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If you are anything like me, studying can be a difficult process. I find it hard to focus on a subject for longer than 30 minutes at a time. However, over my college career, I have found tricks to retaining the information I study. The key is to not necessarily study harder, but to find smarter study habits that work best for you. Finding ideal study habits that work for you will make you feel that much more confident during tests.

1) Find a productive study space

I still remember sitting down to study for my first college exam, I thought it would be a good idea to sit in bed so I would be comfortable while studying. This was a horrible decision. I found myself growing tired each minute and would keep forgetting what I was reading or what part I was on; therefore, I was not retaining anything I was reading. Although studying in bed may seem like a good idea at first, it actually slows you down and doesn’t help you focus. I suggest sitting at a table in your living room, going to Starbucks, or finding a spot in your campus library. I find it most effective to study at Starbucks because you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee, tea, or a snack while getting work done. There is something about the atmosphere that makes you feel productive.

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2) Pause and reflect

Studying from a textbook or written notes? Pause after each page and reflect on what you went over or learned. This allows you to contemplate on whether or not you retained the information that you just went over. If you did not, it is easy to go back and re-read. Speeding through studying can lead to you not remembering a thing. When I study, I put sticky notes over parts of my notes to see if I can remember the keywords of the section or chapter. I have seen people use gummy bears to encourage them to finish reading a section of a book. While I have yet to try it, it seems like a tasty and effective method.

3) Avoid electronics and distractions

This is a big no-no. Do not turn on your favorite show on Netflix for background noise.  Do not get on Twitter after reading one paragraph.  If you do need background noise, I recommend listening to classical music through earbuds or your favorite studying playlist, that way you are not distracted for long periods of time.

4) Rewrite your notes

Rewriting the notes can be extremely effective. For example, I will write down notes in a spiral during class. Whenever I need to go back and study them, I will grab another piece of paper and rewrite the notes, adding anything I learned that I had not have written down beforehand. I enjoy color coding my notes too by keywords, definitions, important dates etc. to make them easier to read for when I study them. This also can help with retention.

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5) When you finish a review sheet, do it again.

This tip is specifically for math courses. I’m not a math person and many people aren’t. When I took Business Calculus, I would complete the entire review without looking at the answers, then I would check my work. After I finished that, I would pick the sections I had the most trouble with, go back to my notes, and redo those problems we worked in class until I could do it without too much difficulty. Putting in these extra steps helped me immensely in math courses.

I know studying can be intimidating and seems overwhelming, but with these helpful tips, I hope you can find the right tricks for you to be successful.

Jamie Lynn
FFL Contributor
Living in the heart of Aggieland. Sassy republican, friends fanatic, and makeup obsessed. I'm enjoying my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness while I drink a sweet tea.