long before a student has entered college, he or she has mastered studying
consistently and effectively. However, college classes are a step above high
school, so the amount of time you need to devote to studying changes in college—along
with the balancing act of managing your time. Procrastinating or using time
unwisely can cause stress, loss of sleep and scholarship money, and even possibly
impact your chances of getting into dental school. Do not let this happen to
you! Below, please find some guidelines to master the art of efficient studying,
particularly within the sciences.
MANAGE YOUR TIME. Keep track of your time for
a week to determine how much time you need to sleep, to eat, to relax, to
become organized each the day, etc. Be prudent and honest with yourself by documenting
every minute. When you wake up, do you stay in bed for 15 minutes before you can
get going? Record that time. Do you find that you have to eat a snack at 11:00
p.m. every night? Record it. Making sense of how you spend your time will help
you figure out where you are not using your time wisely. Wasting time in college
can ultimately negatively impact your grades, as well as your ability to accomplish
many of your goals.
MAKE A SCHEDULE. Now that you have
identified where you can make better use of your time, make a schedule for
yourself. Do you want to start your morning with a review of your classes for
the day, or would you rather rewrite your notes from the previous day’s
classes? Whatever you decide, creating a routine at the same time every day
during the semester will help with remembering tasks, and allow you to avoid
scheduling conflicts or backsliding into poor time management habits.
ALLOW ENOUGH TIME FOR YOUR
in mind your science classes will likely require much more study time than you
think. First year chemistry usually requires about three hours of independent
study for each hour of lecture class. Biology and mathematics may require a
little more or less depending on the level. Bottom line, science courses generally
require 15 to 16 hours a week of study time outside of class.
dividing your studying into to specific tasks. How much time do you need to
complete all the problems at the end of the chemistry chapter? How many times
do you need to review your biology definitions before they are memorized? How
many math problems do you need to practice in order to completely master a new
concept? The more specific you are in determining where to put studying
efforts, the better prepared you will be for earning that “A” grade at the end
of the term.
YOU STUDY IS ALMOST AS IMPORTANT AS HOW
MUCH TIME YOU SPEND STUDYING.
While not everyone likes studying in the library, it is the one place where
complete quiet is assured. However, you can setup a study area anywhere as long
as it is free of distractions and has an abundant supply of the resources
necessary to complete your work. Make sure wherever you study has pencils,
paper, your textbooks, a computer and anything else essential for a successful
study session. Having to stop periodically to collect these types of things is…
guess what? Yes, wasting precious time! The other great thing about creating
your own study space is that when you enter this hallowed area, you will
automatically go into study mode; hopefully, your friends and family will learn
to respect these boundaries as well. Differentiate this area from the rest of
your living space, and soon you will find that your study sessions will become
more efficient and possibly take less time.
WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO
starters, use your textbook. Read the summary at the beginning of the chapter
and answer all the questions and problems at the end of the chapter. If
possible, stay ahead of your professor. Read the chapter he or she will be
lecturing on before coming to class and prepare any questions you may have. You
will find that your understanding of the material will be greater because you
have already familiarized yourself with it.
TAKE NOTES. Effective notetaking will
save you a lot of time and trouble. If you are not sure of an effective notetaking
strategy, visit your campus tutoring center. They can guide you and help you
learn what is important to document while you are in class. You might also
organize a study group. Avoid studying with friends unless they are as serious
as you are about the subject.
FINALLY, DO NOT CRAM!
when your quizzes, exams and papers are due and incorporate them into your
your notes and text materials at least once a week.
exams, review with others and test each other on key concepts.
yourself during the exam.
panic! If you can’t remember something,
move to the next question. Hopefully, you will have time to come back and often
you will find that the other questions will prompt you to think about the concept you are
having trouble recalling.
review your test at least once before handing it in.
For more detailed or personalized assistance on efficient study strategies,
speak with your professors, visit your tutoring center, make an appointment to
meet with your advisors, and consider lightening up your other responsibilities
if you find them interfering with your studies.
luck and enjoy college!