Most students worry about making the best out of their semester which is usually gauge by the lessons you have learned throughout. But a more important thing is – how?
Organization This is usually self-explanatory for college students who have a hard time coping with time management and even studying. But here are some practical things you can follow –
•Take notes – “A dull pencil is better than a sharp mind.” This is usually one of the greatest adages that you can follow about studying and learning. There are things that your sharp mind tends to miss later on but when you write everything down on your notebook or post-it papers you enhance your chance at remember it later on.
•Agenda list – It is important that you make a regular weekly list of itinerary. Your agenda should give you sense of direction and purpose making everything better every day.
•Real time inbox – This is a figurative term which simply refers to a permanent place in your room or apartment where you study. This is where you will place all your notes, books and assignment papers.
•Get to know your professors – Search engines usually give you short biography on your teachers. Alternatively and more accurately, you can search about them in your school library. Learn about their research interests and knowledge.
•Study partner/mentor – The secret to success is not about being alone but being able to find someone who can understand your habits and study style.
Some professors like to torment their students with surprise quizzes and in-class assignments. Even if you’ve been paying attention, it can be difficult to take a quiz you had no idea was coming.
Here are some tips to give you a chance at passing a test you’re not prepared for.
How to Survive a Pop Quiz
- If two answers are extremely similar, it’s usually one of these two
- Correct answers rarely have spelling or grammatical errors
- For numbers, you’re safest choosing a number in the middle
- Watch out for absolute answers, such as “always” and “never”
- Often “all of the above” or “none of the above” is correct
True or False
Some professors like hiding trick questions in true or false exams, so be extra careful when reading the questions. You only have two choices, which mean that you have 50% chance of getting the correct answer.
- Lookout for small contradictions or inaccuracies. If one detail is false, the answer is false.
- Take note of qualifiers in the sentence like most, all, sometimes, never or rarely. They sometimes drive the question false depending on the question presented.
- Watch out for absolutes – things usually aren’t “always” or “never”
How do you handle a surprise exam that you have never prepared for?
College is the turning point in the life of most students. But, achieving academic success in college is also a struggle for most. How do other students manage to achieve their goals?
The key to success is simple: do your work. Study hard, learn the material, and do your homework.
Selecting the Best Place to Study
The most convenient way to study isn’t always the best choice. Most students choose to study in their rooms, but that is a haven of distractions. Between Netflix and to friends, having a good study session in your room is unlikely. Studying in your dorm room is bad , but studying on your bed is even worse.
The first thing that you need to do is to find yourself a study place. It should be a place that will promote learning, productivity, efficiency and concentration. It should be the place where you spend your time studying, and only studying. Some people like the library, others like a quiet café, it’s up to you.
Experiment on what works for you. Make a set of criteria like the level of noise, availability, cleanliness and accessibility.
Developing Study Skills
Once you have found the perfect place to study, you need to get started on developing your study skills.
- Break subject matters into manageable chunks
- Use your free time during daytime to study
- Spend more time on difficult classes
- Review notes, ask questions and discuss things with peers
All of these are the basic skills you need to work on. You will achieve academic success in no time if you follow them religiously.
- Study your lessons at least 3 days prior to your major exam for around 2-3 hours a day.
- Don’t study the night before you take the exam. Instead, you should go to bed earlier and get plenty of rest.
- Get to school early. Aim to be seated for your exam at least 10 minutes before it begins. This will help minimize text anxiety.
- Make sure you read instructions well and follow them strictly.
- Scan the entire paper before you answer any question to have enough time. This will allow you to keep track of time, instead of running out.
- Always check the back of each page for questions you might not otherwise notice.
- If you are answering essay questions, it is important that you state your complete answer. You need to read the question properly and answer it completely.
Studying is one of those things like cleaning the gutters; you do it because you benefit even though you’d rather be doing anything else. Here are some tips to improve your study habits.
When studying, the easiest way that you can hurdle formulas, definitions and other concepts that need to be memorized is through mnemonics. It is the most common study skill among college students. Check out this website for more tips on mnemonics.
Making an outline of what you are supposed to study will help you study quickly. The main advantage of reading and writing is you will memorize the key concepts quicker. If you need some help with creating a successful outline, view this post.
Most course books include test exercises and mock quizzes, or you could make one for yourself. The idea here is so that you can gauge how much you have already studied.
Breaks allow your body to recuperate and your brain to digest the information you have studied. Have you heard of saturation? This happens when no matter how hard you try to retain the information you are studying you can’t. You need to take a short break in between study period to allow memory retention.
At some point during college you’ll be cramming for a test. It’s not the best way to study, but everyone does it eventually. If you must cram for a test, do it the right way.
Here are some tips to get you through your first cram session.
1. Figure out what you need to know.
This is the most important step. Don’t try to force feed your brain information that isn’t important. If you have a hard time figuring out what your professor will test over, ask someone or go through the book. Most chapters have key facts, a summary, etc. that outlines the most important things.
2. Give yourself enough time.
Cramming works best the night before, but with a good amount of sleep. A foggy brain doesn’t recall well. Plan enough time to cram and enough time to get a decent sleep. Difficult subjects require more cram time.
3. Mood matters.
The Association for Psychological Science says that a good mood allows your brain to think more creatively. Study somewhere free from distractions and irritations, and listen to mood-boosting music.
4. Have a plan.
Before you cram, have a plan. Focus on the cramming the details that you struggle with the most. Do you mostly need to learn vocab? Do you need to learn theories? Do you need to know formulas? Devote the most time to the most important parts.
For classes where you need to regurgitate definitions, try creating a matching test at Easy Test Maker. It’s free and is easier and cheaper than flashcards. There’s also flashcard software available if you’d rather do that. Either way, this is a great way to memorize.
Most professors have two very possible, one could-be and one completely off choices on multiple choice. By the time you’re in college, you should be very familiar with this format and very good at taking them. So, study important facts, but focus on details. Anything bolded or reiterated in lecture and anything that might be related.
If your professor provides possible essay prompts, take advantage and get all the information you’ll need. Write a short, practice essay outline. Use that to study ahead of time.
If you’re not lucky enough to be given the question ahead of time, you’re in for more work. Learn the big picture and a few things to fill in the lines. Once you have that down, bullshit is your best friend. Don’t make things up, just surround your facts with fluff.
The English language is very complicated and there are many sets of similar words that people have trouble with. Are you one of the many that confuse these words?
accept – to receive: “She would not accept my proposal.”
except – all but: “Everyone went except John.”
access – admittance, a way of approach: “No one had access to the room.”
excess – amount larger than needed: “He had an excess of paper.”
accent – particular way of speaking: “She had a New York accent.”
ascent – upward climb: “The mountain has a long ascent.”
assent – to agree: “The teacher assented to accepting a late assignment.”
advice – recommendation: “His advice was to study.”
advise – to make recommendations: “He advised me to study.”
affect (verb) – to influence: “Her actions will affect the rest of us.”
affect (noun) – an emotional response: “Even when his dog died, he showed little affect.”
effect – result: The effect of his good grades helped him get a scholarship.”
alter – to change: “She had to alter her plans.”
altar – platform in a church: “The priest stands at the altar.”
capital – 1) city/town that holds government seat: “Austin is the capital of Texas.”
2) supply of wealth: “You need capital to start a business.”
capitol – 1) U.S. Congress building in Washington D.C.: “You can tour the capitol.”
2) a building where a legislature meets: “You can go to Austin to see the capitol.”
conscience – sense of right or wrong: “Some people seem to have no conscience.”
conscious – aware of: “He made a conscious decision to help us.”
eminent – well known: “He is eminent in the field of psychology.”
imminent – about to happen: “The storm was imminent.”
stationary – unable to move: “I rode the stationary bike.”
stationery – paper for letter writing: “I bought new stationery.”
College students have about a million things going on at any given time. When you’re that busy, it’s easy to forget things. Unfortunately, what’s forgotten is usually important and course-related. If you’re looking to improve your memory and your academic success, keep on reading.
8 Ways to Improve Your Memory
1. Be flexible.
Experiment with what helps you remember, whether it’s a mnemonic device or color coding your notes. Studies show that chewing gum, listening to classical music, or burning candles all have a positive impact on memory. Find what works for you.
Practice and reorganize what you intend to remember in as many ways as possible. Use it while speaking and writing, even act it out. The more time you spend, the more it’s ingrained.
Schedule study time to reflect the time of day when you’ll be using the material.
- Make study time the same as test time.
- Create a similar environment.
- Study without music if the room will be quiet.
- Study at a desk instead of on your bed.
4. Rephrase and explain.
Try role-playing. Take the view of the teacher and explain the material to someone else, your dog, or a stuffed animal. Teaching the material requires a higher level of comprehension and an ability to highlight the most important facts.
5. Eliminate accidental and unrelated associations.
A study situation where a phone rings constantly produces breaks in the association process. If you’re singing along to Eric Clapton throughout your study session, you will relate the material to Eric Clapton. This is only helpful if your topic is indeed Eric Clapton.
6. Eliminate previous mistakes.
Take note of any previous mistakes you’ve made while studying and make a conscious effort to avoid them.
7. Decide on order of importance.
Some things are more important than others. Decide on the big picture and organize everything else around that.
8. Become emotionally involved.
This doesn’t always work with schoolwork, especially if you don’t care about a particular subject. But notice how you remember things you care about. If you can somehow relate the topic to something you care about, you’ll remember it better.
Put your phone away! There is a strong correlation between cell phones and lower test scores. Splitting your attention between your material and your phone is going to lower your recollection and increase your study time.
Few people know how to create a successful outline, and that amazes me.
The first step is to understand the material you’re reading. If you’re simply taking chunks of the chapter, you’re not going to get anywhere. There are two different outlines: research outlines and chapter outlines. I’ll cover both here.
Every good research paper should start with a great outline. A great outline serves as the skeleton for your entire paper.
Once you’ve figured out your topic and the general direction of your paper, creating an outline is straightforward. You must thoroughly understand your thesis before completing the outline. If you’re confused or stuck on a thesis, don’t worry about it until the end. Start with the information.
Once you’ve gathered your research, you generally know the idea of what you want to talk about first. If you’re completely lost, choose the idea that would be a great opener – something that’s controversial, interesting or your audience would agree with. To choose what’s next in line, ask yourself, “After idea A, what is an easy transition?” If you’re going from dogs to VCRs, there’s probably not going to be an easy connection. Transitions between different sections can be made very simple if you choose topics that seem to flow well together. Also remember that nothing is set in stone. If later you realize you should have put topic B where topic F is, change it.
Because this article is so long, I’m going to cut it off here and allow you to view the rest of entry if you choose to do so. (more…)
You will have a research paper assignment in college. It’s inevitable. And, as tedious as they are, they teach you a lot about how to find reliable sources of information.
Since there is no escaping them, I have created a short list to help you successfully complete your first research paper.
Most professors require you to use scholarly, peer-reviewed articles as the basis for your research. Yes, they are as boring as they sound. Your best bet is to start with the abstract, which most of them have. If you can sit through that, you can sit through the rest of the article. Read it in chunks. A few pages at a time, highlighting important information so you don’t ever have to read it again.
Save the article for your citations now. Citation Machine is your friend, your hero and your savior. Choose the format (MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian) and input the information. BOOM. Citation complete.
Tips for College Research
- Read the abstract or summary first
- Read in chunks, taking breaks
- Bookmark the article
- Make your citations now and keep a running bibliography
Other articles and resources