Classes from 9am to 3pm, your organizations’ meetings scheduled right after, and you’re trying to sneak a bite to eat in between. Oh, and of course you can’t forget Facebook/YouTube/Twitter/Tumblr-time. Are you wondering what time that leaves for homework and studying?
Welcome to the life of today’s college student. A study released last year by Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks, professors from the University of California, discovered the amount of time the average college student at a four-year college spends studying has declined by 42% since 1961, which narrows work outside of the classroom down to approximately 14 hours per week. With students spending less time hitting the books, they have to maximize whatever time is available for studying and completing assignment. As part of our Back to School coverage, BlackEnterprise.com has supplied students with three, easy-to-follow pointers on maximizing their study time. —Janel Martinez
NO. 1: IDENTIFY YOUR LEARNING STYLE
If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t grasp the material after the first try, it might have something to do with the way you’re reviewing the information. Determining your style of learning will allow you to retain information right off the bat and reduce time spent studying. Do you prefer studying alone or in a group? These are all questions you should ask yourself.
There are three main types of learning styles: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic.
Visual learners learn best by seeing the information versus listening to it in lecture form. This type of learner often finds it helpful to close his or her eyes, visualizing the information as he or she studies it. Hence, for this type of student, information presented in the form of text, a graph, videos, and PowerPoint presentations is processed better.
Auditory learners learn by listening, so a professor’s lecture suits their learning style better than reading chapters upon chapters of information the night before an exam. These students often find it helpful to recite information aloud while studying, or even playing music. However, loud noises while studying aren’t ideal. In addition to reading notes aloud, auditory learners can use a recorder or speech recognition tool to help when reviewing for exams.
Tactile (kinesthetic) learners have to literally work through thestudy session, meaning moving around and writing down information will be integral in them understanding the lesson. A professor will give a presentation on the physics of a collision, but these do-ers won’t make a complete connection with the lesson until they do a collision-based lab. These types of learners prefer the hands-on approach to learning.
NO. 2: DEVISE A STUDY PLAN
Now that you know what type of learner you are, you can create a plan of attack. Outline realistically how much time you’re willing to dedicate to your studies per week and based on your course load, rank study time needed per class. Also, list your exam schedule per semester on your calendar so you know when each exam is approaching. This will give you an adequate amount of time to prepare for each exam. Get the details on your upcoming exams: supplies you can bring into the exam room (for example, some teachers allow open-book exams); what topics will be covered; how each exam will be broken up (i.e. x amount of multiple choice questions, y number of short-answer, etc.), and how much time students will have to complete the test.
NO. 3: DON’T CRAM
Studying 10 chapters of information the night before is not the way to go. The stress added to the sleep deprivation is a disastrous combination—not very conducive to test taking. Based on your breakdown, you’ll know when your exam days are and can gauge when you should start studying for each. Ideally, students should begin a week or two before an exam, but given their typical hectic schedule, a few days before will do.