When it comes to understanding course material and getting a good grade, studying is just as important as showing up for class. If studying isn’t your student’s strong suit, these tips might help.
The first step for your student is to get organized. They should start by pulling together all the notes they take in each class, including study guides and any flashcards or readings. Then they should group the notes for each class so they can study them one at a time.
If they’re missing any specific material for a certain class session or if they need to catch up on readings, they’ll have to devote some time to filling those gaps. The easiest ways are to reach out to someone they know in class, post in a class forum or discussion board, or email their instructor.
Find a study space
There’s no one-size-fits-all way of studying. If your student studies best with a lot of background noise, they might try sitting at the student union or somewhere with ambient sound, like a coffee shop. For distraction-free silence, they can reserve a study room in their school’s library.
No matter what noise level they study best with, your student’s phone is always going to be a distraction. If they want music, they can listen from their laptop instead of their phone, or try an app like Forest — it’s a Tamagotchi-style game that helps eliminate distractions.
Harder subjects first
Your student should always study for the most challenging class (and least liked) first. They’ll get it out of the way sooner and it’s a tactic proven to improve productivity. Plus, they’ll find out what they really need help with at the beginning of their study session instead of at the end, when they may have less time. Once they’re done with the tougher stuff, they can get to the material they feel more confident about.
Different methods, different people
There are a lot of ways to study, and googling “study tips” can be overwhelming. While different methods work for different people, there’s no disputing that they all take time — lots of it. Here are some ways for your student to retain information:
- Read notes aloud to learn by listening.
- Teach someone else the material.
- Write the information down by hand.
- Quiz themself on the information.
- Study the material in a different order.
Get help if needed
Encourage your student to ask for help when they need it. They can talk to a classmate who may understand something in a different way, go to tutoring or check out Quizlet or Khan Academy for help. And they should definitely visit their instructor’s office hours.