Being organized is a crucial part of studying. Don't waste important time that should be dedicated to studying trying to find old handouts and homework. Going into my junior year of college, I can finally say that I have found the studying supplies and methods that work best for me!
The biggest tip I can give anyone studying for an exam is DO NOT CRAM! I know everyone has been told this hundreds of times but in college there are usually less tests, which means each test covers more material. Trying to cram 7 chapters in 1 night is not going to result in good grades.
1. Notebooks for each subject
- Do not buy multiple subject notebooks! It is very important for each subject to have their own notebook in college because you will literally fill up every page with those lecture notes.
- Labeling notebooks makes it easier when you are in a rush to grab your notebook and go!
- When you are taking notes make sure you put the date at the top of each page. This will make a huge difference when you are going through your notes for an exam.
2. Folders for each subject
- Stuffing handouts into your notebook is the easiest way to lose all of your valuable handouts. Trust me you will wish you did not lose these handouts when you are trying to study.
- Color coordinating folders to match the notebooks for each subject makes it quicker to get ready for class and ensures you don't grab the wrong notebook or folder.
3. Sticky notes
- It is easy to find yourself reading the same page repeatedly and not absorb any of it if you do not takes notes. Taking notes makes sure you are paying attention to what you read and will help you understand the material of the dense textbooks a lot more.
- Sticky notes also make awesome reminders for an agenda!
- I use sticky notes when I am preparing for an exam by writing the chapter on a skinny sticky note and organizing my notes and handouts by chapter.
- I even put sticky notes on my computer before class so that when I come back I am immediately reminded of what I have to do (Rather than going straight to Facebook or Twitter)
- Bring a daily agenda to class every single day. Write down short term and long term assignments!
- I write in different colored pens for different classes so when I look at my agenda to do homework I immediately see how much work I have for each class.
5. Small notebook
- I use a small notebook to write down what I want to accomplish every day. I write specifically what commitments I have and what part of long term assignments I want to get done, as well as short term assignments.
- Make sure you do this on a regular basis and date the top of each page! This should help you manage your time efficiently.
- I make a color coordinated schedule on my computer. I print 2 copies of it for my daily agenda,and on my wall so that my roommates know where I am!
- Write down how many chapters there are and what will be covered on each exam. Then decide how much time and on what days you will realistically spend studying for each chapter. Do this step way ahead of time. Then if you have a hard time with a particular chapter you will have time to get help! This also prevents you from procrastinating.
- This can be done on a memo cube or on a longer memo pad.
- I have never really liked binders and I do not use them for regular school work. With that said, they are amazing for preparing for an exam. I put all of my notes and handouts in the binders to prepare for an exam. I then put dividers in between each chapter. This makes it way less overwhelming to study for exams.
9. Index cards ( or index cards app)
- A lot of people learn from writing. I personally hate making index cards because it can be time consuming, but I have seen it help most of my friends.
- I use one of the many index card apps for the iPhone. Then I can study in between classes and on the go.
- Tip: Make index cards FIRST! If you can tackle vocabulary terms first then you will have more time to dedicate towards the harder material. A common mistake is making the index cards the day before the test. This will probably not help you with the exam because there is not enough time to actually learn all of the words.
Other helpful studying tips
- Compare notes with people in your class
- Study by yourself and also with other people - For example I study my note cards then my roommate quizzes me (and vice versa)
- Teach someone what you have learned out loud- teaching the material thoroughly ensures you understand what you are doing
- Do not be afraid to ask for help from your professors! I am known for emailing my professors on a regular basis asking questions. This gains a lot of respect from professors (most of the time) However- DO NOT do this the night before the test! It makes it look like you crammed