5 Study Tips You Should Know and Live By

5 Study Tips You Should Know and Live By

MTSU student studying on campus. (Photo: J. Intintoli)

Studying. As intimidating as the word might sound, it is imperative to college success. Without studying, it is impossible to pass. However, many college students neglect it and don’t want to do it. It doesn’t have to be this way. So, I’ve decided to share my five tips to make studying manageable and, I hope, even enjoyable.

Find Your Note-Taking Format

I struggled with this one. I tried every note-taking method, and nothing stuck. Ironically enough, what works the best for me is good, old-fashioned writing it out. However, you might find that a different method works. Some people I’ve met prefer to record the whole lecture in a voice memo and revisit it. If you do that method, make sure to get your professor’s consent. Others prefer to type them on a laptop.
It’s just a matter of finding what works for you and what keeps you engaged with the material. I stay engaged with the material by decorating my notes after class with many colors. I “make it pretty” so that I want to go back and look at it, and therefore, want to go back and study it.

Notably, studies have shown a correlation between physically writing notes and memorizing material more efficiently. So, I would start there if you haven’t already.

Find Your Space

The environment you choose to study in is imperative to your success. For example, experts advise you to study in a different place than you sleep. I practically live in the library on campus because it’s such a good environment for studying. Especially, with the reserve rooms feature that they offer. So long as you’re a student at MTSU, you can reserve a private study room in the library at no cost. I highly recommend this environment because it encourages productivity and yields focus because you have your own designated space. You can reserve up to four hours of private space per day during the week.

If you don’t want to go to the library, there are plenty of nooks, crannies, and lounge areas all over campus where you can hunker down and get things done. Remember that depending on your chosen space, you might be subjected to various noises.

If off-campus is your thing, try a local Starbucks or one of our many beautiful parks in and around the Murfreesboro area.

A calm space is a calm mind; a calm mind is the best for studying. You can ensure optimal brain power by ensuring a designated, positive space to study.

Find Your Best Routine/Method

Find out what the best studying times for you are. If you’re not a morning person, don’t study for your test at 6 a.m. Find where your productivity thrives throughout the day and find a way to pull studying into that prime time.

With finding the routine, you must also find the preferred study method. Whether that be reading directly from a textbook, making flashcards, re-watching a lecture, re-copying written notes, or whatever else it may be. I suggest finding two or three methods and rotating between them, so you don’t find your brain hitting a period of burnout.

I want to reiterate—a large part of success in consistent studying is finding what works best for YOU. It’s important to find something you like and can stick with.

A Little Every Day Goes a Long Way (Don’t Cram!)

I know it’s true college-student-fashion for us to pull all-nighters, consume ungodly amounts of caffeine, and cram for a test, but please don’t do this. Cramming has proven to be more stressful and more harmful to your grade than if you had just studied consistently.

This leads me to my next point: if you study a little bit every day, you will remember the material better and not be nearly as stressed. A study session a day keeps the Fs away. I completely made that up, but it rhymes and, therefore, must hold some weight. At the very least, it’s catchy.

Take Breaks

Give yourself a break! This is so overlooked when it comes to studying, and I think that’s very harmful. You can’t expect your brain to give 100% all the time. It needs to relax and breathe just as you do. That said, study for 30 to 45 minutes and then take a 15-minute break. Get up, stretch, grab a snack, or watch some TikToks if you are able to NOT spend hours on the app, like yours truly.

Do something fun or relaxing to decompress. Then, once you feel better, hop back to it. Giving yourself a break is healthy, and I highly encourage it. This is just as imperative to good study life as everything else.

With all the “fun” things to do as a college student, I doubt studying is listed at the top for most of us. However, it is a necessary part of college life. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it a positive part of your daily routine. In fact, I think the need for it gives some awesome motivation for making it something enjoyable. I hope these tips can help you turn studying into something you love.

Author Nicole Alexander is currently an undergraduate student in the Recording Industry Program in the College of Media and Entertainment.