College is a new learning experience; it is totally different from high school. You need to be independent in your studies since you do not have a parent or an older sibling asking if you have done your homework. If you are not careful, when you are just thinking about the weekend socializing that is around the corner, you may find that you are either falling behind in your classes or failing them. This is especially true if you are a new college student. The thing to do, when you get that first disastrous grade, is not to ignore the problem. It will not go away unless you bring your grades up. There are several things you can do to prevent getting that “F” at the end of the semester. The most important thing is not to let the situation happen in the first place. As stated, you have to be self-motivated in college. Nobody is going to twist your arm to make you study and prepare yourself for the exams you face.
Purchase the required reading materials your instructor wants you to get. While buying used textbooks is the most economical way to go, if your instructor wants you to buy the newest edition, it is better to spend the extra money. The older edition, even though it was used last semester, is now outdated. When your instructor gives reading assignments, take notes of what pages he wants you to read. Then do it before the next class. This will help you understand what the professor talks about in the next lecture and will help you to participate in class discussions with confidence.
If you are taking more than one college class, you most likely will have reading assignments in most of them. You may have more than one hundred pages to read before the end of the week. It is best to spread your reading out over several days. For example, if today was Monday and you need to read one hundred pages by Friday, it is best to set time to read twenty pages a day. So you do not get burned out, schedule an hour to do your reading. If you still have reading to do, set aside time later on in the day. Since you purchased your textbooks, you can write in them. When you come to something that confuses you, make notes. Also, use a highlighter to mark important information.
Go to class every day. Some teachers expect you to show up for each lecture; they may lower your grade if you have too many unexcused absences. However, some do not care if you show up, as long as you take the exams and hand in assignments on time. Still, you are going to college to learn. Each lecture you miss, you are missing notes that you could be studying.
Sit in the front of the class. You will find that you are paying better attention to the professor than when you are sitting in the back of the class. Anything he says is important, so write down as much as possible of what you hear.
Taking notes is very important during the lecture. If you are not good at taking notes, have someone take them for you. It could be a friend who is taking the class with you or someone you can pay. Another small investment is a voice recorder where you can record the lectures. There are even some that have software that converts oral words into text. However, before you start recording you lectures, ask you instructor if that will be fine. Some professors do not want their classes recorded.
You need to study everyday. Do not try to study everything at once. You must break it down into small sections. For every class you take, you should study at least three hours a week. If you are taking five classes this semester, break your study time like this: On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, set aside three hours a day for three classes. Then on Tuesday and Thursday set aside three hours for the remaining two classes. Find several students in your class who want to form a study group. If there is somebody in the group who is more knowledgeable than the others, he and she can help clarify on topics that are confusing.
When you are studying turn off the television and the radio. When you are trying to study while watching your favorite movie, you are not paying attention to what you are trying to understand. You may miss key vital information that may be on your exam. It is best to do most of your studying in the library. It is quiet and free from distractions. It also provides extra resources, such as computer and Science labs that will help you enhance your learning even further.
Make sure that you turn all your assignments in on time. If you are late, you may get a lower grade.
If you know you have a major term paper due at the end of the semester, do not wain until the last minute to start it. Dedicate writing a specific amount of words once you know about the assignment. Writing just one hundred words a day throughout the smester gives you time to have it edited before the paper is due.
Make sure that you get enough rest. You should get at least seven hours of sleep a night. When you try to pull an all-nighter studying for a test, you mind will be exhausted and will not retain information. Not only that, make sure that you are getting thirty minutes a day for exercise and are eating a healthy diet of carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and grain. Your brain works more effectively when it is properly nourished.
Finally, time management is essential in college. You may find that you can do two activities at the same time. For example, you can be at the gym running on the treadmill and reading from your test book or listening to class lectures. Purchase a daily planner and make a schedule of when you are going to study, exercise, eat, sleep and play. Stick to it!