How to Study Productively in College

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How to Study Productively in CollegeAre you a soon-to-be or returning college or university student?

Are you looking for some ways to boost your productivity levels as you study?

In this post, I offer several tips to help you get more done at school, and be more productive in your studies.

Even if you’re not currently a student, you can still learn a lot from these tips.

These pointers can be easily modified for the work or home environment.

Make use of quiet study areas.

Are you easily distracted by conversations in the dormitory or simply by being in the presence of other people?

If so, you’ll probably want to distance yourself from these situations as much as possible when you study.

Choose a quiet spot on campus in which to work, be it in a quiet library, classroom in an academic building, or outdoor garden.

You might even find it worthwhile to visit different locations on campus at different times of the day to find the ideal study location or locations.

Pack a pair of headphones and/or earplugs on the off-chance your quiet area becomes temporarily noisy.

Be aware of your most productive hours.

Our individual productivity levels change over the course of the day. Some people are more alert in the mornings, while others come alive in the evening. Pay attention to how you work and feel during the day when studying. At what times of the day are you most energized, awake, and alert?

Another way to approach this, is to take a look at how you interact with different subjects and types of activities during the day, and to then adjust your study habits accordingly.

For example, you may find that early afternoon is the best time for you to work on your calculus problem sets, while after dinner is the best time to do some reading for your philosophy class. If you switched the times of these activities, you may find that your productivity levels plummet.

Thoroughly review syllabi.

Quick question: do you know the due dates of your first assignments and the dates of your midterm exams? If you don’t, you’re really doing yourself, and your study habits a disservice!

Make a point to thoroughly review syllabi for your courses. It’s a convenient way to get a sense of how busy or quiet certain weeks and months will be during the semester. When you know what’s coming down the pike, you’ll be better able to plan out your workload and manage your energy levels.   

Get a good night’s rest.

It’s difficult to work well when you’ve only had a meager six hours of sleep over the past couple days. If you really want to give yourself a leg-up in your studies, you should make adequate rest a priority in your schedule.

Go ahead and set a regular and reasonable bedtime for yourself. Now, it may take a couple of weeks to settle into your new habit, but it will be completely worth it. You’ll feel much more refreshed and relaxed during the day with a full night’s sleep. Plus, you’ll be better able to focus on and attend to your studies with an alert and well-rested mind.

Put a limit on your extracurricular activities.

Do you want to join the theater club, play intramural soccer, volunteer at the local library, join the math team, and play flute in your school’s band? Make note, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take part in school clubs and teams; participating in activities outside of the classroom does have its merits. But, when these non-academic activities interfere with your class and study time, well, you’ve got a problem.

Take a moment to prioritize your extracurricular activities during the semester. Which two activities interest you the most? Does your class schedule allow you to fully participate in these activities, without being a detriment to your studies? Remember, the more activities you take on, the less time you’ll have for your studies.

How about you? Are you in college or at university? Which of these tips are you going to try out this semester to help you get your work done? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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