Starting a college course is an exciting time. There is no point denying it though, in order to succeed in college you need to know how to study effectively at home. College courses operate entirely different from high school. As a result, it may be necessary to change your study techniques.
In this article, we’re going to look at effective study strategies for college students. These study methods will help you to succeed in your new college course and master how to study effectively at home.
How to study Better at home
People study in different ways. You may find what works for others might not necessarily work for you.
What’s important? Find the methods that work best for you and to stick to them. You’ll find it much easier identifying your study routine now rather than when your exams are approaching.
So let’s take a look at the different methods of study, plus the elements that make them so effective.
How To Study Effectively At Home
1) BE IN THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
The environment where you study will play an important role in your ability to study effectively at home. That means you need to find a place that is quiet and free from distractions.
Some students, however, do prefer some background noise when studying. Alpha wave music can be a good choice. There’s plenty of good study playlists on YouTube to choose from.
Others like having another person to hold them accountable. But choose wisely here; the last thing you want is someone who is going to spend all your study time chatting. Find a friend or classmate who wants to do well in the course, just like you.
This can help to keep you both on track, to bounce ideas off each other, or help solve difficult problems. It may take a couple of study sessions until you have both mastered which environment works best for you both, but once you have done this, you should be able to study at home together without getting distracted.
2) Make your Study Regular
To study better at home, and in general, set out regular times that you plan to study. By establishing a routine you’ll be making a plan and a commitment. This will help you stay organised and on top of your coursework. It’ll also help you plan what you need to do more efficiently. Plus you’ll be able to identify when you study best. And therefore schedule your study time to maximise the best results.
When you’re preparing your study plan it’s important to be realistic when you’re allocating time. How much time is available to you? Depending on your year of study or where you are in the course, you may need to allocate more time than others. This can be tricky if you are trying to fit in work or other commitments.
So here we need to be realistic. When you’re learning how to study effectively at home, the last thing you need to be doing is putting increased stress upon yourself. The most important aspect of this exercise is not committing yourself to what’s unattainable. Be realistic and identify the times that will be available for you to study. Once that is done you will be able to effectively prepare a study plan and timetable.
3) Prepare for Study
To be in the best position to focus on studying at home you must be prepared to study. So before you begin your study session make sure you have all the notes and information you need. If you like to use flashcards, ensure that you have them with you. If you need your textbook to take notes, then make sure you have it with you.
This way you will be prepared to study the task at hand and will not lose focus by having to go looking for books etc. mid-way through your study time. Also, by only having the notes and books you need to learn, there is less chance you will become distracted by irrelevant information.
4) Stay Positive, Even When it’s Tough
This may seem a bit odd but is very important when training ourselves to study. Always approach studying with a positive outlook. View it as an activity that is furthering you in life. Remember the reasons why you choose your course and what it will offer you in the end.
Find your reason why and use this as your goal to motivate yourself.
When you establish “your why” it is much easier to stay positive and focus on what you are doing. It will also help you commit to your study plan and make it feel less of a burden.
Break down what you are trying to learn and set yourself targets. Reward yourself when you achieve your targets. This can be as simple as taking a break, going for a walk or having some food. Whatever you would like. By rewarding yourself it will help you stay positive and motivate you to keep going.
Breaking down topics into more manageable sections will allow you to get through them faster and easier. Plus, you’ll feel less overwhelmed. It’ll feel like you are learning the material much quicker which in turn will boost your motivation.
5) Create a Study Plan
To manage your time wisely it’s a good idea to create a study plan. To do this you need to identify how you spend your time at the moment and what commitments you need to account for.
Find the best days and times for you to study and add them to your plan. By keeping track of your study and other activities, you’ll be able to see where most of your time is being spent and you’ll be able to make adjustments if you don’t feel your time is being spent productively.
After identifying the times you have available for studying you should create a study schedule. Block out time slots for study around your other activities. By doing this, you can create a plan every week of what you’re going to learn and any assignments that need to be completed.
This will help you get organized, Learn how to study effectively at home and stay on top of your work. As well as helping you prepare for any upcoming exams since you can allocate your study time wisely in advance.
The most important thing is to stick to your plan. It’s all well and good creating a study plan but if we fail to follow through on it it can cause additional pressure. Which you do not need.
Remember it’s ok not to stick to the plan totally. Or to miss a session here and there. But try to re-arrange missed sessions. If you find that certain things are not working then adjust it. You may find that you prefer doing practical work in the evening after a full day in college or work, whereas Saturday is the best day for revising topics and reading coursework.
While it may be tempting to schedule all your study into one long block of time, it is important to note that to maintain focus and concentration and avoid feeling discouraged, you must take a regular break and eat healthy foods. Studying must be balanced with breaks where you do other things. These can be exercise, yoga, hobbies, socializing with friends and maintaining a healthy diet.
6) Commit to Your Study Plan
When you establish your study plan, commit to it. This is particularly important when it’s your first course or you have been out of the education loop for a while and trying to train yourself to study.
Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination is likely to increase stress levels, especially as you get closer to the exams. By sticking to your timetable you will be better placed to stay on top of your course work, and less likely to suffer high levels of stress.
Leaving studying until the last minute will put you under increased pressure, and you don’t need that around exam time. This will affect your ability to study effectively and recall information.
Studying the whole way through the semester and not just at the end, will increase your ability to remember more information when it comes to exam time.
7) Prioritize Important Tasks
It is important to prioritize your college work and assignments. This will ensure that you allocate an appropriate amount of time to each subject. You can then decide if you need to give more of your time to certain subjects or topics because you are finding them more difficult than others. Or you may decide to dedicate more time to a certain subject because it is more important.
It is a good idea to tackle complex topics with a fresh mind. This will help you break down the topic and learn it better, and avoid becoming overwhelmed and stressed. Take this into account when scheduling your days and make sure the topics with the highest priorities are scheduled first.
8) Get Rid of Distractions
Distractions will inevitably pose a challenge throughout your college course. To study better at home, we need to address all potential distractions early on. If the kids are running around the house screaming on a Saturday morning then maybe we schedule, this as a library study session, or go to a coffee shop to do some reading.
Not possible to get a sitter for the kids? Then schedule some downtime or some practical work you know you can do easily while the house is busy.
To help you fight distractions, you should anticipate where they are likely to arise and create an appropriate plan to help you resist them. By establishing rewards for yourself after periods of study, this will help you resist distractions and motivate you to accomplish your study goals.
It is important you maintain a healthy balance between academic activities and non-academic activities. Most courses set out estimated study time requirements. This will give you an idea of the amount of time you’ll need to dedicate to it at home.
9) Be organised at all Times
Being organized is really important when you want to study effectively for exams. It will help you avoid wasting valuable time and maximize study time available. Organizing your course work, study material and notes in a way that you can understand and access easily when you need them will be important to your success. Good time management will allow you to keep on top of your coursework and study.
Try out each of these study strategies to see which works best for you and learn how to study effectively at home so you can succeed in your new course. Check out our post on 15 Concentration Exercises For Students Guaranteed To Improve Your Focus and Attention.