How to Study the Right Way

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You can ignore it, pretend it’s not happening or hide behind a jar of Nutella and a season of House of Cards, but eventually you’ll have to face the facts: The weekend is over. Class is in session. Happy Monday.

Now that it’s time to get back to work, you may want to re-examine the way you actually do work. Chances are there’s still a thing or two you could learn about how to study. Hear what the experts have to say about studying and how to make it work for you. And when you’re done, promptly close out of Facebook and hit the books.

Cram this fact: Don’t cram

The most common mistake BC biology professor Dr. Clare O’Connor said she sees students making when it comes to studying is “poor time management—it’s important to keep up with the subject and not leave the studying until just before the exam.” Don’t be that kid with huge under-eye circles and coffee jitters the morning of the 50-percent-of-your-grade midterm.

Take Yourself Shopping

In order to find the way students learn best, O’Connor also suggested shopping around and testing different studying approaches to find the right fit. If students are unsure where to start, she said, “Study groups are often helpful.” You might even make some friends.

Know your enemy (AKA not your professors)

Professors are there to help. While many students are busy or unsure how to approach meeting with a professor in person, O’Connor recommended using email only for appointments. “Definitely meet in person,” she said. “Email is useful for setting up appointments, but interaction is crucial.” Put in that face time.

#Sign Off and #Log Out

It’s incredibly tempting to minimize Microsoft Word and just take a quick peek at Facebook—a quick peek that then turns into hours of stalking that guy from your history class back in middle school. Florida International University junior and student tutor Sophia Gonzalez said she battles the temptation by “downloading the PDFs of the articles that I need so that I can close my internet browser and avoid the temptation of signing in to a social media site.” Your middle school crush’s new prof pic can wait.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Showing up to class is only half the battle. O’Connor said getting the right amount of sleep and eating right really solidifies any chance of absorbing material. Gonzalez also recommended really focusing on the class and actually taking good notes. That might mean going old school with a notebook and pen, and remembering that a little doodling in the margins is a healthy distraction.

Stay Strong During the Home Stretch

When it comes midterm and finals time, it’s time to batten down the hatches and up the ante on studying. Both O’Connor and Gonzalez agreed that it’s more beneficial to plan ahead. “Setting a timeline makes studying for a midterm or final seem less daunting and more manageable,” Gonzalez said. Break out the planner and start spreading your cram sessions out, so at least you’re down to a single panic attack a day.

Studying in college is the big leagues. Gone are the days of being told how to prepare for an exam: It’s up to you to find the way you study best. Even the best bookworms could use a boost. After all, who wants to spend the whole day shut up in the library when there’s an entire world out there?

Katherine is a sophomore studying secondary education and English at Boston College. She is a lover of reading, quoting movies, and never met a cup of coffee she didn't like.

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