The Best Study Habits of Successful College Students

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  • 01 of 08

    Write Everything Down

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    ​If you have never used a calendar before, college is the perfect time to start. Tracking all of your assignments, appointments, workouts, social events and tests on both an electronic and handwritten calendar can be your most effective and important activity to keep you organized and focused. You may not think you need a written calendar, but writing down what's coming up and pinning it to a bulletin board where you see it every day will help keep you aware of when you can relax and when...MORE you need to pump up the energy to get things done. Color coding is an excellent way of seeing in an instant what your priorities are each day.

  • 02 of 08
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    Don't let work pile up and cram it all in right before a midterm or final. Doing reading, research and other assignments as they are given is key to being a successful and calm college student. It may seem ok to let an assignment or two go for a week or more, but eventually procrastination will lead to last minute all-night study sessions that will not only be ineffective but exhausting, leaving you with little mental or physical energy to do well on exams.

  • 03 of 08
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    Routines are crucial to successfully studying and learning. Finding a place or space that you can call your own for studying - and nothing else - will be very helpful to academic work. Whether it's a desk in your dorm or apartment or a cozy spot in the school library, it should be quiet, comfortable and offer space to spread out and get work done. 

  • 04 of 08

    Crowd Source

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    Independent studying is great, but in order to really grasp concepts that may be new and difficult, study groups can be essential. If your instructor doesn't facilitate study groups, take it upon yourself to get one organized and meet weekly to review the lectures and reading assignments. Even if you think you have a good understanding of the work and ideas presented, it's always smart to get insights from others who may have thought of things that you haven't. Bonus - this is a...MORE great way to meet new people.

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  • 05 of 08

    Remain Calm

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    Don't overload yourself with tasks and create a stressful situation that will undermine your study time. This is something that many students do, believing they can get more done than they actually can. This can be especially difficult for freshmen. Break up your study time - 45 minutes to an hour maximum per session - and take breaks to get up and stretch, chat with a friend or roommate, or get a coffee. Pacing yourself is the only way to finish the long marathon that is college. 

  • 06 of 08
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    Organization is a real challenge for some people, and being disorganized can wreak havoc on a college student. Whether it's tracking homework that has been submitted or keeping notes in a folder on your laptop, being organized is almost as important as scheduling your time. If your computer, room or backpack are in disarray, your work may be also.  

  • 07 of 08

    Talk to Your Instructors

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    Communicating with your professors, teaching assistants or instructors can be a great source of information that goes beyond the classroom. Schedule time to meet with each of your instructors at the beginning of the semester so that they will know who you are and can answer any questions you may have about the syllabus or content of the course. If you run into a difficult patch during the semester, immediately make an appointment to discuss your difficulties. Your professors and instructors want...MORE you to succeed, and you may be surprised at how helpful they will be - if you just ask.

  • 08 of 08

    Get Enough Rest and Exercise

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    All of your good habits and intentions will be of no use if you aren't getting enough rest and exercise. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and get up at a reasonable hour. Try for a solid 8 hours of sleep each night, and if you can't get 8 hours, there's nothing wrong with taking an afternoon nap. Avoid caffeine later in the afternoon if you can and try to get in 30 minutes of exercise sometime each day, even just walking to or from class. Staying healthy is the best study habit of all.