Top Effective Study Habits for College Students

Studying doesn’t have to be as tedious of a task as you may think. Getting into the right habits can make all the difference between a dreadful chore and an enjoyable, helpful tool for success. Any student—whether you attend classes online or at a traditional school—can avoid cramming for tests and pulling all-nighters with these study tips:

1.Alternate Study Spaces

Although some people swear by the library, cognitive scientists suggest that alternating study spaces is a more effective way to retain information, according to the New York Times. Memory is colored by location, and changing your study locales increases the likelihood of remembering what you’ve learned.

2.Study and Homework Groups

Never underestimate the power of your peers, especially when working through a difficult problem set or reading assignment. Dividing and conquering is an effective way to reduce your workload — and to make sure you understand the material. You might even make a friend in the process.

3.Make Flash Cards

Sometimes the best habits are the ones we’ve used forever. Flash cards are oldies but goodies –- writing notes and definitions more than once will help imprint information in your memory, and the cards are a great way to develop and use mnemonic devices and associative phrases.

4.Take Tests

As much as we may hate tests, the New York Times reports that formal evaluations not only affirm knowledge but enhance it. Consistent testing can help us relearn and recall information, and it pays off when preparing for final exams.


A tired mind is a slow mind. Get enough sleep and watch your GPA rise.

6.Don’t Categorize Yourself

Students often categorize themselves as visual or auditory learners, or as being left-brained or right-brained thinkers. According to the New York Times, research has shown that these distinctions are largely erroneous. It is more important to figure out which study strategies work for you than to worry about where you lie on the learning spectrum.

7.Go To Class

This one might seem obvious, but large lectures and early start-times often make class feel, shall we say, optional. The best way to prepare for tests is to attend classes and participate. You’ll have already begun the process of reviewing and will know what to expect on the exam (especially if you haven’t done the reading.)

8.Don’t Immerse Yourself in Subject Material

In keeping with the age-old proverb that values quality over quantity, scientists have found that immersion is not an effective method of study, the New York Times reports. Rather than sticking to one subject and spending hours attempting to master it, you should switch between a few (related) topics. It’s less boring — and you’ll learn more.

9.Manage Your Time

The only thing worse than having a deadline is missing a deadline. Stay organized, cut down on procrastination and your work load will feel much more manageable.