I’m writing this during week 2 of the semester (though you’re reading this on week 5) here at Ohio State. As I’m now in mostly major classes, assignments started coming in this week and we’ve stared a few of our projects for the semester. This means that I’ve already launched into my normal college study routine for the semester. This is the routine that took me from a B- average my first semester freshmen year to deans list the next semester.
The first thing I do in my study routine is to prep for my class before I even go. A lot of my classes have readings that they ask us to do before we get to class. Take notes on these readings and turn it into a few bullet points of main concepts. This is helpful for when class discussion pop up on readings so you remember things. Additionally, some of my classes have made us go on to write papers about themes in all the readings, and these notes help you figure out what is relevant and what isn’t.
Go to Class
I know this one seems obvious but the amount of people who don’t attend class is decently high. This is especially prevalent in GEs and larger classes and as the semester goes on. Going to class forces you to listen to the material and gives you the ability to ask questions. Additionally, professors will often give hints towards assignments or quizzes to students who attend classes.
I take all my in class notes on my iPad Pro and you can read more about it here. I include as much as I can because you never know what will be relevant later on. Additionally, if the professor goes over and any example problems, ALWAYS write them down. While you may get the process now you might not remember it by the time finals roll around.
Once I’m back home for the day, I work on rereading my notes for the day and cleaning them up so they are in an order I like. Additionally, I add in any points from readings to my lecture notes so that it is all in one centers place.
I then turn my combined notes into paper notes. I use 5” x 8” unruled index cards for all of my notes. Each class has a different color that corresponds to it so I can easily differentiate between them. I then write my header in the color, and highlight any definitions with the same color. Additionally, if there were any points that were repeated multiple times, I write these points in a coordinating colored pen so they stand out.
As I go on through the semester, I try and randomly grab one set of notes from each class to review every weekend. This helps keep the material fresh in my mind and keeps me from having to cram at the last minute.
When it comes time for a big test or exam I take all the most important information from every paper note and combine them into a study guide on plain printer paper. I continue using the same color code for these as well.
After I have a study guide created, I then narrow this down even more to a definition sheet. I write out every definition and as I go through I make sure I still understand all the terms.
If a class has a lot of definitions or I’m really struggling to remember them, I normally create a quizlet. I can flip through them between classes to help learn the terms. Additionally, when I have more time I do the tests on quizlet so that I see the definitions in a variety of formats.
Finally, I don’t study in groups or with friends often. Personally, I’m easily distracted and I know that I won’t stay on task if I study around others. While many study blogs recommend this, it’s important to keep in mind that this method doesn’t work for everyone.
There you go. This is my normal study routine for college and how I maintain a good gpa and stay on dean’s list. Feel free to comment below any questions you may have! Good luck on your studying this year everyone.
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