Even though it's been a good two years since I graduated, I remember exactly what kind of student I was in college. I did the bare minimum to get by with a decent GPA, showed up when I needed to but definitely skipped the occasional class, and when I did go to class, I scoured through Pinterest for an hour and a half. I had countless all nighters, deadlines that I procrastinated until the night before, you name it.
Now that I'm going back for round two, I'm a little wiser (perhaps because I'm a little older). The way I study and even the way I learn has completely changed, and I like to think that I'm a better student because of it. While I may only be one month into the semester, I've taken several quizzes and exams, and I'm doing better than I ever have in any semester of my undergrad. My secrets? They're pretty obvious. Read on:
- Do the readings. In the four weeks I've been in school post-bacc, I've probably done more textbook reading than I have during my entire undergrad and believe it or not, it actually helps me understand the material. Shocking, I know.
- Go to class. Again, pretty obvious. As an undergrad, I didn't think much of skipping a class here, skipping a class there. #YOLO and all that. But actually going to class and truly paying attention is what can take you from a "B" student to an "A" student. Which brings me to my next point...
- Put your phone away during class. Just stuff it into your back pack and forget it's there for the next hour and a half. You'll actually start to understand what you're learning if the material and the professor has your undivided attention.
- Work smarter, not harder. All nighters are sometimes necessary, but certainly not for every exam, quiz, or paper. Spend just one hour per day prepping for a test the week before it's scheduled. Make note cards early and review them, read a chapter per day, etc. This way, you never feel like you need to "cram" the night before because you've already been slowly retaining the information.
- Find a study buddy. Sometimes I prefer to work alone, but when it comes to exam prep, I like to have someone to bounce ideas and concerns around with.
- Keep the end goal in mind. It's so easy to get caught up in due dates and feeling like the stress is never going to end. Remember: it will end, and you will have a career. When you're feeling frustrated, take a few minutes and remember your "why."
My classes this semester are significantly harder than any classes I've ever taken, yet I have A's in all of them (okay, I have a B in hearing science, but I'm a speech major...clearly there's a reason!). I think that 100% correlates with my change in studying habits and general behavior toward my classes. If you're struggling with classes, maybe reevaluate how you're studying. It could make all the difference!
What are your go-to study tips and tricks? I could always use more of them!