Fall Into Good Study Habits This Semester With These 10 Tips
Cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and the return of pumpkin spice everything may be some of students’ favorite fall things – but studying usually isn’t one of them. The fall semester is in full swing and establishing a routine and good study habits should be paramount this semester as students work to prepare for the college admissions process. If you’re having trouble finding your groove this autumn, IvyWise can help!
Grades are the most important application component that admissions officers will consider, so it’s important to develop good study habits early in order to perform well in the classroom and on test days. Not sure where to start? These 10 tips can help you establish good study habits no matter what grade you’re in!
Create the perfect study space.
Your study space should be a distraction-free zone with all the supplies you need in order to make the most of your study time. Find a dedicated study space, whether that’s your room, another room in the house, or simply your living room. Carve out a spot that is just for your studying and go back to it every time you need to do homework or review class materials. Keep your materials organized with systems that work best for you. This could be dedicated binders, a filing system, or some other method for keeping all your study guides and classroom materials tidy and organized. Your laptop should be free from distracting web browsers, and remember to put your phone on silent (or maybe even leave it in a different room!) Your space should be comfortable, have good natural lighting, and be a positive place that you enjoy.
Use a planner.
Utilizing a calendar or planner can be extremely helpful. With so many styles and formats to choose from, you can find an option that works best for you. If you’re not into writing things down in a physical planner, use your phone’s calendar app or any of the many organization apps out there! Remember to block out time for more than just school-related items. Try scheduling your time based on certain tasks and deadlines. And don’t forget the importance of scheduling breaks!
Settle into a good routine.
Now that you have a planner or organization system, create a schedule and stick to it! Determine what your schedule will allow for study time for each subject – including your test prep. Block off 30 minutes to one hour for each prioritized subject, and factor in your test dates and deadlines. Then, set aside an hour or two per week for test prep. Settling into a steady routine will help you make the most out of your day. Plus, it will help you be more efficient, instill good habits, minimize procrastination, help you prioritize, and reduce stress.
Make the most of your class time.
Your time in the classroom matters! Actively listen, engage in class discussions, and ask thoughtful questions! This is a great time to learn not only from your teacher, but fellow classmates as well. Be sure to use your time wisely during class. If your teacher ends class early, take advantage of the extra time by rereading your notes, asking clarifying questions, or getting a head start on your homework.
Take efficient notes.
Keep in mind the notes you take in class are for you! You don’t need to write in complete sentences or worry about grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Use short hand and abbreviations to develop your own notetaking system. As long as you can understand the notes, cutting down the time it takes to write them will allow you to pay more attention to the material.
Review your notes each day.
Now that you have efficient and detailed notes, be sure to reread them every day. Doing this will help commit the material to your memory. It will also help you catch small points of confusion before they become big ones.
Get to know your teachers.
Teachers love chatting with their students. Taking time to get to know your teachers outside of class is so important. In addition to understanding their expectations for you as their student, it also gives you an opportunity to ask questions about the material and show your interest and motivation. This can also be helpful when selecting teachers to write letters of recommendation. The better you know your instructors the better chance you have of getting a great recommendation when it comes time to apply to college.
When a big project or long paper is assigned, begin by picturing the final product of all your work. Break the assignment into small pieces that, when complete, will leave you with the final result you want. This can mean approaching a history paper a paragraph at a time or working on one component of a science project per week. Then, schedule time to work on it each day or check in on your progress. This way you won’t be pressed for time right before the due date and you can be confident you’re turning in your best work.
Make a friend (or two or three!) in every class. There are a lot of benefits to studying with friends. Not only is it more fun, but you can learn from each other, fill in gaps from notes, share materials, and gain new perspectives. Plus, it makes it tougher to procrastinate if you have a group of friends holding you accountable for your study time.
Manage your stress.
With school, homework, tests, projects, and other obligations it is easy to get stressed out! Don’t let one bad grade get you down. Instead, think positively about your progress and develop a plan to improve the next time around. Be proud of your academic accomplishments and reward yourself. Take time to do things you enjoy with your friends or family if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Working while stressed can often hurt your performance, so don’t be afraid to take a break if you need it – or ask for help.
Incorporating these study habits into your routine can lead to a successful school year and help you to feel confident and capable when it comes time to test or turn in a big project. If you feel like you need additional resources to ensure you’re staying on track academically this fall, download our free Academics and Test Prep Checklist for guidance on making strategic academic and test prep decisions.