The work load that is required for a college degree in any field can be overwhelming. There simply are not enough hours in the day. Keep these tips in mind to give yourself an advantage this year and get more done with the time you do have, by avoiding being a lazy student .
Work at your peak times
By the age of 18, you should know whether you are a morning or a night person. Do your hardest work at the times when you are most alert. If you are expecting that afternoon crash, use it for a powernap, or a little pick-me up before trying to finish a big project.
If possible, get textbooks in an electronic format. This is a good idea for a couple of reasons: fewer books to lug around, and the possibility to listen to the textbook rather than reading. E-books can also be a lot cheaper than buying the hardback versions.
Voice recognition software
If your classes require much written work, invest in voice recognition software so you can speak rather than type. You will have to edit carefully, as the software is not perfect, but it might save you a lot of time trying to get your thoughts on paper.
Take advantage of small amounts of time
In the 15 minutes before class starts, review notes from the previous class. This will put your brain into learning mode, and reactivate prior knowledge, which is important for remembering new knowledge.
Study out loud
The more senses you use when studying, the better you will learn. Read notes out loud to a friend or to yourself while studying. Hearing, as well as seeing is beneficial. If there is some way to incorporate movement into your study time, so much the better. Try and find something that works for you and helps you remember new material.
Keep a to-do list so you always know the deadlines for assignments and exams. Keep all the materials for each subject in a separate folder, bag, or niche on a bookcase, so you can find the item you need when you need it.
Take frequent breaks
Believe it or not, this will save time in the long run. Learning is hard work, and the human brain can only remain highly active for a short period of time before slowing down. Generally, 45 minutes to an hour is the longest you should go without a break, about 10 to 15 minutes. For this period, think about something else entirely, so that it really is a break.
There is no such thing as multitasking
The facts are in. As anyone with a masters in civil engineering can tell you, the human brain really cannot do two things at once. What is called multitasking is really very fast switching. So when you are studying, give it your undivided attention.
To make the most of limited study time, learn and use techniques that work for you. Studying smarter, not harder, is the key to success in college.
Brooke Chaplan / Freelance Writer