How to study

Reading Time: 2 minutes

To a newcomer, college may seem like a massive melting pot of lengthy textbooks, flashcards, study sessions dragging into the night and eyes hypnotized by a computer screen. Although some of this might ring true, excessive notetaking and self-quizzing doesn’t have to be the only way to your degree. Whether this is your first time breaking into a syllabus or your final semester, here are some tips on how to study effectively without going insane.

Know your learning style

Take a minute and observe your notetaking strategies. Do you make charts or color code? Do you prefer recording lectures or just listening? Figuring out if you lean toward a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning style is the first step in your college journey. If you are visual, try making charts, flash cards, take pictures or ask your professor to post PowerPoints on Canvas. If you are auditory, get together with your peers and quiz each other aloud or read assignments to yourself. If you are more of a kinesthetic learner, rewrite your notes after class or walk around campus while reading your study guide. See what works for you or try a combination from each style.

Plan it out

Use a planner, calendar or phone reminders to ensure that schedule your time — and make the commitment — for studying. Balancing school, work, your new puppy and your Instagram feed can be overwhelming if you don’t manage your time wisely. Failure to organize can lead to anxiety and let’s be honest, stressing about not having time to study won’t make passing biology any easier.

Slow and steady wins the race (most of the time)

It’s the night before an exam and this is the first time you’ve looked at your notes in, well, the entire semester. You grab a caffeinated beverage of choice and stare at your textbook. We’ve all been there, but there is a better way. Binging on anything usually has more negative consequences than good, so make sure you treat studying with patience and care. Take breaks and try reciting your study guide in 20 minute increments throughout the week, rather than pulling an all-nighter.

Clear the distractions

We all know the pattern. You’re diligently working on your Math 1050 equations and the phone buzzes. A Facebook notification, a text or needing to check how many likes your new photo has, are distractions. In our world, it is too easy to lose your concentration. Seclude yourself so you can focus on one task or class for 20 minutes. Take a five to 10-minute break between those sessions to watch a BuzzFeed video or check your notifications instead of trying to multitask.

Chose a comfortable space

Experiment with your surroundings to find what you like best. Maybe you like to have a partner to study with, or maybe you prefer going solo. Perhaps you like hitting up the library with a muffin and coffee, or you like sitting on the floor or your apartment kitchen. If you have the time to spend on campus, head to a lab. UVU has free tutoring available on a ton of subjects, so you might as well take full advantage of the genius minds while you can. Regardless, find a place where you feel comfortable and that is easy to stay focused in.

Despite setbacks, remember that all things will come with time. Be patient with yourself, set realistic goals and know that you can do this.