How to Build Sound College Study Habits

Written by  //  01/08/2013  //  Study Tips  //  1 Comment

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College students are creatures of habit. New students quickly learn how to fit in and soon discover what professors expect of them. One habit that may not occur naturally is studying, a problem for some students that may have been carried over from high school or has simply not made the transition well from secondary school. You can build sound college study habits by considering the following points.

Your Style

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to studying. Some students learn best through visual displays while others have stronger auditory capabilities. A third group of individuals learn by doing — employing tactile or kinesthetic learning methods.

For instance, visual learners may find that note-taking works best for them. In this case, the student would review his notes and perhaps write up an outline to help comprehend the work. This type of individual likes working with charts. An auditory learner may benefit from reading his notes aloud. He may use word association to remember facts and prefers to record lectures and listening to his notes to learn. The kinesthetic learner enjoys the hands-on approach, learning through touching, moving and doing the work. For this person the type of pen used and the way notes are taken, such as on 3×5 index cards, may help them learn. Complete a learning style inventory to identify the way you prefer to take in information.[1]

Good Habits

Now that you know your preferred way of studying, you need to find a location to carry this out. For the visual learner, that could be a quiet area of the college library or study hall, offering ample desk space to spread out her notes and review her materials. Wherever you choose to study, the environment must be conducive to learning and present little chance of distraction. Avoid the student center where foot traffic is heavy and the din of chatter can distract you.

For the auditory learner, the dorm room may be the most effective place to study, especially when other students are not present. In this environment, auditory learners can play back and listen to lectures, and read their material aloud without distracting anyone else or themselves. Some students may do quite well by sitting outside on a warm day underneath a tree and studying there.

A kinesthetic learner may or may not be able to deal with distractions. What is important are the tools on hand — to help remember lectures, such learners may find that transferring notes from index cards or sticky notes to study sheets will help them retain information better.

Your Time

No student can succeed in college apart from an established study schedule. That schedule should reflect your own habits and be handled accordingly. For example, if you prefer to stay up late, your best study times may be just before midnight. Other students may find that studying early in the morning and in the late afternoon works best for them. Know what works best for you and follow that schedule without fail.[2]

And this is where a schedule must be developed. Set aside regular time for studying and keep to that schedule. Make it known to your friends and to your family when you must study, to avoid interruptions and to stay on schedule. Your goal here is to absorb what you learn and do so in the fashion that is right for you.

Finding Balance

All studying and no play makes for a very dull college student. Insist on finding and maintaining balance in your life with classroom time and studying taking priority, but not at the expense of personal or down time. Not only should you strive to learn, but you need ample time for rest and to maintain good eating habits.

A 2011 Oregon State University surveying the eating habits of nearly 600 college students revealed that students are not only failing to eat enough fruit and vegetables, but some are not eating even one of the recommended five servings of food daily. Most students are also consuming more fat than what is recommended putting themselves at risk of diabetes and other health problems.[3] Poor eating habits can affect your ability to comprehend your material.

Develop interests that go beyond the necessary learning and studying, by joining clubs and taking in on-campus events such as a theater production or sporting event. Spend time with friends and build relationships. You are in college for just four years and that time will fly by. Enjoy your time by striking the right balance that can help you thrive during your collegiate years and prepare you for your career.

References

[1] Pennsylvania State University: Learning Style Inventory — http://www.personal.psu.edu/bxb11/LSI/LSI.htm

[2] Columbia University: Study Skills and Work Habits — http://www.college.columbia.edu/academics/integrity/skillsandhabits

[3] Oregon State University: Study: College Students Not Eating Enough Fruit and Veggies — http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2011/aug/study-college-students-not-eating-enough-fruits-and-veggies

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