Something that tends to be difficult about college life is adjusting your study habits. Reviewing five minutes before class will not fly like it did in high school. And of course – different techniques work for different students – which ultimately means you have to go through a trial and error process to determine the right one(s) to suit your needs. With the semester in full swing, it’s important to try and figure out the easiest ways to ace all of your exams. Here are five college study tips to help you out along the way.

A great study tip: Rewriting notes on index cards can increase retention of the material.

1. Rewrite Your Notes
This happens to be the study tip that works best for me. Before any exam or group discussion, I rewrite all of my notes from the chapters that I need and it helps my memory immensely. It incorporates re-reading your notes and going over key concepts, which is why I believe it is such a great way to study. Speaking of concepts, it’s very important not to just memorize the words on the page but to actually understand them. Know the ideas behind them and why they’re important and you will have no problem ace-ing your exam.

2. Use Index Cards
This tip ties into the first one because you can certainly rewrite your notes on index cards. This will help you break up certain topics and concepts to get a more in-depth understanding. It’s also smart to use index cards for important key terms or dates. You put the important term on the front, with the definition on the back, which makes it easy to quiz yourself on the information. You can buy index cards for cheap and in bulk from websites such as Amazon or Office Depot.

3. Study and Homework Groups
I learned very early on in my college career that you should never underestimate the power of your peers. Studying in groups is beneficial because if you are having trouble understanding a topic, you can easily ask someone in your group for help. An additional benefit to group studying is that teaching someone else about a topic is a good tool to help with memorization. All in all, study groups are beneficial for everyone – plus you can make some friends too.

4. Eliminate Distractions
This is a very important element to successful studying. Put away your cell phone, turn the television off and only use your laptop for academic purposes. Also, find a peaceful place – like your school’s library or a quiet place at home – and focus on yourself for a little while. If you need some background noise, there is plenty of studies to show the benefit of listening to classical music while studying. So, bring on the Mozart! In all, eliminating distractions will help you focus on the task at hand and really help the material sink in.

5. Track Your Habits
Like I mentioned before, finding the study habit that works best for you is a trial and error process. When you have tried a few things, make sure you track how well you’re doing so you can really focus on the habits that make you do well. If flashcards aren’t your thing but studying in groups is, make sure you are aware of that so you always set yourself up for success.

College can be very difficult and changing around your study habits can be stressful, but with these helpful tips you can easily find which study habit works best for you.

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