It’s that time of year again! Students have been accepted to colleges and are making the tough decisions of what they want to do and where they want to do it. Leaving high school behind and venturing into a world where one independent and accountable for the majority of their own studying and assignments, here are some positive study habits for new students:

  1. Go to class! It might seem obvious, but this is the main pitfall when it comes to students failing out of college. With the majority of professors not taking attendance, students fresh from high school find the sudden freedom easy to take advantage of, but then struggle when it comes to tests and exams. The majority of materials on tests comes from what’s spoken in class, not what just is in a book for easy memorization. Not attending class or lecture every scheduled day can be the financial equivalent of paying for a room at the Four Seasons but then sleeping on a park bench. Treat your classes like a full time job. Hit the lectures and books from 9-5. Work ahead during that 40 hours. While your classmates are pulling all nighters and struggling to keep up with papers, you’ll have the advantage.
  2. Find a tutor or a study group. The stigma from high school that tutors are for kids who struggle with education isn’t true for college. The top 10% of students are ones that attend tutor groups from day one. It might add to a weekly schedule, but being able to discuss ideas with your fellow classmates not only forces you to confront what you might not know, but can help you digest and understand information in a very open and social manner.
  3. Sit in the first or second row. Sitting in front can get you away from those who might not want to put in the effort to engage with the professor. You’ll find yourself more attentive and alert with the professor directly in front of you.
  4. Eat well and exercise. Keep healthy snacks in your backpack such as crackers or granola bars and check out your school’s provided gym. Studies show a link between physical fitness and performance with reading comprehension.
  5. Don’t study in bed. A psychology professor once said that if you begin the habit of studying in bed then one could start having issues falling asleep, as your brain begins to associate the bed with activities other than sleep. Restful sleep is vital to succeeding in school. Working in the classroom or a library can help keep you focused, and not have the distractions your room has.
  6. Do the reading before class and take notes. Don’t understand something? That’s the perfect opportunity to write it down, listen to the lecture, and ask questions at the end if the professor didn’t cover it. Re-read your notes twenty-four hours after writing them. This is a crucial step for concrete memory formation.
  7. Relax the night before the test. Give yourself at least 45 minutes before bed to relax, listen to music or watch some Netflix. If you’ve been treating it as a full-time job, the information is there with you. Get a full night’s sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours is recommended.