Studying outside of class is crucial to academic success. Successful students establish and practice a personal study plan that develops effective study habits. A good study plan sets a regular time and place to study, recognizes individual learning styles, and uses tips from alumni.
Establish a consistent study schedule at times that work well for you. It might not be a good idea to study at the end of the day, since some students have difficulty concentrating after a full day of activities. Take a few breaks, about 15 minutes or so, to get up, walk around and stretch, grab a nutritious light snack. If you have great focus and discipline you can even allow a short phone conversation with a friend, or spend some time with a family member. The practice of studying on a daily schedule will ensure you will be well-prepared for class sessions and exams.
Choose a good location to study, one where you feel comfortable, but preferably not the couch in front of the TV, in bed late at night, or during breakfast at the lively family table! Stick to studying in the same place as often as possible. Your mind will learn that your study place signals time to get busy and learn something!
Determine your learning style: visual, auditory or kinesthetic/tactile. Chances are you are a mixture to some extent of all of the above. With this information, you can obtain study "tools" that will enhance your quest for knowledge. National American University offers a wide variety of study guides, self-assessment tests and Internet links to assist students. Contact your campus student services department and/or the campus library for more information.
Tips from Alumni
- Time yourself when you read. See how long it takes you to read five to ten pages so that you can accurately estimate how long you need for your study sessions.
- Be flexible. Changes will occur each quarter as you take new classes. Plan ahead so that you can complete your large projects early and have plenty of time to review and then make any changes as required.
- Don't overwork; set a stopping time, forcing yourself to work in a more focused manner. When you and your brain are fatigued you are only working harder, not smarter.