Many students are surprised at the difference in studying for college courses versus how they studied in high school. No matter how successful a student you were, the learning skills you used in high school will likely not be sufficient to guarantee success in a college course. Students discover that they need to adapt their study habits to the college setting. There are certain dependable skills that you will read about that will make the difference between failure and success for a student in college.
Success in college depends on time control. Time control means learning how to control your time instead of procrastinating. There are three important steps that will help to improve controlling your time. The first step is to prepare a large monthly calendar to mark important dates for tests, due dates, and study plans for the semester. The second step is to mark a chart for a weekly study schedule that will last the semester. The last, most valuable time-control method is to make a daily or weekly “to do” list.
To perform well in a college course it is most important to take effective class notes. Follow these hints to become a better note-taker. First, attend class faithfully to increase your understanding of the teacher’s ideas by hearing them in person. Second, make use of abbreviations while taking notes to save time when trying to get down information. Third, look for signals of importance, if the teacher repeats a point assume it is important. Fourth, write down the instructor’s examples and mark them with an “X” to help understand abstract points. Lastly, write down the connection between ideas, that way you’ll have them to help tie your notes together.
In college, success means being able to read and study a textbook skillfully. Taking the time to preview a section or chapter will help to get a birds-eye view of the way the material is organized. Make sure you study the title and read quickly over the first and last paragraphs of the section; these may contain important introductions to, and summaries of, the main ideas. Also use a highlighter to mark the textbook at the same time you read it than go through the chapter or section and take notes. After all of that is done, study your notes than use the method of self-testing to learn the material.
As a student transitions into the college atmosphere, they find out that the skills they used in high school are different than the skills they will need for college. The key to success in college is learning how to learn. The three most valuable skills that need to be learned by students are time control, classroom note taking, and textbook study. These skills won’t free you from doing the work, but they will make your work more productive. Using these skills carefully and consistently will make academic success possible for you.