For every college student that has established good study habits, there is another who needs help with how to study in college. We’ve compiled some study strategies that should assist you in achieving your goals and objectives, no matter the course.

Assessing your study habits

A key area for any college student in the quest to obtain good study habits is time management and motivation. If these are areas that you struggle in, they should be at the top of your goals and objectives list to tackle. After all, how to study in college really begins with the understanding of what you need to study and the initiative to stick with your efforts.

Ann G. Dillon wrote in Get Connected: Study Skills, Reading and Writing, First Edition, a series of questions for every college student to consider when establishing good study habits:

  1. Do you know how to create a schedule for studying and managing your time accordingly?
  2. Have you reached out to your professor during his or her office hours?
  3. “Do you know how to use technology to manage your time and to build your vocabulary?” (Dillon, 19)
  4. Can you ask the right questions when reading a text to find the topic and main idea?
  5. Are you competent enough in your grammar skills to recognize run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and comma splices?

Good study habits to develop

Much of what a college student needs to know about how to study in college will depend on the information they are trying to learn. You have to tailor your goals and objectives to the material. Myron H. Dembo explained in his book, Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success: A Self-Management Approach, “Many students do not realize that some of the strategies effective for learning basic knowledge may not be useful for learning more complex knowledge.”

Some study strategies to consider include:

  • Distributed practice—This is when you study more frequently, but for short periods of time.
  • Elaboration strategies—This is when you try to link the new information to knowledge that you already possess.
  • Practice testing—This can include answering any questions provided at the end of a chapter in your class’s text or going through flashcards containing important facts.

Bad study strategies

One thing that many a college student may not realize is that there are actually bad study strategies out there, methods that can derail you in obtaining your goals and objectives in a class. For instance, highlighting may be something that you hear your parents fondly recalling, but in actuality, it is not an effective way to retain knowledge.

Other how to study in college no-nos include rereading, keyword mnemonics and mental imagery. Another popular tip that is really ineffective in terms of developing good study habits is summarizing the material. First of all, it takes a fair amount of time, and secondly, you may not be as skilled as you think you are at selecting the most important information from a text.

What study strategies can you recommend to a fellow college student? Let us know in the comments.

Reference: Dillon, Ann G. 2008. Get Connected: Study Skills, Reading and Writing, 1st ed. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth.