My lovely college friends, it’s a new semester and there is time to create good habits, so here are the 10 study habits I learned in my four years at SNU.
Don’t procrastinate. Let’s face it, motivation isn’t going to come from a feeling; it’s going to come from doing.
Understand the purpose. I know that an A in a class means the world to you, but the most important part of education is actually learning the information. What you’re learning is designed to help you in the real world. Being able to apply that knowledge in the real world will turn into wisdom. What’s the point of spending $30,000 a year on information you’re not going to remember?
Plan to study at the same time every day. I studied Sunday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night. I not only planned to study, but I studied at the same time every day. The more consistent you are, the better the learning experience is for you.
Find your own personal study nook. If you know me, I’m a talker. Therefore, the first floor of the library, studying in my suite or “study groups” aren’t necessarily the best environments for me. Even if you aren’t a talker, there will be people around you that are. Find a quiet building with the right lighting and seating that best fits your study style.
Chillax. Take 5 minute breaks every 30 minutes. Students retain more information if they reward themselves with a 5 minute break every 30 minutes of studying. This may mean going outside, stretching, socializing or lying down on the couch. For some of you, you may need to time yourself so you don’t go off into a deep conversation about how terrible your life is because of this test.
Don’t cram the night before. With finals, cramming is pretty much inevitable. What I did to make that experience easier for me was to pretend that I was going to have a quiz every day of class throughout the semester. That way, you’ve technically studied for the final all semester rather than feeling overwhelmed the night before.
Stay healthy. I used to be an elementary education major, and I found out that my smartest students were always the most active. After all, with active brains come active bodies. Exercise is important, as well as getting 8 hours of sleep a night, 3 to 5 healthy meals a day and at least 2 liters of water a day. You cannot be successful without satisfying these basic human needs.
Dress well, test well. If you dress up the day of the test, you will do better on your exam. That doesn’t mean you have to wear anything uncomfortable. For some of you, dressing up may mean wearing jeans instead of sweats to class.
Stay positive. Guess what? This final is going to happen whether you like it or not, so you might as well be positive about your ability to do well on it. I know this might sound crazy, but you can actually enjoy your studying and testing experience. To make myself stay positive, I would sometimes encourage and pray for others while they were studying. My confidence went up knowing that everyone else was in the same boat as me.
Celebrate yourself no matter what. This grade does not define you. As important as it is to do well in school, your life is more than your education. If you’ve seriously done the best that you can to prepare for your final, then that 50% is something that you’re going to have to deal with. I failed many tests my first semester in college, and I learned a lot from the academic mistakes I made that year. In the end, I learned no matter what, and I kept pushing through to the finish line of graduation. Yeah, I failed a few times, but my life is still really great.
Please let me know if you’re struggling academically; I would love to find you the right support or resource you might need. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org