Best Study Strategies for Students Entering College

Adjusting to college can be hard, especially the jump from high school to more rigorous academics. This is why it is important to have a few study strategies under your belt to make sure you are on top of your work.

By: Katelyn Pramberger, Political Science and Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University, 2023


Technique 1:

Study 15 minutes every day

The best way to ensure you will do well in a class and still remember the material in the long term is to study a little every day. Throughout high school, my teachers boasted about this method and I hadn’t realized until college how useful it is. This method requires an organized routine of eliminating distractions, sitting in a quiet spot, and going over the notes you wrote that day.  I would recommend this method for people who are organized and have a good amount of memorization or or concepts to learn to understand the next class.


Technique 2:

Pomodoro Method: Take a 5 minute break after every 25 minutes of work

        This technique is widely used among college students and there have been many successful studies about it. The human brain can't focus on a single task for a long period of time so studies have shown that deactivating and reactivating your brain with work helps you stay focused which is why this technique requires short and planned breaks. The Pomodoro Method focuses on giving you a reward system for work as well. When you get that 5 minute break, take that as a break to readjust. To use this technique, start by setting a timer for 25 minutes and do one task during this time, take 5 minute breaks and then a 15 minute break after 4 intervals. Set a goal of how many intervals you want and stick to it.


Technique 3:

Explain a concept to someone else or a study group

        One of the best ways to study is with other people. Why do you ask? You are able to gain different perspectives on concepts and information and explaining to someone else actually helps us a lot in udnerstanding cocnepts ourselves. This is why teachers always tell you to put definitions in your own words. Making a concept understandable to you is a great way to not just memorize but undersatdn something.


Technique 4:

Color-Coding and repetition

        When I study, I like to go to a quiet space such as a library and grind my work out for 5-6 hours at a time for 2-3 days. This method is definitely not for everyone, but it has been very effective for me. I like to read over my notes and write them out into a color-coded study sheet. Writing down notes is a great way to study and memorize information so long as you read over each, let’s say, chapter of notes before going onto the next chapter. Let's say you have 4 chapter of notes. I would spend the first day writing down notes for chapter one and going over these notes then writing notes for chapter two and going over chapter one then chapter two’s notes. The next day I would do the same thing with chapter three and four but I would keep rereading the notes for chapter one and two before reciting three and four. This repetition helps you to review your notes and let the information really soak in. You start remembering where concepts are on your page and you can really visualize everything for tests that require a lot of vocabulary or general memorization.


These techniques have proven to be very conducive to higher learning and I hope they help you in college!


Good luck!

Leave a Comment