6 Crucial Study Habits for College Students

by Ana Felce

Adjusting to the academic workload in college can be difficult for some freshman students. Compared to what they experienced in high school, the curriculum is typically more specialized and the assignments are often more in-depth.

It’s important to form good study habits for college early on so that you don’t fall behind when faced with more challenging or time-consuming readings, subject material, and exams. Make these six study habits a part of your regular routine and you’ll start off your college experience on the right foot.

1. Find a Place to Study Regularly

Consistency is key when it comes to studying, so do your best to make a habit of it! It’s a good idea to find a spot on campus where you feel comfortable and inspired to dive into a successful study session.

The environment should be whatever works best for you—whether that means having complete silence, some light background music, or a more lively atmosphere. Give it some thought and try out a few different spots. The sooner you find the space that works for you, the sooner you’ll be able to study effectively.

2. Keep Track of Deadlines and Important Dates

You might have the best of intentions when buying a new planner, but to really make the most of it, you should be sure to review it every day and write down due dates for assignments, exams, and other important events. Keeping track of what you need to study for can help you stay ahead of crucial projects and develop good study habits for college.

You can get ahead of upcoming assignments by checking your calendar on a weekly (and daily) basis, outlining each deadline in advance, and blocking off time to study. And don’t forget the best part of keeping a list of tasks—crossing them off once they are completed!

3. Don’t Cram for Your Exam

If you follow the previous tip, you likely won’t find yourself in a difficult situation, but it’s worth repeating: Remember to schedule your study time wisely to make the most of it. Studies show that reviewing material in smaller chunks of time—over a longer time span—is more effective than trying to cram a ton of material into one session. Slow and steady wins the race.

Once you have your course syllabus and schedule for the semester, find periods of time between classes and activities when you can fit in some studying. This way, you won’t have to stress the night before a big exam trying to review everything at the last minute.

4. Organize a Study Group

Studying on your own works well for many subjects, but it also might be easier to learn the material if you can bounce ideas off of your classmates. During your first year at college, give group study sessions a try. There’s a good chance your fellow students will be interested in getting together to review course materials. You might discover a new way to study while also making a few new friends!

5. Review Your Notes After Class

Taking notes during the lecture is a study habit you might already be used to, but do you take the time to review those notes after class? If not, consider reviewing your notes later the same day. Going over your notes after seeing the material in class will improve your memory and can help you more effectively learn the material.

6. Ask for Help

When you arrive at college, you’ll find a team of professors and advisors who are there to help you succeed. It’s normal to find a class challenging at times, but don’t feel like you have to face it alone.

Everyone needs help at some point—and it’s better to reach out as soon as you think you need it rather than let yourself fall behind. Reach out to tutoring services, your professor, or an advisor if you don’t understand the material or need extra assistance in adjusting to college academics.

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