It’s a common story: a bright high school student used to getting A’s and B’s in classes without much studying begins his or her college career and suddenly finds good grades are a lot harder to come by. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for college, and it doesn’t mean you have to spend hours every day in the library. It just means that you may have to develop better study hygiene and get a little bit smarter about hitting the books.
Between tests, required reading, lab work and assignments, it’s easy to forget part of your college workload. Keep track of everything you have do with a planner or calendar app for your phone. Review items every morning and every evening to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Have a Study Area
Did you know that an ordered work space actually leads to more ordered and efficient thinking? That’s why it’s important to have a designated study area where you can go when you really need to hit the books. Make sure the space is tidy and organized, and free of tempting distractions.
Have a Plan
College exams and assignments shouldn’t have any surprises on them. Before going into a test or starting a project, you should know exactly what is expected of you and have a plan for accomplishing it. If you are confused or have any questions, visit your professor during office hours for help.
Get a Study Buddy
Have a hard time staying on track? Recruit a study partner from your class. Schedule times to meet and go over the material covered in class. With a friend to help, tackling tough concepts becomes less intimidating.
Listen and Read Actively
When you have a lot on your mind, it’s easy to tune out during a lecture or start skimming pages in your textbook. Fight the urge to do either and become an active participant in the learning environment. Take notes, even if you feel like you have a great memory for the material, and jot down questions even if you aren’t one to ask them in class. Both are ways of making sure that you stay engaged.
Have Good Test-Taking Strategies
You probably covered test-taking strategies in high school. College is a great time to review them and apply them to the exams that cross your desk.
College classes aren’t meant to be difficult. However, they do require diligence and study skills that you may not have perfected before.