After a whole new quarter of self-realization and a journey through unimaginable experiences, winter has finally come! What that means is that we Dragons have a whole new set of classes ahead of us. Let’s admit, a good number of us freshmen learned in the past 12 weeks that high school never taught us how to “study,” and college asks for those study skills in an unforgiving manner. As someone who took and aced a range of international and national exams in high school, as well as survived the first quarter at a fast-paced university, I will share some of the strategies and tips I use when studying.
First, look through the textbook/lecture notes before lecture. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the class material before it’s actually presented to you during the lecture. If you do this, you will have an idea of what you do not understand, and this helps you pay more attention to the details in lecture because you spend less time trying to grasp the overall concept. Also, this lets you ask more focused questions during class.
You should also review class material the day it is taught. It’s easy to just go to lecture and take down notes, but where most people fail is in actually getting back to that material early enough to solidify understanding. Leaving the material to review only just before you have a quiz or final is not an effective way to learn it better. Reviewing the material the same day it’s presented in class allows you remember it better when trying to recall information during your study sessions.
Apart from your self-study, I advise you to go to office hours — seriously, you should do this! Your professors aren’t there for a club meeting — they’re there to tend to the needs of a student seeking help. You’ve been working on a homework problem and you still can’t wrap your head around it? Go meet your professor or TA and share the steps you took up to the exact point you got lost. You didn’t quite understand that topic your professor brought up during lecture? Go meet them and ask questions! More often than not, the question you hold back to yourself is going to be the one with a lot of points on that next quiz.
In addition, learn from your friends/acquaintances, because sometimes you may not really have access to your professor’s office hours, and that may be because you have a class or lab scheduled during them. Fret not! Meet your friends who are taking that same class and ask for help. Once the person helps you, ask someone else. And by the time you hear the same concept explained several times from different perspectives, you will have more ways to recall it when you’re being tested on it.
Finally, the most obvious tip, get your homework done! Of course you should, but take it seriously. The homework is going to help you to better understand what you’re trying to learn. Try to do it at first without looking through the textbook chapters for help, then pinpoint the areas you couldn’t quite synthesize or put down on paper.
With these, you can then incorporate your individual learning styles (using flash cards, rewriting your notes, studying really early in the morning/really late in the night, etc.).
Now go and have yet another successful quarter at Drexel University!