College is a hectic time in anyone’s life. Students must learn to balance their academic social, work, athletic, and family lives. Unfortunately many students are inefficient managers of time and are unable to prioritize to get the most out of their valuable study time. Here are four steps you can take to improve your study skills and achieve the grades you deserve.
Get Some Sleep
There is no better way to maximize the time you use to study than by being well rested. Yes, this can be difficult when surrounded by nocturnal friends, but that nine o’clock biology class is rapidly approaching. By paying attention in class, you will not have to re-learn material in a panicked state the night before the test. Additionally, studies show that as sleep deprivation increases, some areas of the brain are no longer accessed. This leads to substantially reduced cognitive and memory function.
Know Your Place
It is essential that you understand what kind of environment will make you the most productive. Some people need the absolute quiet and solitude of a dark library corner. Others can study in the middle of a frat party. It all depends on your study style. The sooner you experiment with different locations and determine your ideal locale, the sooner you will increase your efficiency.
Find A Support Group
Studying alone can promote laziness and procrastination. Instead, form a group outside of class to go over notes regularly and make sure everyone is on the same page. While some subjects just aren’t well suited to group study, most are. Not only will it help you to hear the material again from classmates, but you will reinforce your own understanding exponentially when you are forced to explain it to others.
Know When to Quit
There is only so much information the human brain can absorb in a given time. Cramming should be used only as a last resort. When you find yourself forgetting what you went over just a few minutes ago, it’s probably time to stop. Find a snack, take a nap, and try again in a few hours. A partial night’s sleep is better than relying on caffeine alone. If this situation becomes the norm for you, approach your professors during office hours and explain that you are struggling. They will most likely appreciate the initiative and offer some sort of useful advice.