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Learning How to Study

Well, we are now into the 3rd week of the semester, and for me it seems like the semester is already going by really fast. As I was planning out my week last night, I realized that my first round of exams is coming up next week. For those of you that are freshmen, I know how overwhelming the first round of exams may be for you. But don't fret! There are many programs around campus to help you figure out the best way for you to study. Supplemental instruction (SI) is one of the best ways to get help. Most freshman level classes have an SI leader that sits in on your class and takes notes. Then, the SI leader holds SI sessions three times a week to help you with what was taught in class that week. Supplemental instruction is free and a great way to get help and form study groups!

You can also get help from the counseling center. Surprisingly, there are counselors on campus that specialize in giving you academic help. I actually spent most of my freshman year seeing an academic counselor, and I am so thankful that I did because to this day, I still use the strategies my counselor gave me. This resource is also free and I recommend it to anyone that needs help in figuring out how to study. Each subject is different and because of that, there are different ways to study for each subject, and the academic counselors can help you figure that out. They can also help you figure out a study plan. Everyone is different and will need a different study plan, but I will share with you what works for me.

I like to use what I call the five-day plan. For each test that I have, I count back five days from when the test is, and that is when I start studying for the test. Each day I break my studying up into chunks. On Day 1, I spend an hour studying a part of the material for the class. On Day 2, I spend one hour studying a new part of the material and an hour studying the material from the day before.  On Day 3, I study one hour of new material, and two hours of the material from Day 1 and 2. On Day 4, I spend one hour on the last part of the material I haven't studied, and three hours on previous material. And on Day 5 I review all of the material that I have studied. I normally study for four hours that day, and I spend the first 2-3 hours on the material that I had a harder time with, and then I spend the rest of the time on the other material. I also found that this process becomes easier if you spend time after your classes reviewing your notes and making notecards. The more times you see the material, the better it will stick!

But if none of this works for you, there are many different workshops that the student learning center puts on throughout the semester. They are free and can help you with study habits, eating right, balancing your budget, staying healthy, etc. But no matter what you need help with, there is always something on campus there for you. So freshmen, get help now! Don't wait until the middle of the semester when you aren't doing well in a class. Get ahead now, and it will help you in your future!