How can I improve my studying in my classes?


Posted on : 15-06-2013 | By : My Study Coach | In : study skills
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Hi, I am a college student who needs help with some study tips. First I would like to start off my stating that I have 8 o clock classes in the morning Mon-Fridays. Sometimes I wake up tired and some days I am ready to go. For the past semesters I been doing well in my classes. This semester I am having a little trouble. I make flash cards for exams,read my chapters, study my notes, ask the instructors for help, but I still have some trouble retaining what I read. I tried rewriting things over and over again, but I stop because it is time consuming. My grades are slipping and I am scared my GPA is going to drop. I do not know what to do, because I am trying my best. What should I do to improve my studying?

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Comments (4)

You can try molding a stress ball while you read, it helps you focus on the work/book more or you can chew gum or personally crocheting helps me the most.

I forget where I read it but one of the most important study tips is

“quality over quantity, sometimes less is more”

if you aren’t retaining information, either do to stress or techniques that don’t work, you need to stop and or try something new

often 1 hour of studying can do more for you than 5 if done in a focused and stress free environment

also, there are plenty of ways to study

flash cards
tape recorders
class notes
notes on the book
post its


take breaks, make sure you eat snacks, stay relaxed

Interesting question.
It sounds as if you are doing all the right things! You said that you “…make flash cards for exams,read my chapters, study my notes, ask the instructors for help…” and you “…tried rewriting things over and over again…” It is time consuming, but it must be done, especially if you are “…having a little trouble.” All these things which you list are exactly what I would normally tell someone in your situation to do.

Unless you have a learning disability there is something else involved. The only additional information you have given is that “Sometimes I wake up tired and some days I am ready to go.” This may be where the trouble is. Late night activities (partying, web surfing, gambling, etc.) other than studying might be the cause of the days when you wake up tired! If you are having trouble you must realize that you must, for a time, concentrate ONLY on studying. Truly, a good night’s sleep is VERY important for learning. Your brain must be rested and ready to receive new information.

If “extracurricular” activities are not affecting you, then you may need to consult a medical doctor to insure there is nothing physical holding you back. Seriously, it may be necessary to consult a psychologist to determine if there is a mental block or other intellectual obstruction involved. You may need held with this situation.

It could sound drastic but taking a break can be really motivating and help clear things in your mind. If you ask your professors if they have any jobs or internships that would be ideal. Getting a job and getting some experience using the material firsthand can really help you understand why you’re learning certain things and how it is used in the real world. I took a year off during my undergrad years and did an internship with an environmental defense lawyer and it made a huge difference in my motivation and understanding of how things in the real world work. I didn’t end up doing anything related to my internship but just the experience made a big difference for me. I highly recommend it!

Also, I’m not sure if this applies in your case, but exercise and nutrition are really important. I’m not the best at these, and starting to get in better shape is exhausting, but once I’ve been exercising consistently for a couple of weeks I feel so much more energized. I know it can feel hard to find the time but I’m so much more productive after a run it can really be a great time investment. And in terms of the rapid slowing down you’re describing, this could be a deficiency. You could get your Vitamin D or (especially if you’re a woman) Iron levels checked… I definitely know people who have had these symptoms and not realize that it was a nutrient imbalance but as soon as they started to correct it the difference was dramatic.

Taking breaks can be helpful but I understand what you mean if you feel like that’s a luxury you can’t afford! College can be so demanding. I actually find the opposite to be a problem depending on what I do in my breaks… if you spend your breaks watching TV or playing games or something like that that have high chemical rewards for little effort you can actually get addicted to distraction… recent studies have shown that you can’t get good at multitasking – you’re only getting worse at focusing. While you may know people who are good at multitasking (or perhaps you feel this way yourself) the research is starting to show that they would be more productive and more accurate if they did not have the distractions of constantly checking email/texts/twitter/facebook and watching tv or listening to music. It’s really boring, but when I really need to get things done I turn off my devices, turn on some mellow classical music (but on quiet), quit my email and web browsers, and focus on one task. I hope this works for you!

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