Since we're now heading into the first round of college midterms, and I just graduated college (with honors, wooo!!), I thought it be would be cool to give a few tips on how to study!
1. When you're studying, you're studying. When you're hanging out, you're hanging out. I learned this from my friend Jenny before college, but this is honestly the most helpful tip for studying in college I can give. I was faced many times with "kind of studying" situations as I hung out with friends in my classes; unfortunately, these times were both not as fun or as productive as they could have been. Once you decide to take a real break for 1-2 hours to hang out, you will be freer and less guilty about having fun. Once you decide you are really working for 1-2 hours, you won't have to worry about catching up with your friends as you solve your problem set.
2. Be aware of your time: It's easy to get lost on Facebook or email for hours, and then wonder what happened later. I'm not against Facebook or anything else-just to be aware of how much time you are spending and whether that is how you want your college experience to be when you look back. I would suggest keeping a small journal (I did this for 3/4 years and regret not doing it the entire time!) where you make notes of what worked and didn't in your day. You'll quickly notice patterns in what times of the day work the best for you.
3. Don't rely on your classmates! If you were trying to climb Everest, would you ask for advice from those who are climbing it for the first time with you? Sounds dumb but yet that's what many first-year students will do in their intro classes. While your peers can be helpful at certain points, they can also be the biggest sources of misinformation. So...
4. Use the help at your university-no matter how well you are doing. I'm totally biased as I was a tutor in college, but there are so many services to help you learn! Take advantage of the office hours (get to know your professor!) and any and all extra help. They will keep you honest in doing your work weekly at your best level, so you'll quickly notice any problems in comprehension. If a class is particularly difficult, this will also help you remain sane as you realize the CLASS is the problem and not you!
5. Be prepared for the end of the year. In college, more than ever, your schedule is your own. Some semesters, it was relatively easy to manage everything as the tests and papers were spaced out over the finals period. My first semester though, had a four day block where nearly 75% (yes, I worked it out one time...!) of my fall grades were being decided. AHH! Make a plan 3-4 weeks ahead of time with how you will accomplish everything. I suggest doing any long term papers or projects ahead of time, and then seeing if any professors would let you take exams or take home papers earlier. If you are honest, polite, and early when asking, you are much more likely to get an extension.
I hope these tips helped you! If you have any questions, please comment and I will get back to you!