Did you know that you should be studying 2-3 hour per credit hour? If that's the case, as a full-time student taking at least 12 credits, you would be studying 24-36 hours a week! It sounds daunting, but when you create a study system for yourself, it isn't as bad as it looks.
As you start your first semester of college, there are many habits and systems that would be helpful for you to put into place. One important one is to create a study system that is efficient and effective for you. Every student is different and learns differently, so in order to start create a system that works for you, you can begin to explore and learn about what type of learner you are. The VARK Questionnaire will help you know if you are more of a Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, or Kinesthetic learner. Knowing this about yourself will help you to tailor your study needs to match the way that you learn best.
Here are a few other tips to try when starting to create a study system for yourself:
1. Try to split up your study time into 30 minute increments. Instead of writing a paper in one sitting (or the night before it is due), try planning to write one paragraph a day for a week, and your paper will still get completed, and it will be better quality.
2. Make sure to take notes while you are doing required reading for a class. Chances are that you will be testing on material in the the lecture AND the book. If you take notes while reading, it will naturally slow down your reading and help you to learn the material better the first time you read it, plus you will recognize some of the concepts in class when your professor talks about them as well.
3. Go over the notes you take in lecture. Too often, student take some great notes during class, but then they never look at them after. It is very helpful to remembering information if you start to look through those notes for understanding after you have left the class. Many times, when studying for a test, if you will be tested on 5 weeks of material and you have been looking over your notes consistently, then you will be less stressed and feel more prepared.\
4. Find an environment that works for you to study in. Some students like listening to music, some students like their space to be really quiet, and some student prefer to study in groups. Whichever works best for you, find a place on campus that will help foster that positive learning environment.
5. Set aside time to get your questions answered. If you are studying and a question comes up, write down your question and then set aside time during the week to find out the answer. You could visit an Excel Center, go to professor office hours, or ask a friend in the class. Either way, it will help in you becoming an expert in that subject matter and better preparing for exams.