Whether it’s your first or last semester, follow these study tips for college students for academic success. Most new college students don’t know how to study. Or, they think studying is the same as it is in high school. This is not the case. A college student faces a more independent style of learning. Further, they are often juggling a job or career, family, and time with friends. To build good study habits, you need great time management and a system for how you approach each study session. These study tips will help you navigate your learning in college.

Know Yourself And How You Study

Start learning about yourself. Do you like to have a broad summary of what you’re going to learn first, before diving into the details? Or do you need to take it one step at a time before seeing the entire picture. This is the difference between a top down or bottom up approach to studying and can make a big difference.

How about your learning style? Do you prefer to read and highlight and take notes? Or do you prefer to listen to someone explain the material? Whichever you like more should be what you do first. This will acclimate you to the material quicker, making the other form of studying easier.

If you’re new to college and adult learning, find out how long it takes you to do something, like read a chapter (start to finish) and develop a new understanding. Similarly, start paying attention to how long it takes you to complete certain assignments or write a paper. Learn from it, so you can plan how you study in a way that works for you.

Learn How To Manage Your Time

Some people are naturally good at time management,, but those people are far and few between. Take the time to learn the skill of time management. Part of the process involves knowing how long it takes you to do certain activities like review lecture notes, complete a reading assignment, or write a paper. This is why knowing yourself is one of the most important things in time management. Then you can build a study schedule that’s realistic and works with the times of day when you’re most productive.

Take Notes When You Read

It’s common for students to think a reading assignment is just for reading. When you read, you should take notes. And, as you do so, write the information in our own words rather than copying what the textbook says. This helps you absorb the information and shows that you understand the material. 

Additionally, as you study, write down questions you have about the concepts that you can ask your study group or your professor. When you’re taking notes in your own words, you can also repeat it back to your peers to make sure you understand and have it written. The bottom line is, you shouldn’t read a textbook like you read a novel. It should be interactive with an output that you can use in the future.

Read The Syllabus First

Take the time to know exactly what’s expected for the entire course. This helps you budget your time. It also helps guide how you study. For example, even if a paper isn’t due for another eight weeks, know what the paper is about and what goes into it right away. This helps direct your focus when you read and listen to lectures. It will also make your notes more helpful for the assignment in the future.

Create A Study Routine

The more consistent you can make a study routine, the better. This helps you get in the right mindset when you sit down to study. It’s similar to how they say people should have the same routine before they go to bed every night. It helps to make falling asleep that much easier. Or, it’s like how professional athletes have pregame or pre-shot routines. It’s something reliable that get you in the right frame of mind.

As you create your study routine, here are some things you can try to be consistent with:

  • Time of day
  • Location of study space
  • Music that you listen to
  • Notebook and pen that you use for notes
  • Method of note-taking you use
  • How long you devote to teach course at one time

Find A Way To Look Forward To Studying

As much as you can, make studying fun. Find things you can include when you study to reinforce the process. For example, getting a gourmet coffee, studying at a place with a great view, wearing your favorite comfy clothes, or using a professional pen. When it comes time to studying, the more you can “treat yourself” the more you’ll find it to be an enjoyable part of the day rather than something you dread.

Ask For Help

Although it seems common enough, this is where students miss. By the time you realize you need help, it’s likely that you’re backed up on a lot of information. Instead of waiting until the difficult concepts pile up, ask sooner rather than later. It can be as simple as asking another student if you can explain something back to them to make sure you have it right. And, in the case of learning exercise science, see if you can ask questions to a trainer at the gym. You might feel more comfortable approaching them rather than the professor. Above all, don’t forget that we’re here to help you at Lionel. We want the most successful fitness professionals in the industry. So, we’re committed to your success and excellence. Reach out to us at any point during your programs.

Create A Distraction Free Study Space

It’s hard to do it,, but it will surprise you when you see how productive you are when distraction free. Here are some things to consider when creating a distraction free study environment:

  • Turn your phone off or have it on do not disturb
  • Close all tabs on your computer except for the ones you need for studying
  • Avoid crowded places, or somewhere you might run into friends or other distractions
  • Make sure the TV is off
  • If you listen to music, try to make it commercial free and songs without words 
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Practice stress management, so your own thoughts don’t distract you

Only Study One Topic For Two Hours At A Time

Even an hour and a half of learning anatomy and physiology can be too much. You can block off more than two hours of study time. But, break up either the course you’re studying or the mode you're studying. For example, don’t plan on reading for three straight hours. Consider reading for one, reviewing your notes for 20 minutes, then listening to a class lecture. If you spend too much time on one topic, one of these things might happen:

  1. You aren’t in a distraction free zone
  2. You don’t understand the material and need help
  3. You’re studying inefficiently
  4. You’re not listening to your own needs

Try To Study Right After A Lecture

Even if it’s to review your notes, study after a lecture. If you can revisit the material just after listening to a lecture, you’ll be more likely to retain the info. Just because you understand what the professor was saying at the time doesn’t mean you’ll understand it tomorrow. Repetition, especially on difficult concepts, is key for you not having to go back and relearn material that you already spent time learning.

Post In Forums Or On Social Media

Going through an online course or degree program can sometimes be isolating. But, the more you can make virtual connections, the more you can rely on others when you need help. Additionally, you probably share common interests like a love for fitness or competing priorities. Discussion posts and forums are a great palace to start building valuable, meaningful relationships. 

Test Yourself

Find different ways to test whether you understand the material. You can do this with flashcards, a traditional way of studying. You can also Google a topic and look at the answer box results (where it says”People also ask”). Without expanding the answers, see if you can come up with the right answer first. You can also read on to see relevant or interesting information that might help you piece it all together.

Have A Process For Review

Consider following the study cycle. It goes like this:

  • Preview
  • Attend lecture
  • Review notes
  • Study (notes, reading, etc.)
  • Check your knowledge

This might seem like a lot to do each week for each class, but it doesn’t have to be. The preview part can be as simple as an online search of the topic, or reading the learning objectives. You really only want the big picture, so even 10 minutes is good. The same goes for when you review your notes. You don’t need to spend a lot of time. Instead, go back through the lecture notes, make sure you understand what you wrote. Then, look up anything that doesn’t make sense.

When you get a degree in exercise science from Lionel University, you’ve got an entire team invested in the success of your academic studies and professional future.  Therefore, we’re here to help! Regardless of what degree program you’re in (associate's degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree), these study tips will help with all the different courses you take on your journey into the fitness professional world.