How to Study in College

Studying for an college or online education exam doesn’t have to be a stressful, all-night event in which large amounts of junk food and caffeine are involved. By taking the time to schedule a little session each day and using some tricks learned from other college students, it is possible to reduce the amount of time studying the night before the big exam. Cramming doesn’t help students retain information long-term. It is better to have short, concentrated study sessions daily than wait until the last minute to cram an entire semesters worth of information into an already overextended mind.

Daily Sessions
All of the tricks in the world won’t help a student if they don’t take the time to set out a practical schedule and stick to it. Think of the schedule as mandatory, pretend it is a job and sit down and study intently for an hour each day. By studying daily it is possible to increase retention. This makes the actual day of the test less stressful and the student will be better prepared by getting a good night sleep before the test. Take 10 minutes at the beginning of each study session to quickly review the material from the previous session.

Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices help students group pieces of information to help remember them later through memorable phrases. For instance, the order of the planets start with Mercury, closest to the Sun, and end with Neptune. A mnemonic device to remember the plants must include the first letter of each planets name. For instance, “Making Very Exceptional Mayonaise Jars Sounds Unusually Neat”. The student then needs to remember the names of the planets by putting them in order using this phrase: Mercury, Venus, Earth and so on down the list. Even if you are not seeking a physics degree or science specialization, you can use mnemonic devices for just about any subject.

Students should go through the class notes and try to predict questions that may be on the test. The best way to do this is by listening closely in class and paying attention to the material the professor spends the most time explaining. Key concepts are located at the end of most chapters in a textbook and if the professor takes the time to write something on the board, the student should write it in their notebook and memorize the information. Self-assessments are about testing the memory and helping the brain to come to an understanding about material that is crucial for a test.

Team Efforts
Enlisting the help of a group for weekly study sessions helps students to put their minds together and determine as a group what material will appear on the test. Students working together have a better chance of succeeding since the bias of any one particular student is eliminated. By pooling resources, students can help each other by discussing the topics in class, giving opinions and having real and beneficial topics about the course material. Students should attempt to thoroughly understand the material and not just regurgitate information. Ask questions and research the answers if nobody in the group has the answer. Being inquisitive and thoughtful improves the likelihood of remembering and recalling the information when needed.

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About Allison Freeland

Allie Freeland is the Editor-in-Chief of She has been a professional writer for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She brings a wealth of information about higher education, online degrees, college life, and career advice. Follow her on G+.