finishing one chapter, and then reward yourself with a short break to get a snack or coffee.

5. Stay Organized

Having a planner can be a lifesaver in college. Here, you should write down all assignments that you have, deadlines and test dates. This can save you a lot of stress down the line when you discover that you have a test tomorrow or a research paper due at the end of the week. Try color-coding your subjects so that you know exactly what needs to be done. Trust me, this is one of those study tips for college students that you don’t want to overlook.

6. Study Groups

If you have friends in your classes, you may want to consider holding a study group every week. Here, you can bounce ideas and questions off of each other so that you can better understand the material. Everyone learns in different ways, so you may learn some test-taking strategies from your classmates. Study groups are especially helpful for college students, especially when going over a study guide for an upcoming test.

7. Make a List of Questions

If you are having trouble with a subject or want to make sure you are studying the right concepts, make a list of questions to ask your professor. Most are open to answering any questions you have about the material or their tests. If you know the test is going to be essay, find out exactly what the professor wants you to focus on so that you can achieve the maximum amount of points possible.

8. Nourish Your Body

Staying energized is another one of the most important study tips for college students because your brain must be able to focus on the subject at hand for a long period of time. Try eating healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water. Coffee usually gives you a quick burst of energy, but it often leads to exhaustion if you drink too much of it, so keep your caffeine consumption to a minimum.

10 Study Tips for College Students

9. Stay Positive

Imagining yourself passing the test and reminding yourself that you know the material will make you feel better about the test and less stressed. If you think negatively, your brain will be less likely to absorb the material because you will be so focused on failing or not do welling.

10. Learn Shortcuts and Strategies

There are several test taking strategies, such as making acronyms or making visual pictures, so find out what works best for you and use it! Professors are full of ideas, so don’t be afraid to schedule an office visit with them to ensure that you’re on the right track. Oftentimes, they will give you pointers and guide you through all the material that you need to study.

Need More Help? I wrote a post just for you: My Secrets for Getting A’s in College (And How You Can Too)

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  • Scott
    February 16, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I definitely agree that it is important to take breaks when you are studying or doing homework. I am currently in my senior year of college. There are times when I can study for hours on end and other times when I can only stay focused for a half an hour. However, regardless of how long I can study for, taking breaks is a nice refresher and helps me stay focused.

  • Diana Thenerd
    April 1, 2019 at 6:41 am

    Having a set place and time to study can make all the difference. Students who don’t practice this technique tend to be more stressed about homework and studying because they are never sure how or where they are going to study.

  • Kevin Mendrez
    May 27, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Number 2 is so on point. Environment takes a big part on a very successful study habits. I always study alone because it gives me the capability to concentrate better. At our school , I always make it a point to review at solitary places. But don’t you ever forget to take breaks because it is so important!