Teach Me How to Study

By Lauren Lyngstad

The first round of exams in each of my classes is over, and I am proud to say that I successfully survived! Over the past seven days, I had three tests and three quizzes, in addition to balancing my SMU Ambassador duties and my obligations to the numerous other clubs on campus. While in high school I was that stereotypical overly involved, full-course load student, my first year at college really taught me how to balance my time properly.

Although in high school students normally spend about 40 hours in class per week, an average college course load is around 15 hours per week. Though this may seem like you would have copious amounts of extra time to enjoy daily naps and long, relaxing hours at the SMU tanning pool, it is extremely important to utilize your free hours to complete your assigned reading and homework assignments. Though most of my teachers do not collect the homework they assign, completion of this work is absolutely critical in ensuring success in your exams. For example, in the Accounting course I am currently enrolled in, we only have two mid-term exams and one final exam that account for our grade. While it may seem tempting to wait to cram all of the knowledge into your head the night before the exam in exchange for a Gossip Girl marathon, consistent working, re-working, and reading your course material helps warrant long-term retention of knowledge that will help you succeed on final exams!

Therefore, I thought I would share a couple of my personal study tips to help ease your mind:
-Utilize your daytime hours! Though you may have a two hour break between your classes, don’t use this time to browse Facebook! By taking the time during the day to do your assigned work, you can avoid staying up until 2 AM wondering if you are ever going to get to sleep.
-Use a planner. My planner is attached to me at the hip, filled with post-it notes of to-dos, campus events, and each of my assignments. By writing down all of my obligations, I can not only delegate the order of their importance, but also ensure that I tackle each item that I need to get accomplished for the next day.
-Remember that your teachers are your friends! My SMU professors have been extremely accessible to me throughout my time here. Each has office hours that they encourage students to attend, which are extremely helpful to not only get your questions answered, but also to get to know your professor on a more personal level. Some of my professors have offered their office hours at Starbucks or even over Skype!

The most important tip I can give you in succeeding in the classroom is being confident in your personal abilities. Learn your material, contribute in class discussions, and know that you have done all that you can to prepare yourself to the best of your abilities to rock your exams!

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