How to study effectively


When your student gets to college, they’ll probably find that they need to dedicate a lot more time to studying than they did in high school. Showing up to class and taking good notes is absolutely important, but it’s how effectively they study outside of class that will most likely determine their success. So we’re sharing tips on how to study effectively. Share this list with your student, and they’ll start their college experience with a solid foundation.

Some students think that all they need to do is read the chapter or supplemental course material and that’s studying. But simply reading is not studying. Your student needs to have an organized system in place if they want to be the most successful.

How do they create an organized system? Here are some ideas:

Start with the syllabus

Your student’s class syllabus is more than just a road map of what the class semester will look like and the important dates they need to be prepared for. It can also help them map out a study guide. Most professors include topics and subtopics on the syllabus — these topics and subtopics can be used to organize study materials.

Once they have their study topics laid out, they can begin gathering study materials for each topic. This can include their notes from class, supplemental readings, homework assignments, their professor’s slides and other such material. Each group of study material should be labeled with the corresponding topic.

Create a study guide

From here, they can create a study guide for each topic, which should include questions and answers. For more empirical classes such as math or science, your student should explain each step they take as they solve a problem. For other classes such as history or psychology, they should organize the main ideas so that they can explain and evaluate them. This includes looking at questions posed by their professor, evaluating the evidence presented and drawing a conclusion. Additionally, your student should consider making diagrams to help explain material, and creating symbols or abbreviations to represent particular concepts.

Become the teacher

Now that their study guide is ready to go, it’s time for them to channel their inner teacher. It’s been said that the best way to gauge whether you know a topic well is whether you can clearly explain it to someone. Your student should review the material out loud and pretend they’re teaching the material to a class until they can do it confidently.

Create a quiz

In addition to reviewing the material as though they’re teaching it, your student should also use their study guide to create their own quiz. You may be thinking, “How can they take a quiz that they write?” Just the act of writing the quiz — the questions and the answers — will help make the material stick in your student’s brain better.

If your student follows these tips, they should feel more confident and their study sessions should be more effective.