Study Skills PamphletBy: Chris Smith, M.A.
One of the most difficult tasks that college student’s must master is managing their time appropriately. Attending college is an extremely unique experience and students need to make adjustments if they are to succeed. College is one of the first places where there are no set rules regarding a schedule. It can be a very unstructured environment. Classes can start as early as 8 am or as late as early evening and there is plenty of time in between. Study Skills are one of the most important skills required for the students to be successful at college.
Another aspect of college that is often thought of as separate but goes well with time management is the development of study skills. Many times in student counseling centers and in study preparation classes the same phrase is repeated. “I never really had to study in high school, it just came easy” Students often struggle in college because they keep using the same set of skills that they used in high school with the unfortunate consequence of struggling in classes.
Exams and papers in college typically require more time and effort to complete well than papers in high school. In order to perform at your peak on them you need to start preparing early. If you think of your exams and papers like a sport season as soon as you receive your assignments you are in training. Starting as early as possible allows you to have the maximum time to complete assignments or study for tests.
Develop an Action Plan
After receiving an assignment the first thing you should do is develop a schedule for how you will approach it. Planning out each step of your project or studying for an exam will provide you with a way of keeping track of completion. There are a number of sites that offer project time calculators which can help you plan out when to have things done in order to complete them on time.
After you have a plan and are ready to get started the next step is begin work. It is important to study or work on your project in a quiet place with limited distractions. You may feel like you can study well with the TV on, listening to music, or having your friends stop by to say hi. The truth unfortunately is that these distractions will make it harder for you to focus. Studying in a lounge with minimal distractions or in the library will put you in the best position to complete your tasks quickly and efficiently.
Give Yourself Breaks
An important part of studying is knowing when to stop and take a break. When trying to study it is important to fit in small breaks. If you study for an extended period of time then eventually your ability to maintain focus will decrease.