Best Study Tips for College

Hooray, studying! Everybody’s favorite college activity (said no one ever)! But whether we like it or not, studying is a big part of finding success in college. So, whether you’re looking for ways to shake up your study routine or are struggling with even knowing where to start, this blog is for you! We wrote down our 10 best study tips for college to help you on your way.


1. Take advantage of materials you’re given.

Spoiler alert: The topics your professor emphasizes are most likely the topics that will appear on your test. Did your professor post practice exams? Do them. Are they having review sessions? Go to them. Your professors and teaching assistants (TAs) want you to succeed and will give you the tools you need. It’s important for you to take advantage of them.

2. Start early.

Last-minute cramming for an exam is basically a rite of passage in college, but you can spare yourself a lot of time, stress, and coffee if you start studying early. Most professors already have exam dates picked out at the beginning of the semester and put them in the syllabus so you’ll never be in the dark about when an exam is coming. The sooner you start, the more you can get through and the better prepared you’ll be!

3. Make a schedule.

No matter when you start studying, a schedule helps organize the material you need to know. Divide the work however you want, either by chapter, lecture date, or even type of review material, and designate a certain amount of time each day to go over it. Planning ahead gives your study session purpose and usually makes for a more productive day than just staring into the void between Instagram scrolls and wondering where to begin.

4. Don’t skip the difficult concepts.

Remember that homework question you never really figured out how to solve? Well, it remembers you too and may come back for revenge on your exam. While it’s definitely more fun to breeze through review topics you know well, make an effort to revisit the things you struggled with the first go-around. Repetition might be what you need to figure it out, and if you’re still stuck, now you have time to ask questions.

5. Ask questions.

Speaking of asking for help, your professors and TAs are your best resource. If your professor holds review sessions or extra office hours, they’re most productive when you come with questions already in mind rather than showing up with the general “I don’t know what’s going on” (even though we’ve definitely all been there before). Do what you can, and your professors can help fill in the blanks!


6. Find a good study spot.

If you’re paying more attention to the conversation behind you than to the notes in front of you, you probably need to find a new place to study. Some people need silence to focus, while others enjoy a bit of background noise. Luckily, most college campuses have a huge variety of study spaces to choose from. So, whether you’re looking for a quiet floor in the library or a bustling coffee shop, you’ll be able to find the perfect place.

7. Give yourself the grace to struggle.

The classes you take in college will challenge you in new ways, and sometimes you’ll struggle with the material. This is why you study. If you just can’t seem to grasp a topic, take a deep breath and realize that while it may be hard, you’re going to get through it. Remember that with every problem solved and every page of notes reviewed, you’re making progress toward improving your understanding.

8. Explore outside resources.

Here’s something you probably already know: The internet is your best friend. There are tons of free resources online to give you a new perspective on concepts you’re struggling to understand. While online resources like YouTube or open-source textbooks are a little different than in-person lectures, you can rewind, pause, and re-watch at your leisure to find the perfect pace.


9. Take care of yourself.

There will be nights you stay up studying later than you should and times you skip self-care rituals to finish a paper or project. Stressful situations are a normal part of college and a normal part of life that often help us grow. But don’t let the anxiety of always working consume your college years. Make time for breaks in between study sessions, and be sure to give your body the fuel it needs. You’d be amazed how far a glass of water, a good meal, and a quick nap can go toward being a productive student.

10. Practice makes perfect.

As with everything in college, there’s a learning curve to studying. It might take some time for you to develop a successful routine, and the only way you’ll be able to figure that out is by keeping at it. If one of our tips didn’t work, don’t get discouraged! Be proud of yourself for putting in the effort and make some adjustments for your next exam. You can do it!

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UIUC Admissions

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