You studied six hours for that exam, yet still didn’t get the grade you were hoping for? You probably haven’t been studying correctly. Studying at all is great, but there are some ways which are more effective than others. I spent three years in a rigorous prep school which I had 5+ hours of homework a night. This workload continued through college, but I’ve made the deans lists since my freshman year and I currently have a 4.0 average. Read on for the worst mistakes you can make when studying in college.
You aren’t setting a set study time.
It’s really hard to find time to study and do homework in between class, work, activities, and having some kind of a social life. This is why it is so important to establish a set time for homework. In prep school we had a set study hall time between 7:30-9:30 pm in which there was no internet access and we were literally forced to sit at desks and complete homework. Even though this sounds a little bit like a hellish prison, sitting and studying for two hours a day was a great practice. I try to finish as much work as I can on weeknights because I know I’m less motivated on the weekends. Set aside a specific time for studying each weekday. It could be a two hour block between classes, or before dinner, or even when you first get up in the morning. Having a specific time to get everything done will keep your classwork from seeping into other areas of your life.
You study with distractions.
Never–I repeat–NEVER study with Netflix on in the background. Don’t listen to distracting music either! These things subconsciously distract you, and before you know it you’ve wasted two hours watching your favorite show, but no time doing your work! If you must listen to music, listen to background sounds instead. Ambient-mixer features a ton of handmade background sounds which all create comfortable study environments. My favorites are the Gryffindor Common Room and French Café. Be sure to stay away from friends and roommates when studying as well, because they can be great distractions.
You don’t know how to effectively take notes.
This topic deserves it own post it’s so important. Resist the urge to underline every line in your textbook, and don’t just copy down the professor’s lecture word for word. Instead, focus on overall themes and important points. This will make studying much more time efficient. Keep your notes organized and clean. You don’t want to have to rummage through piles of last semesters class notes to find your study guide.
You use “study groups.”
Don’t get me wrong, some study groups are great ways to collaborate and review for a big exam. But, for the most part, I’ve found them to be mostly wastes of time. Oftentimes, the knowledge is distributed unequally thought group partners. One person knows far more than the rest of the group, which will lead to unequal review. Also, these kind of groups are easily derailed from the actual subject. In general, I try to avoid these when studying for important things. Group’s are much more useful for peer review of classwork or quizzing each other.
You pull all-nighters.
I think only once or twice in my life have I heard someone tell me their all-nighter was worth it. The exhaustion caused by skipping sleep will far outweigh the small benefits of studying until dawn. You will be better off reviewing your notes before bed and getting a good nights rest. Sleep deprivation will make your mind cloudy, thus hurting your abilities to perform well on your exam. Do yourself a favor and put away the books before it gets too late. I know it’s hard, but try to relax instead. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
Do these and you’ll end up struggling to keep your GPA up to par. It may be tempting to play your favorite artist while cramming for that test, or to get your friends together for a study group, but these things could be doing more harm than good! What are your favorite study tips?