Making the Transition: High School to College Study Habits
Just one quick piece of advice for incoming college freshmen: just because you didn’t work in high school, doesn’t mean you’re not going to work in college.
This is something that a lot of my friends learned the hard way over the course of this year. College is, by definition, a much more difficult endeavor than high school. Some people, who spent all of high school learning good study habits, adjust quickly.
However, for some people it’s the absolute opposite. These are the people who relied entirely on their intelligence to get them through high school. They didn’t study, they didn’t do homework, and they simply slid by on their natural ability. All of their classmates hated them for this. They were like highly efficient computers that could pump out an essay in the five minutes in between classes and understand entire chapters of math by looking at two or three problems the night before.
I know all this because I was one of them. I did all of my homework during class, I rarely studied, and yet I still managed to pull off almost all A’s and to get into schools that were the envy of many of my friends.
When I got to college, I knew that I should expect to work more than I had in high school. I read articles on study skills and mentally prepared myself for the huge workload that I knew was ahead. However, some of my friends weren’t so proactive, and as soon as their classes started, they found the work extremely overwhelming.
I don’t mean to scare people away from college. The fact of the matter is that college is doable, but only if you put the right amount of work into it. The people who chose not to study found themselves failing tests in classes that others found simple. The key is to learn how to study properly.
Here’s what I would recommend for incoming college freshman as college study habits:
You can’t just study for a test the night before anymore. I usually start studying for my tests at least a week in advance, sometimes more. There’s so much information to remember for each test that it’s basically impossible to learn it all the night before.
Don’t just try to memorize facts. College tests are much more analytical than high school tests. You’ll rarely find multiple-choice questions. Instead, you’ll be asked to write essays or solve problems—situations where just knowing facts without being able to analyze them probably won’t help you much.
Don’t get distracted. There are a lot of things in college that could distract you from studying for a test—your roommate, your friends, clubs. But when you need to do work, it’s important that you focus. Try going to the quiet floor of the library if you’re having trouble concentrating.
Don’t pull allnighters. All nighters are not good for your health, and when your mind is all foggy from the lack of sleep, you won’t be able to remember all the things you studied.
And most importantly… don’t freak out. Tests are a big deal, and grades do matter, but don’t let it affect your mental well-being. You’re not going to be able to study well if you’re freaking out about getting a bad grade. So, take a deep breath, try to clear your head, and do the best you can.
To all incoming freshmen: good luck, you’re going to love it.
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