Freshman year is tough. You’re away from home, you’re sleeping six feet away from a stranger, you’re terrified of the inevitable fifteen pounds you’re rumored to gain first semester, and your first exam came back with a grade you haven’t seen since middle school technology when your bottle rocket exploded instead of soared.
College freshmen are often disappointed upon receiving their first exam grade or GPA. Some will admit they had grown accustomed to the straight A’s they received in high school, and didn’t necessarily do a whole lot or try too hard to get them. For those who happened to coast through high school, it can be tremendously stressful and overwhelming to come to the realization that college has higher expectations. As a result, students who may not have taken a single note in their lives, suddenly find themselves having to set aside hours to study with little idea on how to effectively do so.
According to an article in the New York Times published in 2009 entitled “Colleges are Failing in Graduation Rates,” only half of students who enroll [in college] will end up with a bachelor’s degree. While many students drop out by choice over the course of their four years, it has been said that nearly 30% of students won’t make it past their freshman year, often due to poor performance. Knowing how to hold on to the knowledge you’re given is a powerful tool that will not only grant achievements in the academic world, it will be the fuel to your career for the rest of your life!
The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for smart studying.
Do: Take legible notes with an outline that makes sense to you in notebooks dedicated for each class.
Don’t: Pull a napkin from your pocket and chicken scratch a few key words before stuffing it into your book bag.
Do: Review notes often.
Don’t: Let the day you take notes be the last time you ever see those words again.
Do: Memorize in sets of three, adding on more sets as you go.
Don’t: Overwhelm yourself by trying to memorize everything at once.
Do: Keep an open mind to other places you can find information discussed in class, such as online databases, review books, articles, tutors, web sites, textbooks, and so on.
Don’t: Assume your professor is the only source you can learn from, especially if you’re having difficulty doing so.
Do: Test yourself by creating situations as similar to your exam as possible.
Don’t: Assume you truly know the material just because you’ve read your notes a few times and it all sounds familiar.
Do: Start studying at least a week before your exams, asking questions and following up in areas you don’t understand.
Don’t: Try to cram it all in.
Do: Find out your learning style by taking a multiple-intelligence quiz online, and cater your studying to your specific needs.
Don’t: Assume there’s only one way to learn anything.
Do: Find a dedicated academic support system, such as a study group you can work and discuss ideas with.
Don’t: Get involved with groups that cheat, copy, plagiarize, or end up with you doing all the work.
Do: Make your profile on Cappex.com to get info on colleges and scholarships!