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The Ultimate Guide to Studying in College

January 22, 2021 · 7 minute read

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The Ultimate Guide to Studying in College

College is a place for learning new things, preparing for a career, expanding one’s point of view, making new friends, and, odds are, partying. But putting more emphasis on a good time than on academics can lead to bad grades and worse.

One way that students can ensure they thrive in school is a no-brainer: to study.

Self-discipline is the key, and self-awareness is a first step in improving self-control. You can try to recognize and avoid temptation, either by steering clear of it or distracting yourself from it.

For students who could use some help, here are study tips for college they can try.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is critical to a well-functioning brain and body. If students get enough sleep, they will find it easier to focus and will be healthier overall. Young people ages 18 to 25 need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

If students are having trouble sleeping, they can go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, make sure their bed is comfortable, not drink caffeine or alcohol, especially in the evening, do some yoga or meditate before bed, and have controlled temperature, noise, and lighting, health experts say.

Feed Your Brain

Some foods, like candy, greasy dining hall pizza, and french fries, will make students feel good in the moment but may cause them to crash later or give them a stomachache. Instead, they can eat nutritious foods that will power their brains.

Some of the best brain foods are fatty fish that contain omega 3s , dark chocolate, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, nuts, eggs, oranges, and green tea, according to Healthline.

Drinking water and tea instead of soda and sugary fruit juices is also a good idea.

Get a Study Partner

A good study partner can hold you accountable as well as keep you focused.

If students have a tough time sitting down and reading from a book or computer all night, learning with a study partner may be easier and ensure that the information actually sticks.

Find a Quiet Space

Many people are unable to concentrate when they’re in a noisy environment. Unfortunately, a college dorm room can be loud because it’s where social gatherings often take place. Plus, there are so many students crammed into one area, nobody has any personal space. That’s why the hunt for a quiet study space is advised.

Quiet spaces on campus could include a library, where students might be able to reserve a private room; a secluded place outside; the campus cafe when it’s not busy; or an empty classroom.

If students have a car, they can drive off campus to a park, uncrowded eatery, or public library.

Put on Some Focus Music

Listening to music is one of the best study tips for college students. As long as the music isn’t distracting, students can log on to Spotify, Pandora, or YouTube and find focus music for free.

According to research cited by Business Insider, the best types of focus music include nature sounds, songs without lyrics, songs played at medium volume, and songs with a specific tempo.

Students can also listen to their favorite upbeat bands that make them excited, as it may help them study and get their work done faster.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Practitioners of the fine art of procrastination often pay a price.

Procrastination may lead to bad grades , higher levels of stress, and negative feelings, Psych Central notes. Procrastinators are likely to not have a great study session because they are rushed.

To stop postponing the inevitable, students can put reminders on their phones and notepads that tell them when to study and how to minimize stress before a test.

A study partner can help put feet to the fire. If students procrastinate over and over again, perhaps it’s a sign that they are not interested in their studies and may want to pursue a different major.

Procrastinating may also be a sign of ADHD, so students could make an appointment with their doctor to see if that’s the case and if there is treatment available.

Get Organized

If students’ papers are scattered everywhere, they don’t know where their important books or files are, or they forget when their tests are scheduled, they could use a few simple tips to get everything in order.

They can set up a Google Calendar and put every test, class, and appointment in there. They can set reminders that will show up on their computer or phone when they need to study.

They could also clean their room at least once a week, filing papers in folders, putting books in a neat pile, and storing backpacks, clothes, and other items in closets. Students could also purchase storage systems from places like IKEA and the Container Store so they have a place for everything.

They can also create ongoing to-do lists and check off each task as they complete it. The night before they go to class or in for a test, they can organize their backpack and put everything they need into it instead of rushing the morning of the test.

Shut Out Distractions

The noise in a dorm room or on a college campus can be distracting. Social media, text messages, and emails also take focus away from studying.

To buckle down, students could log out of social media and email and put their phones on do not disturb, only allowing emergency contacts to reach them.

If they are addicted to their phones or social media, they can install apps like SPACE, QualityTime, and Flipd that turn off distractions and track how much time they’re spending on their phones.

Put Together a Study Schedule

Studying isn’t just going to happen. That’s why one of the most important study tips is to put together a study schedule that is realistic.

For instance, if students like to go to bed at 2 a.m., they can’t plan to study at 6 a.m. the day they have a test because they’ll be exhausted. Instead, they can plan to study the evening before the test.

They should also schedule a time when they can find a quiet place to study or when their dorm room is going to be less noisy. They will likely not be able to concentrate on a Friday or Saturday night in their dorm because of surrounding shenanigans. They could block out time on a calendar when the dorm is quieter and make sure they stick to it.

Take Breaks

Studying for hours without a break could learn to burnout. Instead, pause to walk around, get some fresh air, or grab a glass of water or a healthy snack.

The most productive people focus on intense work for 52 minutes and then take a 17-minute break, a Reader’s Digest article notes.

Students don’t have to follow the rule of 52 and 17 to a T; instead, they can get up every 20 minutes or so, or at least once an hour, whenever they start to feel they’re losing focus or their body is cramping.

If students are studying by looking at a computer screen, they can shut off the screen and phone and look at something else during that break. Looking at a screen for too long can hurt the eyes and have a negative effect on focus.

Here’s to Hitting the Books

You might have to try different techniques, and most of them will require practice, but once you hit a groove you should be well on your way to getting good grades—a stepping stone to a fulfilling career.

Students focusing on their studies are better off not adding worries about paying all of the costs associated with college. After exhausting federal aid, a private student loan from SoFi can come in handy. There are no fees, which some other lenders charge.

Students can easily apply online, with or without a co-signer. Co-signing may help a student qualify for a lower rate and may help their chances of approval.

SoFi also offers private parent student loans. Parents with strong credit and income may find lower rates than they would with federal parent PLUS loans, which involve fees, though the federal loans come with generous deferment and forbearance availability.

Learn more about private student loans with SoFi today.

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