Best Study Tips for College Undergrads

images-15So, you’re sitting in your dorm room, eating instant noodles and thinking to yourself, “Hey, if I recall correctly, I’m here to learn something!” You pull your books out from underneath your beat up futon and try to read a few chapters, only to discover that it’s not going so well.

This is a scenario many college undergraduates find themselves in. It’s no wonder, either. Most of them hardly ever had to study in high school, so now they just don’t know how to do it! I know this was what I experienced when I went off to college, and many of my friends were the same way. Here are a few tips and tricks we learned along the way, as we learned how to study.

Get Out of the Dorm
Living in the dorms is a great experience, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a place conducive to good study habits. There are far too many distractions. People can knock on your door and ask you to go out to a party, or you might find yourself falling asleep on that comfortable futon your parents bought you. You’re better off finding a quiet corner of the library or, my personal favorite, pulling up a chair at a coffee shop and sipping a cup of tea as you get your work done.

All Nighters = Bad Idea
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to most of you, but all nighters are BAD. Not only does it screw with your sleep schedule, but when your brain is deprived of sleep, it doesn’t work as well. You won’t remember most of what you studied during an all nighter. And if you’re writing a paper, the quality will be far less than if you’d done it at 3 PM rather than 3 AM.

Choose Study Groups Wisely
Studying with others is a good idea. Turning a study group into a party group, however, is not. If you study with people you know you’re going to spend most of your time chatting with, you’re not going to get much done. You’re better off studying with a group of acquaintances that are in the same class than a group of friends you’d normally go out on the town with. If you study with people from your classes who you didn’t know prior, the one thing you’ll have in common is that you’re in the same class, so you’ll find yourself talking more about that class and less about who is dating who among your group of friends.

Work Study!!!!
Many colleges have work study jobs available. These jobs allow you to make money and get homework done at the same time. Can it get any better? These sort of jobs might include security monitors, computer lab attendants, or parking lot attendants. These jobs are highly coveted, so don’t expect to come by one too easily, but if you can get one it can be a great motivator for studying. If you’ve got nothing better to do, and you’re getting paid at the same time, why not study?

Turn Off the ‘Puter
The Internet, though great for researching and other homework helps, is a major distraction. Turn off your computer if you don’t need it. Facebook can wait, but that ten page paper due tomorrow cannot.

Learning to study isn’t too difficult if you’re willing to put in the time. Be patient with yourself if you’re a freshman―adjusting to college coursework is tough, especially if you went to an easy high school like I did, where studying was largely a myth. You can get good grades if you put in the time and try some of the tips I’ve given you.

Oh, and one last thing―procrastination does NOT make it happen!!