It’s strange times we find ourselves in. If you’re a college student suddenly forced to study from home, you may feel as though you’ve been set adrift on a foreign sea with no captain or visible land in sight. With no campus to attend and no professors giving you stern looks for subpar test grades, it’s hard to find incentive to participate. You need to study. But these days, it’s procrastination instead of late-night parties that’s keeping you away from your books. When your academic schedule is completely in your own hands, what’s the best way to make yourself study? We have six study strategies for college students to help get you through your online semesters. Here’s what we recommend:
1. Change Your Surroundings
Obviously, you can’t go to the coffee shop or the cafe with social distancing rules still in place. Doing so would be irresponsible, and it might even get you in a scuffle with local law enforcement. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get out of the house. When looking at the same four walls of your bedroom is driving you repeatedly into the arms of Netflix or Xbox, it’s time for a change of scenery. Grab your laptop or your printed notes and find a quiet place to study. One of our top study skills for college students includes getting out of the house and experiencing a change of scenery, such as:
- A quiet picnic table in a sparsely populated park
- Your own balcony, patio, or backyard
- A different room in your own house, such as the family room or den
- On a bench in a deserted garden
- Inside your car, parked on your own college campus
Many institutions and businesses are now offering free Wi-Fi for students who want or need to study away from home. The inside of your car may not be as comfortable as a table in the library, but it’s a way to stay caught up and get out of the house.
2. Develop a Daily Routine
Another of our savvy tips for college students involves finding a groove that works for you and then sticking with it. If you find yourself shuffling around the kitchen at 3 am, foraging for snacks instead of getting the sleep needed to get you through the next day, it’s time to devise a schedule. Even a lax schedule is better than none at all. Set a dedicated time to rise each morning, dedicated times for meals, and dedicated times for study. By writing your goals down, you’re at least 1.2 times more likely to reach them, say the experts.
3. Study with Friends
So you can’t be together in person right now. But there are no laws preventing you from forming an online study group, right? Find your classmates online and set a designated time each week to meet online and quiz each other. Use a free service such as Facebook’s video chat option, Zoom, or Skype.
Another great way to study with a friend is to become an online tutor to someone who’s taking the same class. This will force you to review the work often, think about the material, and take part in question-and-answer sessions. Plus, you’ll be helping out a friend or maybe even making a little money on the side for your time.
4. Create a Super-Study Space
What is it that helps you concentrate? Is it your favorite music? Complete quiet? Snacks? Find the things that help you focus and set up your own super-study space. Creating an inviting environment is one of our go-to study strategies for college students.
Think outside the box to create a room that encourages you to study. This could mean having teas or essential oils, such as rosemary or Ginseng, on hand to help you focus. It could mean bringing in your favorite blanket or pillow for comfort. You could have soft music playing gently in the background or your own favorite band on autoplay. You could keep a stash of brain food, such as pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, oranges, or almonds handy to help get you through. You might plug in a coffee maker for long study sessions.
5. Review Material Before Each Online Class
Take good notes and be sure to review them before each online class with your professors. This will help you to be more prepared during the session, but there’s another perk, as well. Hearing the information repeated back to you will help you better retain it. If sessions are live, record them so you can watch again during your designated study times. Take notes during each lecture and then take a half hour afterward to either re-type them in a more cohesive way, or to jot them down in a notebook so they’re neater and easier to follow.
By writing down the high points of each lecture once or twice, you’ll remember them better. You’ll also have legible notes to take with you when you leave the house to study.
6. Prioritize Your Work
Lastly, be sure to prioritize work from most important to least important. Many colleges have adopted pass/fail policies to get students through the rest of the 2020 school year. Use this to your advantage by dedicating the bulk of your study time to the classes you find most challenging. Spend less time studying for the classes that come easier.
You might sacrifice an A in that easy class, but doing so could earn you a solid B in another subject in which you struggle. This is one of our most important study tips for college. It’s also one that will serve you well once you begin your dream career. Knowing how to prioritize is a helpful skill for every field. You might sacrifice an A in that easy class, but doing so could earn you a solid B in another subject in which you struggle.
One caveat: Make sure you understand your institution’s Pass/Fail policy. For some universities, a passing grade is 60 percent and won’t affect your GPA one way or the other. But any grade lower than 60 percent can and will negatively impact your GPA. So, you’ll want to aim for at least a D. This is one of our most important study tips for college. It’s also one that will serve you well once you begin your dream career. Knowing how to prioritize is a helpful skill for every field.
Right now is not an easy time to be earning a college degree, especially for students who have trouble sticking to self-imposed schedules. While there’s much more freedom to be had, there are also many more distractions with few repercussions for indulging. It will take some self-discipline to get you through this school year, but if you use our study tips for college as a jumping-off point, it may be a little easier to navigate your way to a passing grade.