Study Tips for First-Year Students
August 24, 2020
You passed your finals, applied to university, received your acceptance letter, graduated, and now you finally made it! You’re starting your post-secondary journey.
There’s a lot to adjust to when you transition from high school to college or university. With a lot more responsibility and autonomy in your hands, it’s more important than ever to consider your current habits and start to form new ones.
These study tips will help you have a strong start to the year and set you up for success throughout your university career.
Set Your Standards Early
How you approach studying in the early weeks of your term will create a standard for the remaining months and even years. Try not to put off your work. When you’re on your own time, it’s easy to procrastinate on assignments that aren’t due for weeks.
Try completing a little bit each day. If you know you’re doing something fun in the evening, set a goal of what you want to accomplish before you go. Write down your deadlines where you can easily see them and regularly remind yourself of what’s due next.
You will do a lot of reading in university. And it is so easy to fall behind when you’re assigned hundreds of pages to read each week. So, as much as you can, try to read ahead. This may mean doing more work in the early part of the term or maximizing on weeks where the assignments are lighter, but getting ahead will help you in the long run.
And read for comprehension. Take concise notes under clear headings and keep your notes well-organized.
Schedule Your Studying Ahead of Time
Once you get a sense of how long certain kinds of assignments take you, schedule your studying ahead of time. Need 3 days to read the chapter that’s due Thursday? Write down that you’re going to read a little bit every day, Monday through Wednesday before it’s due.
Working backwards helps you see exactly how much you need to get done each day to finish your assignments on time. It allows you to keep track of everything that’s on your plate and avoid scrambling to meet your deadlines.
Practice Explaining Concepts to Others
Studies have proven that one of the best ways to learn something is by teaching it to someone else. Once you’ve gone over a concept, give teaching a try! Grab a couple of study buddies from your class and take turns explaining the concepts to one another. Or, quiz your family on what you’ve just learned.
By teaching what you’ve learned to someone else, you are forced to be the expert, recalling facts from memory and making sure you know enough of the details to help someone else understand it. You’ll be test-ready in no time!
Attend Your Lectures (Even When You Don’t Need To)
Whether you’re in online classes or on campus, it can be tempting to skip lectures, especially when work starts to pile up. But attending lectures is important for a number of reasons.
For one, you get time to interact with your classmates and your professors. It’s important that you meet new people and practice sharing your thoughts and opinions. That’s what college and university are all about! You can ask questions and get feedback on your work too. Plus, there may be material in your lectures that isn’t covered in your reading.
Additionally, some classes require or award points for participation. The easiest marks you can get are by showing up and speaking up in class. If you’re feeling tempted to skip, think of your lecture as a productive study-break. You’re still learning, but instead of reading and writing, you’re listening and speaking. You’re taking in information in a different way, which will give your brain a welcome change of pace and offer you a better chance to absorb new information.
Work Hard, Have Fun
Your first year will be full of new experiences, challenges, friendships and interests. Dive into your studies with focus and faith and look forward to everything you’re going to discover!
To find study buddies at your school, get connected with an InterVarsity campus group.
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