How to Develop Effective Study Habits in College

Creating effective study habits is easier said than done, and easier at the beginning of the year then during finals week. Everyone starts the semester with lots of resolutions and good habits, but when the going gets tough, most people tend to let themselves off the hook. If you don’t want to spend each night before a big test sweating and cramming week’s of material into your exhausted brain, then you’re going to need to get serious about your academic priorities and hold yourself accountable. Here is how to develop effective study habits in college.

Do your reading

The first step towards success in your studies is doing all of your required reading as it is assigned. You may have been able to get away with not doing all of your reading in high school, but in college, you don’t get time in class to review. So you have to be good at working independently. If your reading load is particularly heavy, you need to learn how to thoroughly scan a chapter.

Take thorough notes

In addition to doing all the required reading, you also have to take really great notes so that you have a reference for the material that is more succinct than your textbook. Be sure to always have a highlighter on you while you’re reading, that way you can later take all of the highlighted text and synthesize the information into short bullet points.

Find astudy group

It’s important that you learn to work independently and do a lot of studying on your own, but you also want to work with your fellow classmatesin a study group if possible. Find a few students in each class who are really serious about their studies and arrange a regular meeting time before any major tests or project deadlines. If there’s anything you don’t quite understand, they can help to catch you up, and you will solidify your understanding of the easier concepts as well by teaching them to others.

Chapter summaries

Whether you’re studying at Yale or ACU Online, you need to really go the extra mile in order to ensure that you will earn that A. It’s not enough to do all the reading, take notes and study with a group. You also need to find a way to take all the concepts from each chapter and summarize them all on one sheet of paper or less. You will thank yourself when it comes time to take that final and you have everything so clearly under your belt.

Create incentives

In the end, the best way to really find motivation to do all of this work is to create incentives for yourself. Is there a special place that you love to eat, hang out, or a weekend trip that you’ve been dying to take? If so, you can tell yourself that you’re only allowed to indulge in these things if you comply with your study plan. But you really have to stick to it, otherwise, there’s no way to hold yourself accountable.

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